Tag Archives: weather

The perils of long-term parking

23 Nov

On Monday, Michael had to fly to Ontario. He had to be at the airport very, very early, so even though we live close to the airport, he took the car down and saved his sleep-deprived self a few minutes and a very cold, very windy walk.

That morning, the winter temps in Whitehorse had dropped down to below -30°C (that’s -22°F for you dark ages, uh, old-fashioned folk!) and I didn’t relish the idea of walking down to the airport and bringing the car back, especially after spending the entire morning running from bank appointment to hardware store to big box store and then back to the bank because the advisor had made an error.

Next day, the temperatures weren’t any better, plus the dog injured his knee, plus it was my birthday, plus the piano tuner came to work on my new piano (SQUEEEE!!!! DID I MENTION I HAVE A NEW PIANO?!?!), plus I had a rehearsal, and anyway, to make a long story short, I didn’t get the car.

Parking rates at the Whitehorse airport are very cheap, as you might deduce from my laissez-faire attitude.

But also, our car generally doesn’t LIKE to start at 30 below. And it’s not really a good idea to try to start a car with such a cold battery. One ought to have it plugged in for a couple of hours. Which you can’t do at the airport.

Michael flew home today. And it warmed up to +1°C. (That’s just above melting.) So I finally walked down to the airport to get the darned car. Actually, I walked down twice because I was almost there the first time when I realized I hadn’t brought along my credit card with which to pay the parking fee.

As I approached the area where Michael had told me he’d parked the car it hit me that not only had we had a week of 30-below weather, we’d also had a huge dump of snow. And yesterday was an incredibly windy day, with snow drifting across the highways and building up on inanimate objects.

Do you see where this is going?


Well, the photo is not that dramatic, I suppose, but there is a snow drift a good 20 inches deep there. (Oh, there I go using Imperial measurements. Canadians are nothing if not inconsistent with measuring conventions.)

Thank goodness we always keep a small shovel in the back of the car. I spent a good 10 minutes tunnelling my way through that drift so I could get the car out. My anticipated 25-minute errand to get the car turned into an hour-long saga.

But at least parking there all week only added up to a whopping $9.00.

A few disjointed thoughts…

20 Jan

On Decisiveness

Michael’s been pretty sick this past week and a half with a doozy of a virus that just won’t quit. It’s left him drained in the evenings, occasionally to comic effect. Yesterday evening when I asked him if he was going to band practice, he gave me this unequivocal answer. “No! Maybe… Yes. I don’t know.” Yes, that actually came out of his mouth.

(He went.) (And played between bouts of coughing.)

On Health

I’ve been wondering for a while if I have hyperthyroidism; there’s some history of it in my family. I have many of the symptoms (irritability, insomnia, fatigue, sweating, increased appetite… and did I mention irritability?) but don’t have many others (intolerance to heat, hair loss, weight loss…). I had a doctor’s checkup yesterday (you know, that yearly thing we ladies need to do) but the doctor was running a bit late so there wasn’t time to discuss signs and symptoms of hyperthyroidism, as I hadn’t done any research before going.  The only thing I already knew about hyperthyroidism is that it can make one irritable.  (Theme? What theme?)

Last night, I wondered if I should call the doctor to ask about adding a thyroid function test to the routine bloodwork he was sending me for.  When I looked at the lab requisition, guess what was already checked off? “Suspected thyroid disease, not yet diagnosed.” So, was that just a coincidence, or did the doctor notice something he didn’t mention to me? Either way, kinda freaky.

On Cold Weather

It’s been a deep freeze around here all week, with temps dropping down between -35 and -40 °C. Yesterday, I was driving home along Robert Service Drive, which runs along the Yukon River, in the semi-twilight. The sky was a beautiful dark blue, and one star (actually, I suspect it was a planet…  I don’t know enough about these things) shone brightly directly above the cliffs. The road was perfectly clear, but above the river, the ice fog rose up straight and still. Looking out the driver’s window, my eyes hit that thick fog and gave me the feeling of driving next to a wall, most jarring when one expects to look out across the water. Very eerie and very cool at the same time.

On Improvising Crafts

Halia is on a painting kick.  I have a plastic egg carton that I use to portion out small amounts of tempera paint and she goes to town on a stack of scrap paper.  Last week, I had no yellow left and was running low on red, so we improvised. I had a jar of ModPodge and figured it was a good “white base” with the right consistency. So I filled three egg compartments halfway with ModPodge and let Halia mix drops of food-colouring in. This is great for working those hand muscles AND for a counting exercise. (No more than TWO drops, Halia. No, I said TWO. THAT was four.) Then a Q-Tip in each compartment for mixing, and we had beautiful colours that dry to a glossy finish.  The only problem with it is that the pages DO get sticky. And ModPodge doesn’t easily wash out of clothes once its dried, so smock up the kids!

On Being a Special-Needs Mom

None of us has enough hours in the day. I don’t care how simple your life is, these days we’re very good at filling up every minute with stuff we “have to” do.  Sometimes I have to stop to remind myself that it is literally impossible to do it all. Yes, I would love for the dishes be done every night, the beds made every morning, and the laundry folded and put away every afternoon, but the only way I could accomplish that would be to give up on everything that makes my life exciting.

Now, Jade does have special needs. But she’s loving school so much and growing intellectually by leaps and bounds, and besides that, one day we’ll be able to wean her off the keto diet, so I feel there’s nothing for me to complain about. But sometimes, I have to stop to remind myself that there is extra work involved. I don’t just mean preparing her meals and snacks. On good days, I can make three meals and two snacks for her in about half an hour. When it’s suppertime, assuming I have the ingredients on-hand, I can make her meal in about five minutes.

But there’s other stuff. Like dragging her to audiologist and ENT appointments that start three hours after they’re scheduled.  Doing paperwork to get funding for some respite, or to cover the few medications she’s on (all of them for combatting side-effects of the keto diet). Spending literally seven hours trying to get a prescription for antibiotics to combat an ear infection, because the antibiotics must contain fewer than 100 milligrams of carbohydrate over the course of the day. And then there’s the occupational therapy activities we’re supposed to do every day. Balance, hand strength, core strength… How do you fit that in between the end of school, downtime, and making supper?  Even if it’s just for 15 minutes? I don’t, that’s how.

On Succinctness

Yep, this post isn’t it. Whoops. Didn’t mean to ramble on so. Look, I can’t even stop when I’m talking about being succinct.

Not exactly t-shirt weather

12 May

Looking out the window this morning, I know everyone in Whitehorse is worried that we’ve already seen the last of summer.

May 12

View from my living room, May 12, 2009

When I lived in Iqaluit, I once witnessed a snowstorm in June.  So this isn’t so bad.  At least it’s above zero.

The sound of Mother Nature laughing

31 Jan

Temp on Jan 31
Taken at 8:00 a.m. 

We’ve all been whining so much about the cold, we deserve a little slap in the face to wake us up.  Of course, once we have our eyes open, we still won’t be able to see a thing because of all the ice fog.  Driving in this morning was altogether surreal.

Thanks again to Tim for saving our bacon.  Not only did he drive me and Michael and our neighbour Joanne to our various destinations yesterday, but he went home and got Charmaine right after to take her to work.  (Her and Norris’s car had both front tires go flat on the highway when they tried to drive in.  Square wheels’ll do that, ya know.)  Tim drove us all in to work this morning, too.  I’m not sure whether it’s him or his truck who is more heroic, but I’m grateful to both.

Jade turns 2

30 Jan

Jade drawingDear Jade,

You are turning 2 today and I feel so far away from you.  You’re spending the day at a friend’s house and I’m taking a change management course (is that irony?)  But that’s actually pretty good compared to last year, when we spent your first birthday at the doctor’s office getting you diagnosed with an ear infection.

The day got off to an exciting start.  We found that the continuing -40 weather had frozen our car up and since Papa is facilitating a workshop today and I couldn’t miss my course, we were scrambling to organize transportation.  Thank goodness your friends Bella and Louis were happy to have you visit them for the day, because getting you over to daycare just wasn’t happening!

Don’t worry, we’ll do something to celebrate tonight.  Papa baked you two cakes: one to take to daycare (and since you’re not there, you’ll get an even bigger piece!) and one to have at home with your family.  There’ll be presents, although I hardly know what you’re going to do with more toys.  The main thing is, we’ll all be together as a family, celebrating you, celebrating getting to know you these past two years.

Jade at 2 days oldThis is a picture of you when you were 2 days old – look how tiny you were!  Now you’re big enough to look at that picture and say, “Baby!”  You’re big enough to rock your dolls and ask me to sing lullabies to them.  Big enough to put your clothes away in your drawers (where they were previously nicely folded), to put on my shoes by yourself, and to give me a hug without my even asking for one.  You’re big enough to have regular meals and snacks where you feed yourself instead of spending an hour out of every three attached to your personal milk-machine. 

In other words, you’re big enough to be just a little independent from me on your birthday, celebrating with your friends.  But I can’t wait to pick you up this afternoon so that I can give you an extra-big birthday hug.  And then we’ll get right down to that cake Papa made you!

Lots of love,

Is this even allowed?!

29 Jan

Temp on Jan 29

This is what our thermometer read at around 7:30 this morning.  It doesn’t even matter if you want to read in Celsius or Fahrenheit, since -40 is where the two scales meet.  Whatever system you use, this means it’s friggin’ cold!

When we encountered weather like this in Fort Liard, it never really bothered me.  We could still go for (somewhat abbreviated) walks with Nanuq by bundling up properly, and it was fun watching the smoke from the houses tumbling down onto the road instead of rising up in the air.  But in Fort Liard we never had to try starting our car at -40 (well, I did once, and as a result broke the lever that was supposed to open the hood…) and there was no small child to bundle up, either. 

In this kind of weather, one has to decide if it’s more dangerous to have a child bundled up in bulky clothes and therefore not truly secure in her carseat, or to have her secure in her carseat but in serious danger of freezing if something happens along the way to the destination.  On “normal” cold days, we just put her in a couple of fleecies and heap blankets on her lap.  But on a day like today, I bundle her up and hope that everyone drives extra carefully…

Cloudy skies at night

5 Jan
I took Nanuq out for his daily walk last night while Michael put Jade to bed for the last time for at least two weeks (he left for the NWT this morning).  I set out around 7:30 and it was very light outside.  Not as light as it would be in the middle of the summer, but I had no trouble seeing the trails and could see Nanuq the whole time, too.  It was amazing the difference between last night and my walk with him on Wednesday night.  Wednesday night was clear and cold and the stars sparkled in the sky; but I couldn’t see much down on the ground.  In fact, I actually took the wrong trail at one point and ended up going a different route than I had intended.  And Nanuq and the neighbour’s dog, Kodiak, kept getting lost in the shadows.
So what was the difference last night?  Last night, the sky was overcast.
It’s a strange truth that in the middle of winter in Whitehorse, it’s brighter out at night if it’s cloudy than if it’s clear.  The light from the city reflects of the low clouds and off the snow, too, so that the outdoors is lit up to twilight brightness.  I suppose I ought to lament the effects of light pollution, and I admit that a starry sky is much more romantic, but it made my walk last night much easier than Wednesday’s.  I was so giddy from being out with Nanuq in the orange light that I decided to roll down one of the tobogganing hills.  Given my propensity for running into trees, that’s one bit of childishness I definitely wouldn’t have attempted in the inky darkness of perfectly starry night.
If you have any unusual observations or random thoughts about weather, Rebecca is collecting posts about that topic this month.  Surf on over to check out weather in other parts of blogland, and if you want to play along, just send her the link.