Wilder by Far

A look at life with the Wilder family. Updated most weekends and some vacation days. You can contact me at movingnorth@gmail.com..

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Location: United States

Wednesday, February 22, 2006

"Buck up little camper, we'll beat that slope together. " - Booger, Better Off Dead

Tranquility Base, this is Houston. You are go for EVA.

We had a run of amazingly nice weather up here in Fairbanks. It’s been warmer than usual, and as such, we’ve been making the most of the outdoors. We’ve been cutting wood, shoveling snow, sending The Boy out to do Boy things during the day.

But, aside from The Boy, we were working. While we enjoyed it, it was still work. The itch began for some fun. Fun activities in wintertime in Alaska are numerous. Some of them are even outdoor activities that don’t involve candles and giggling and The Mrs. wearing a French maid’s outfit (oh, yeah, flannel jammies). One of them that we’ve been missing out on is snowmachining. (Alaska note: they’re snowmachines up here, not snowmobiles. No real reason, that’s just the local lingo, like a “junkie” would be known as “mayor” in Washington D.C. Another, much older name for a snowmachine is “Iron Dog,” which relates to the replacement of sled dogs.)

For those of you that don’t know, a snowmachine is, well, a mechanical dogsled. Some of which have 150 horsepower engines and can go from zero to 125 mph fast enough to make your fillings puddle about the back side of your throat. So, it’s not really anything like a dogsled at all, unless your dogs are CGI animation flying dogs from the Lord of the Rings. And those are expensive, and endangered. I would buy some of those, but alas, they’re not at all real.

It was during this warm spell that we heard the snow machines distantly (oh, yeah, we live a quarter of a mile from a paved road) growling, like mosquitoes angry over competition with other shameless bloodsucking beasts, like Anna Nicole Smith.

The Mrs. and I decided to go looking for snowmachines. We decided to go look at some new ones. We went to a local snowmachine shop, and were completely ignored. When I go out to buy something expensive, I attempt to look like I have no money, leaving my tuxedo and Aston-Martin 4x4 at home. Apparently it worked a bit too well in this case, though I did have my Bond girl of the moment, The Mrs., with me. Those particular snowmachine dealers must work for Blofeld. After ten straight minutes of impenetrable inattention, I took my football and went home.

We then drove over to Northern Power Sports, where we could hardly stand unaccompanied for two or three minutes before being surrounded by troops of salesmen with velvet cushions containing prize snowmachine tidbits and pantyhose merely for our amusement. Okay, that’s a bit of an embellishment, but service was good there. I test-drove a snowmachine with The Boy. We both wore borrowed helmets, I’m guessing because brain damaged customers might be bad for business, even though they’d be more likely to accept a lease deal. The snowmachine was wonderful. We drove the least expensive machine they had there, with the exception of the children’s snowmachine. I would have test-driven that one, but a long line of Santa’s elves were ahead of me.

The Boy loved it. When I say loved it, he loved it in the “I don’t think it’s going to go, oh my gosh it does, good heavens it’s fast IS DAD GONNA JUMP THAT PILE OF SNOW oh gosh he did I LOVE THIS . . . muhahahahaha” sort of way, as only the mind of a five year old can. When we finished the ride, he was convinced that we were going to test drive every single snowmachine in the lot, all 436 of them. When he saw we were going to test drive only one, he was greatly disappointed.

Part of being five is the first glimmer of the infinite. The words “forever” and “never” begin to creep into the language. For instance, when I say “We’re not going to drive another snowmachine right now,” it translates to “We’re never ever ever ever going to ride anything as fun as that snowmachine again in your life. This was your last taste of freedom and fun. Forever.” I pulled his tiny grip from the handlebars (and heard the popping sound as the tentacle-like suckers on his hands let go of the hard plastic), and then we went shopping for food, and then went home.

The Mrs. and I talked about getting the snowmachine. She suggested that I look in the newspaper and see what kind of used machines they had, and compare against the new machine we’d looked at. I found one listed that sparked my eye, primarily because it had:
  • A small engine - a 340 cc (cc is cubic communistmeters, the unit of measure that the Soviets devised to enslave our soft drink manufacturers) is more than enough engine to propel the snowmachine at 50MPH, which is more than fast enough to hit a tree with
  • A small price – even though I am a thousandaire, I don’t need to spend like one
I called the owner. He was fairly apologetic when he told me that he had promised his 1997 Polaris Indy Lite 340cc to someone else. He told me he’d call me back if the person he’d promised it to fell through on the deal.

With winter ending in only 354 days from now, would he call me back?

Oh yeah, he called me back. I’ll tell you about it Saturday in:



Blogger Lady Luck said...

"even though I am a thousandaire"
That is my favorite quote in this blog. Cracks.ME.UP!

5:53 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Babcock would be proud of you, and didn't you once tell me it was all about love with Anna Nicole? Money and boobs?

10:06 AM  
Blogger Al said...

You just cannot help but mention how prosperous you are...a thousandaire.

Well, I often hear people talk about making a 6 figure salary. Now I do not want to brag, but I make 5 figures.

Now before you accuse me of being some snotty Wall Street investment banker or super model, be aware that 5 figures is some where between 10,000 and 99,999. I am solidly within that range. Most times people assume $90K and I do not know why.

6:32 PM  
Blogger Woofwoof said...

Ha! "Replacement of sled dogs!" Only in your dreams. You should use your thousands to buy 50 dogs (and still have thousands left), and let them pull your sled. They'll beat 50 mph easily. And the 2 Boys will have lots more fun. Forever...

8:47 PM  
Blogger John said...

lady luck,
Thank you! For us thousandaires, it's all about the George.

Yup, one loved one, and one loved the other. A match made in . . . a strip club.

See, if you're a thousandaire, you get to count the digits to the right of the decimal point. Therefore, if you make $12,234.21 it's a seven figure salary.

I wrote that sentence as woof bait. Heh!

9:18 PM  
Blogger Johnny G said...

You have opened Pandora's Box by putting a 5-year old on a snowmachine, I'm sure his DNA is already morphing as he naps, next week he'll be a full-on Sledneck wearing brightly-colored sportwear, screaming about RPM's, CC's and zero G's. Your thousandaire days are numbered...

8:40 AM  
Blogger Dame Koldfoot said...

John, don't you know that once children become mobile, they become unmanageable? I remember when I got my driver's license and first car (actually it was my younger brother's first car, but I had the first license), nothing--not even the Mom look, perpetual grounding or prolific use of my full name--could rein in my rebellion. Imagine what chaos would ensue if you got a snowmachine. Before you know it, the Boys and the little Koldfeet will be sneaking out, "borrowing" the snowmachines and meeting at the end of Peede Road to go galavanting around the countryside. Why not stick to something a little less risky, like chainsaws or rifles?

9:53 AM  
Blogger Duck Hunter said...

The boy really looks like he is going on a mission.

Here in the South we use our "road machines". They recently replaced our horse teams. Some people call the machines "cars".

10:07 AM  
Blogger John said...

johnny g,
Yeah, he's been bugging me already, plus he's already got enough grasp of math that he knows what "faster" means.

dame koldfoot,
Hmmm. Rifles. Chainsaws. Snowmachines. I think we've got us a video game!

Yup. And one day the snowmachine will replace the dog, but probably sometime after the War of Northern Aggression is finally decided. (looks frantically for the bomb that woof will be slinging)

8:26 PM  
Blogger John said...

Oh, and johnny g,
When my days as thousandaire are up, I will be a proud hundredaire.

8:27 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

The boy has learned! He is zipped and helmeted, bet he is wearing it to bed as well. Bet those snow machines are cheaper and more effective then any of the communist stuff we are able to locate.

6:22 AM  
Blogger John said...

But communist snowmachine have great advantage, since made of old MiG-21 jet engine and forty foot ski.

12:08 PM  

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