Tag Archives: winter

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.

Body heat

11 Feb

Remember when they taught you in First Aid that the best way to warm someone hypothermic is to give them skin-to-skin contact?  It really works.  Not that I ever doubted it, but yesterday was the first time I actually had to use the technique.

We’re finally out of our 3-week deep-freeze (-40 for most of it) and yesterday it warmed up to a beautifully sunny -20° C.  We’d had a wonderful morning hosting a brunch for The Big Band, and we decided a family outing would be the perfect way to cap off the afternoon.  Tim and Christiane joined Michael, Jade, Nanuq, and me, and we headed for Ice Lake, Michael pulling the sled with Jade, blankets, firebox, and other goodies.

I haven’t had Jade out much at all over the past few weeks, and even before the crazy weather, I never took her out for more than about 60 minutes, maybe 90 tops.  She started crying not too long before we got to Ice Lake and kept it up for most of the time we were there making a fire in the firebox and making bannock-on-a-stick.  I even breastfed her for about 10 minutes because that was pretty much the only comforting thing we could figure out (and that’s the kind of thing that makes me reluctant to quit, although I’m definitely getting there…).

As the sun started its descent, it was getting markedly colder and we hurried to pack up and head for home.  Michael went on ahead with Jade to get her there as quickly as possible.  We weren’t sure if the trouble was hunger, poopy diapers, cold, or just boredom, but Michael figured he’d run a bath for her when he got back, which is a great idea given it can take care of poops, cold, and boredom all in one shot.

I think I got back about 5 minutes after he did and I could hear the water running and Jade wailing.  After peeling off my outer layers, I headed straight for the fridge, heated up some milk, and brought a bottle to Jade.

She was kneeling in the tub of warm water, her hands red, her whole body shaking.  Michael said her hands and feet had been warm when he took off her boots and mitts, but as soon as he undressed her, they turned ice-cold.  I took one look at her shaking — which gave me the most miserable feeling in the world — and knew I had to hold her.  I said to Michael, “I’m just going to put her right on my body,” stripped off my multiple tops, and yanked her out of the tub.  With a towel wrapped around behind her, the calming effect was almost instant.

Michael went to warm up the sauna, and we retreated there while Jade sucked on the bottle and Michael made a terrific supper.  Jade was giggling and happy within a few minutes.  I still felt pretty terrible that we’d let her get so cold; her little body can’t retain heat for very long, even with two pairs of pants and socks, snowsuit, and blankets.  But I was pretty happy that I instinctively did exactly what Jade needed; makes me feel like I could maybe get this mothering thing right once in a while.