Way up here, I’ve been so down.
The dark, the cold, I feel like I’m trapped in a tupperware in someone’s long unopened fridge. Except we’re more than eighty degrees colder than any fridge. It’s just too much.
The kids were sick, then our car’s block heater (a device used by people who live too far north that plugs into an outlet and keeps your engine from freezing solid) committed suicide and convinced the power steering hose to drink some of the kool aid too. Then, we had healthy kids and a functioning car and the kids got sick again. Now, we’re recovering, and the car is working, but the temperature? -51*F. I can’t take the kids out in that. Where would we go anyway? It’s cold enough that even WalMart had to close (burst steam pipe).
I am not Alaskan. I love a snow day and an excuse to sip hot chocolate and watch old movies as much as the next person, but this is insane.
Still, no external forces should be able to command my heart so thoroughly. Why would I let something as mundane as the weather make my days so dreary? There are things I can do. Things that renew my sense of self and things that revive my spirit. Things that bring me a little farther from the earth up here and a little closer to the world I’m sure is still out there somewhere.
Tomorrow I’ll start a schedule. We don’t have light in the mornings (yet) but I can still exercise. I can still give my body some marker that suggests life. The sicknesses gave me an excuse to sleep in and try to recover the sleep lost to mid-night nursings. That should be reversed. I can nap if necessary, but sleeping in is rarely the answer any more. (welcome to motherhood)
Getting dressed in the morning will help too. Doing something with my hair. Putting on make-up. Tricks to signal to my long-dormant brain that there is life outside this house. When I first moved up here everyone told me about how precious “getting out” is. How it’s the only way to stay sane in the winter. But where to go? And is physical safety really less important than sanity? (Why do I have to choose anyway?) I just can’t believe that little fingers are safe going outside at these temperatures.
Today, even the airport shut down. It’s too cold for airplanes to fly. Don’t airplanes fly to Antarctica?
I’m awake now because nighttime is too much work to face. Baby just doesn’t sleep lately and I don’t want to face another night of that fight. I need a night off.
And some time away.
Never again will I stay the winter in Fairbanks.
Leaving church at sunrise. After the 11am service. Oh, Alaska. Solstice: t minus 3 days and counting!
Only in Alaska does Santa give out presents in a bar. Even better, a bar that still allows smoking. Keep going – the bar was like 40 minutes north of North Pole, Alaska, where Santa lives on Santa Claus lane with his reindeer. Oh, Alaska. You never cease to entertain.
Adelaide had a good time. My little Muse got her present, preferred to sit on Mrs. Claus’s lap, and asked for (another) Christmas tree for Christmas. I really don’t think she get’s the whole present/Christmas link.
Aliza was less impressed with the fat man in the red suit. Daddy’s protect-the-baby drive kicked in, and when he scooped up his scared child, he also took Santa’s beard. Oops.
There was someone making balloon animals and we had free pizza and some of the BEST homemade sugar cookies I’ve ever seen. mmmmm. Beautiful and delicious! Plus, Santa gave great presents. Santa proved that he really does know what each child wants for Christmas by getting Adelaide a beautiful book (which we read several times before leaving the bar) and giving Aliza a wrist rattle set that is keeping her busy while I type this. Outside, there was even a reindeer to pet:
But since she had that wild look in her eye, Adelaide declined an up-close encounter. Though the handler did offer to let me hold the creature’s lead while she took a family picture for us. Thanks, but no. I had an infant strapped to me and a toddler with better sense than to approach a scared, unfamiliar quadroped. A picture was enough.
I have to admit though, bars in Alaska have purdy decorations!
Also, I would like to point out that this was my first outing with my camera on Manual mode the entire time. Some of the pictures are even on manual focus. After owning my camera for 2 and a half years, I am finally learning how to use it. Merry Christmas!
I’ve been meaning to start posting a series of life with little kids in the great frozen North. I mean, seriously, this place is weird enough but with kids? Well, it just becomes comical. So, for installment one, here is a video from last January. Adelaide was helping me pull in the groceries. On a sled. I am probably 34 weeks pregnant here, so you can see the zipper of my coat in part of the video because my coat did not fit over my belly. I just tucked a blanket over the belly and snapped the coat over my bust.
Luckily, my daughter is a good helper, and she was (and is) happy to help me pull in the groceries.
Is that they leave good sticks for Fido to fetch by the lake for the next person/canine combo to use. Alaskans are communal and generous that way.
See Anchorage Zoo.
Increase our knowledge and wonder at the Imaginarium.
Visit tourist-y sites.
Some of that clearly had to be scratched due to rain and other non-negotiable events.
Revised Itinerary: 5am- Enough tossing and turning on a soggy sleeping bag. Find breakfast.
Dry sleeping bags.
Walk in a mall. (novel! We have no mall to speak of in Fairbanks.)
Visit touris-y places.
Cook dinner & air out tent, sleeping mats, etc.
Find the Bauers’ RV and bed down there.
Total mileage: not much
Notes: We had a rolicking good time. I still would have liked to take the girls to the zoo, but our (mostly) indoor day was great. We even got to greet Papa, then Nana, Nunki, Aunt Nae, and Aunt Hannah. Life is good.
Plan: Drive South on Parks Highway to Talkeetna.
Drive South on Parks Highway to Anchorage.
Total mileage: 382 miles
Epilogue: Though the drive had complications when the kiddos got tired, I felt the day would be recorded as a success. I was wrong, and right. Wrong = the drizzle of the day turned to rain and our tent flooded. Right = it was a little hilarious.