Experiment in NH Cold

Time for Timer! Next time you’re hankering for a sweet treat, and it’s below zero, you can make yourself a treat! All you need is a ice cube tray and whatever juice turns you on!

Clare liked the video of that classic 70’s cartoon commercial, and I suggested using Mother Nature do the cooking.

Now to let time do it’s trick. Of course we had to have a snowstorm during the experiment. Result:

Tasty success!

Storm

On this MLK Jr. Day, New England got rightly walloped by a storm coming from the south. We had a couple good storms up until now, but this one set the bar: over a foot of snow in only a single Monday morning. Since I had the day off, I had an appointment for the Explorer, and I also volunteered to drop Clare off at a friend’s for a day of sledding and hot chocolate. So off I go! Well, almost.

There’s a law in New Hampshire that you need to get the snow off the top of your ride before going anywhere. There was some tragedy that happened years ago with snow coming off one car and causing an accident to the car behind them. OK, done.

The roads were mostly plowed, but when it’s coming down at 2” an hour, they can only keep up so much. I wouldn’t say it was pushing the limit of the Explorer, but a couple more inches and it would have been sketchy. Dropped Clare off and drove to New London for service.

Original shop from the 40’s.

I went for a nice walk to a nearby deli to get deviled eggs and a coffee, and of course to take the opportunity take a bunch of photos. It was majestic.

No lifeguard on duty at Lake Sunapee today. Wimps.
Lonely beachside granite.
Where are the kids? Oh yeah, sledding.
Frozen river in Wilmot.
No plowing on the footbridge.

The snow stopped at about 1PM, and it’s now above freezing a bit, so the foot of snow is heavy. No fun to shovel. I’ve learned my lesson: next year either a snow blower or hire a plowing service. (Yes, yes, I know.)

Ugh.

First Day of Race Development

I don’t think it could start out any colder than it did, at least in New Hampshire. This is what the Weather app gave me when I was warming the car up.

So alright then! Let’s get this party started. We drove 45 minutes south to Crotched Mountain, south of our house. We had to register with them, since I was late in attempting to register with Mt. Sunapee (which is only 15 minutes away). It’s only for 7 weeks — a small price to pay for Ski Racing Dominance.

It was, as expected, bitterly cold, but we managed. On Mt. Hood in Oregon, the lowest I’ve seen it is single digits, and that’s rare. Usually in January it’s more like teens, even in the morning, and 20’s when it warms up. You don’t need to take special precautions. I learned a couple things today. First, gloves suck when it’s that cold. You want mittens. And HotHands chemical warming packets are a Godsend. Second, when you wear a gator around your face all day (which is necessary to not get frostbite), your breath causes the material to get wet, which then proceeds to freeze when you’re flying down the mountain. Ick. Probably no workaround for that — just something you need to suck it up about.

All in all it was good day. Clare was really “skied out” by lunch, but like the trooper she is, finished the 2 hour afternoon training session. That stretch will make it easier the next time. And honestly, this bitter of cold is rare for New Hampshire. Next Saturday has a high of 20F. Balmy!

Volunteer Cat Cuddler

Today was the day in Grace’s new career as an official, volunteer cat cuddler at the Sullivan County Humane Society. It’s about a half hour drive from our house, so not too bad (we really are in the middle of nowhere!). Once a week, as Mom and Dad’s schedule allows, she’ll volunteer there. Big bonus: it’s a cat only shelter.

Fun fact: New Hampshire is a certified no-kill state for their shelters. Very cool.

Don’t touch me or I will scratch you.

Minimal School Ski Day

A thing in New Hampshire: 5 days during winter where kids get out of school early to go skiing.

Really.

I volunteered to chaperone for Mount Royal Academy when I could, and today I could. Great day getting some dad/daughter time in!

Impressive. Most Impressive.

Busy Week for Winter Sports Starting

As I wrote about yesterday, we’re truly in the heart of winter in New Hampshire now. Given this, things are really starting up in the realm of winter sports! Wednesday I’m chaperoning kids, including Clare, to the ski program at Mt. Sunapee where the kids get a half day off of school to go skiing, and the resort gives the kids a free lesson for the 5 days they get to do it. Then on Saturday, Clare will go down to Mt. Crotched for the start of her pre-race development program. Fun.

What I learned today is that finally it’s consistently cold enough for the next town over — Sunapee — to open up their outdoor ice rink, so both the girls can try out their new skates that their Grandma got them for Christmas. This will be a new experience for me, too, as the only time I’ve been skating are indoor rinks in the Pacific Northwest

Dress warm!

Getting Into Deep Winter

We returned home from the Pacific Northwest — again, delayed 6 days due to bad weather — only to find a nice layer of ice over everything. It’s about 3AM EST, it’s been a long day, and we pull up in the rental, and say, “Yeah, not going into that driveway with this sedan….”

Shiny!

It being New Hampshire, the roads were absolutely fine, so it was a bit of a surprise. Then the day before yesterday, we had a snowstorm, followed by some minor sleet and freezing rain today. It’s been kind of cold lately, getting down at night in the single digits. Definitely wear some warm boots and a wool hat weather. Next week, though, a first for me (at least that I can remember): it’s projected to be down to -8F for a night or two. Time to stress test the furnace!

I’ll drop this last photo that I took while exploring the neighboring lot with Clare and Tigli yesterday. Beautiful! Right at sunset with a 3/4 moon hanging above the cold sky.

Half a Red-Eye

Science has spoken: getting 3 1/2 hours of sleep is a horrible idea. At least I was efficient!

Flying Home to New Hampshire

I’m writing this somewhere over northern Montana, finally on our way back to New Hampshire. We’re making this return trip exactly 6 days later than our original scheduled flight. Why? The mix of snow and the inability of the Pacific Northwest west of the cascades to deal with snow.

On Christmas morning, we were driving up to Tacoma from White Salmon, and just south of Olympia, snow started falling. We did make it to my sister-in-law’s house before it started really sticking, but that night, it started piling up. Best guess is over the next 24 or so hours they got about 4 inches accumulation. That’s not much, for places like White Salmon and New Hampshire, but for the Seattle area, it’s bordering on crippling. No worries! Still 4 days to our flight!

Back up. This was our first experience traveling with a pet, as we had brought Tigli along. Being still fairly new to the area, we hadn’t found a kennel for her that we’d trust to care for her for such an extended period of time. She really needs a place that she’s not locked up at all in a small cage, and has regular human contact. That means we have to vet some places, which we’ll do before the next trip. Bottom line: more complications.

A couple days before our flight, I get an email about a “pet embargo” that’s been laid down by Alaska Airlines, prompting a call to their service center. The customer service rep – through no fault of his own – didn’t know the details, but speculated that due to colder weather, the tons of cancelled and delayed flights, and short staffing (probably a combination itself of COVID and our government’s response to the pandemic) meant that Alaska Airlines couldn’t guarantee the safety of pets being transported in cargo. Can’t argue with that. OK, we’re flying back on Saturday the 31st now. Still back in time for the kids to have a day to adjust before school.

A day later, oops, another extension of the embargo — now the earliest is Tuesday, January 4th. Flight change. Scrambling to figure out all the downstream effects on school, work, various commitments, and what it’d mean to our gracious family hosts. Danica and I watched the weather forecasts and prayed.

Obviously it worked out, as I’m in the air, but jeezum crow. And we’re one of the lucky ones, comparatively. I know there’s probably plenty of families out there like us, but without a warm, loving place to hold up waiting for things to sort themselves out. I think it shows how tenuous our systems are. When 4” of white stuff can break things this badly, it’s not a good thing. Our society runs with a razor thin margin of give and slack. It’s a soft lesson that both preparation and patience are of high value, even now in our modern world of marvels. Don’t assume that the interconnected web we live in will be able to absorb unexpected events; instead, do your best to ensure you have the ability to absorb them when the broader system stutters.