Saturday, 11 December 2004

December 11, 2004 Too Cold to Run

I frequently speak glowingly of how much I love living where we live and how wonderful it is here. I talk fondly of cool summer and fall mornings, lovely warm (but not too warm) summer days, beautiful moonlit nights, dancing lights……well, not lately!! It has been RIDICULOUS weather here lately. Let me tell you the entire story…
Thursday and Friday this week were so warm that I decided not to run the dogs. After all, temperatures were supposed to drop over the weekend and we could get some good runs in then. Friday was no real loss, as I had planned to be in the city for the whole day anyway. 
I left at 4:30 am in order to get little Lightning to the airport in time to make her flight down to her new family in Utah. I actually ended up with a few hours to kill before the stores opened, so I had a quiet and enjoyable breakfast, then sat and drank coffee and read the paper to pass the time. Kind of relaxing, actually. I did a bunch of shopping through the morning, the most notable being my foray to Costco to pick up a lot of the supplies for my drop bags. Fourteen hundred dollars worth of drop bag stuff actually – everything from AA and AAA batteries to bottled water to chocolate bars to Imodium (for dogs and humans) to vitamins to juice packs to Ziplocs to toothbrushes….I could have bought more, but nothing else would fit in the cart! 
I had a nice enjoyable lunch with friends, Butch and Cec, then back to the airport to meet up with my best friend, Lynda. Lynda lives in Grande Prairie and since moving here I just don’t get to see much of her. She had a 3 hour layover on a flight back home, so I arranged to meet her for coffee. Lynda also brought along my meals for Iditarod. 
As some of you may remember, for most of my Iditarods Lynda and her husband Dwayne have made up my personal meals – and I ate very well on the trail. In ’03, after I got sick, there were some very incorrect things said to Lynda about it being a result of their meals. I reassured her that that was simply not the truth, but she asked if she could pass on doing my meals last year and I respected that. 
My meals last year sucked and if it wasn’t for Doug and his lasagna, I might have starved, so I got Dwayne on the phone this spring and told him no ‘ands, ifs, or buts’ they were doing my meals for ’05. He agreed.

My freezer is now filled with bags of curried shrimp, meatballs and mashed potatoes, dilled sole, turkey dinner, etc. – I’m one happy camper!

Anyway, Lynda and I had a nice, but too short visit and then I was heading home. Lucky it wasn’t too late, as Mark was working nights, so I was going to have to feed dogs when I got back. It was so warm while I was feeding there were puddles in the dog yard. I splashed through the feeding and assured the dogs that things would get more ‘normal’ soon. By the time I crawled into bed the temperature had already dropped below freezing. When I got up at 5:30, it was -20 C (-8F).

Mark walked in the door at 7 in anything but a good mood. “Why is the garage door open?” he asked. I was dumbfounded. I knew it was closed when I came into the house last night. Now the cats were furious with us (‘cause they were cold all night), the garage furnace had been running non stop, the water was frozen and all the meat I had taken out to feed dogs hadn’t thawed. While we were out trying to sort out these problems Take Out (our 20 lb monster cat) stalked by, jumped up onto one of the chairs in the garage and curled up on top of the garage door opener for a nap. Mystery solved – that darn critter had opened the door with his fat, furry butt in the middle of the night. The remote is now kept far away from his favorite sleeping places.

Eventually the water and meat thawed, I got back on schedule and the dogs and I got a nice run in.
The next morning it was snowing like crazy – and still in the -20 C range. I spent the day doing individual leader work with a number of the young dogs. That night it was back to the airport to drop off Spike (Surge x Olena puppy) who was moving to his new home in Maine, Spot and Zelda (the gal who was here to be bred to Gus). When I got home at 1am the temperature was starting to plunge.

Monday dawned about -35C. Mark was now on days off, but slept until noon because he was coming off night shift. When he got up we had planned on running, but there is just no way that 4 wheelers run well in those temperatures and sitting on a cold, metal machine for 3 or 4 hours at that temperature is FAR from fun. We decided to give the dogs (and us) the day off and we filled our time working on drop bags and other stuff to get us ready for Alaska.

Tuesday morning was actually WORSE – minus 39 when I got up. We knew we couldn’t run dogs in those temperatures, so we decided to head to the city to pick up our fish and chicken orders for Iditarod and finish up some other shopping. Things HAD to get better soon.

Finally Thursday things broke and the temperature shot up into the -20 range. That seemed down right balmy and we did a nice 25 mile run.

This morning it is actually -3 C. 
One of the standard jokes for Alberta weather is if you don’t like it – wait 5 minutes and it’ll change. I’m not so sure it is a joke! 
So, some of you might have noticed that I mentioned dropping Spottie off at the airport on Sunday night. Obviously, if she is getting on a plane now, we are not counting on her going to Nome this year – we aren’t. Spot has been cut from the team and will be vacationing in New Hampshire with Kim and Kelly Berg for the winter. Hopefully she is pregnant and the twins will be raising a litter for us when we are up in Alaska. We will let everyone know more details when we know for sure that Spot will be having puppies! 
Well, it is starting to get light and I must get out in the dog yard. 
All for now,

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