Visiting The Arctic

I have already shoveled enough snow for one lifetime, thank you

After visiting Tim I flew back to Wisconsin for about a week right around Christmas. If I thought the ice storm in Tennessee was fun, Wisconsin was just a winter wonderland the whole time that I was there. I was in Madison most of the time. I was hoping to get around some but the weather was just not conducive to travel. There was a brief window of one day that wasn't too bad that I used to drive to Wisconsin to visit my parents. I was hoping to get down to Illinois to visit my brother (and the really good game store near his house) but I just couldn't make it.

There was definitely a smorgasboard of miserable winter weather while I was there. It started with a snow storm - the one that delayed me getting back from my visit to Tim. There was about a foot of snow and a lot of wind to make sure that there were deep drifts - always right across the driveway and sidewalk. There must be some malicious law of physics that always causes the deepest drifts where you need to shovel. Sandy and I both got a chance to shovel twice. We were just lucky, I guess. Strangely, while the old people were outside shoveling the three kids stayed in and watched tv. I guess we are tougher than they are.

Sandy does her Eskimo imitation

I have to admit that I do not enjoy shoveling snow. When I was growing up in Milwaukee we lived on a corner lot and there was a lot of sidewalk to be shoveled. Plus there was a big driveway leading to the two car garage. Milwaukee gets a lot of snow, more than the rest of Wisconsin, because of the lake effect on the shore of Lake Michigan. And it is a very windy place as well. It is only 90 miles north and along the lakeshore just like Chicago, the "Windy City". So all that snow blew around a lot and made huge drifts. Everytime there was a big snowstorm my dad and I spent pretty much a whole day shoveling snow. Of course just as we were about done, the snow plow would go down the street past our house. And where did they plow the snow? Off to the side of course, right across our just cleared driveway. Which would now be full of wet, heavy, hard, compacted snow. Fond childhood memories. It's no surprise that I did NOT want to live in a really cold climate when I was old enough to choose where I lived.

Now this is more like it - Steve at home on New Years Day

The day after all the snow it turned bitterly cold. Way below 0 degrees Fahrenheit with a strong wind for a wind chill of minus 20 degrees Fahrenheit. That is really cold. I don't think some of my friends here in Singapore have any concept of what that kind of cold is like. When it gets cold, at first it gets uncomfortable, then it gets painful. But that cold is dangerous. It doesn't take long to get frostbite if skin is exposed. And even though you drive in a warm car I always took very warm clothes along in case there was car trouble. This was brought home when one day in Madison a guy was out driving at night on a rural road delivering newspapers. His car got stuck in a snowbank and he froze to death in three hours before anyone found him. Serious weather.

The only good thing about the cold was that once it gets cold enough it can't snow. The air just can't hold enough moisture.

Laney models the scarf she got from MB for Xmas

Besides snow and cold we also got fog. One night driving back from Sandy's parents house it was almost impossible to see. Another day it got warm enough for the snow to start to melt, then it froze hard at night. And started to snow. So all the roads had glare ice with a light covering of snow - the absolute slipperiest conditions possible. And it was foggy again.

Sandy and I were lucky with our air travel. Except for my delay from Nashville to Madison, we had no problems with the weather while we were traveling. My friend Mike from Singapore who went back to the East Coast for the holidays had flights cancelled traveling both to and from Asia and spent two nights sleeping in airports. Merry Christmas!

I have to admit that I don't understand why anyone lives there of their own free will. I kind of like the fact that I wear shorts and tshirts every single day.

Laney leads a rough life at the Finley house

It was still an enjoyable visit. We got to see family and friends. Since the weather was so bad we tended to stay home rather than go out. But staying home in crummy winter weather has its own appeal, feeling warm and snug when the weather is bad. We watched some football games. It could have better though. Boise State had a disappointing close loss in their bowl game and Wisconsin had a discouraging not close at all loss in theirs. I got to do a lot of reading. And we played some games. I got an expansion for C&C Ancients for Christmas that Sandy and I played. Unfortunately Sandy is getting a lot better at it and I got really trounced once. We also played a non-wargame called Carcasonne several times with the Finleys that was fun.

Laney seemed especially glad to see us. She always wanted to climb in bed and sleep with us. That was tough since the Finley's guest bed is quite small. When we packed to leave she seemed very nervous and upset. But we told her that we would be coming back before too long.

So it was a good visit. But it sure was nice when we got back home to be able to sit by the pool in the sun and read on New Years Day.