Monday, November 30, 2009


Winter has arrived.

What. You think 'winter has arrived' is a boring and unimaginative way to start a blog entry? Okay, let me try again:

The Winter Weather Gremlins bestirred themselves from hibernation and swept across the boreal forest in their blustering, swirling, west-wind chariots, blanketing the landscape with fluffy white powder and plunging thermometers into negative double digits . . .

Okay, let's just say it finally snowed. Big deal. I am glad it held off until the first of December, probably the latest first-snow in memory (it actually wasn't the first, but all the other dribs and drabs we got in October and November melted, so they don't count). If winter had come in mid-October (like it occasionally does) I would have written a sob story along the lines of "it's-too-early-for-winter-I-wanna-move-to-Hawaii." If it had arrived in the first week of November, I probably wouldn't have written anything, because winter is supposed to come in the first week of November. But it came on December first, and for once even the die hard snow-haters amongst us can't complain too much. If we can't handle snow in December, it really is time to move to Hawaii.

Besides, Christmas decorating seems a little weird when you look out the window and see only brown, frozen grass in the front yard. A little snow makes Christmas trees and carols more Christmasy for some reason.

Incidentally, Moscow is also getting a warm start to winter.

The gremlins might actually have listened when I said they could do their worst after we finished our training in Kenora. I should have remembered that I had a meeting in Thunder Bay on Tuesday. I asked for two day extention on the nice weather, but the wheels of nature were already in motion. I wasn't nuts about the hour and a half drive home at midnight in a snowstorm, but hey, this is Northwestern Ontario, not Hawaii.

By the way, I want to express my sincere thanks to Environment Canada for miscalling the weather report last weekend. Instead of periods of snow we got two days of nice clear weather, with temperatures hovering at or above the freezing point. I'm doubly thankful because I was correct in predicting that my white helmet would attract water. Actually, my whole bunker suit got soaked. Imagine an instructor and two students rammed into a sardine can of an attic doing hydraulic ventilation. Here's how it went:

me: When I open this window, you shoot a straight stream through it, then widen the stream to fill the opening. (this draws the smoke out of the room)

student: [thinks to himself] Which way do you twist the nozzle to get a straight stream . . . all the way left or all the way right . . . I think it's left . . . [opens nozzle on full wide fog].

me [dripping wet]; Um, the water is supposed to go through the window, not ricochet off the frame . . .

Thank goodness for miscalled weather reports and Gortex.

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