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, June 28, 2006

"Rick, I want Debbie. You dump her and I'll give you cash, ten thousand dollars, plus a GE toaster oven." - Cole, Bachelor Party

The Boy plots his capitalist rise to power, by first bulldozing a church and then putting in his personal brand of pizza restaurants. Picture Credit - The Boy.

The Boy and I were stuck inside working the other day. It was rainy outside, so I decided it was time to replace all the caulk in the house. Thus ends the Alaska content of this post – it was raining up here the other day.

Not really. I just picked the Master Bathroom (if you don’t know if you have a Master Bathroom, see if any of your bathrooms wants to invade Poland, then that's the Master Bathroom) tub. I didn’t do this at random, though heaven knows The Mrs. has come home a time or two and found me elbow deep in drywall that had once been a solid wall, just because I didn’t like the way it looked. In this case, I didn’t like the way the caulk looked. Some moron (name of John) put the stuff in, and it looks like an army of fifth graders mashed the stuff in with Popsicle® sticks.

Caulk is sticky stuff, and I’m guessing that they made it that way so that it would stick to things, like bathtubs. The Boy and I jumped in the tub and started ripping it out. The Boy was surprisingly helpful – I’m guessing the inherently destructive nature of the task is well-suited to the way a five-year-old brain works. He did a good job.

I used the knife. I cut, pulled, and cajoled the clingy stuff away from the tub’s glistening ceramic surface. I had used a silicon caulk, so that made the job that much harder. I had a new tube of GE silicon caulk ready to replace the crappy install job I’d done last year.

What I didn’t expect was the conversation that followed.

The Boy, excitement in his voice: “Hey, this silicon caulk is made by GE. They made our TV!”

John Wilder, attempting not to cut his fingers off: “Yup.”

The Boy: “They made our phone, too!”

John Wilder: “Yup.”

The Boy: “They make light bulbs.”

John Wilder: “Yup.”

The Boy: “Do they make . . . pizzas? (no) radios? (yes) stoves? (yes) electric ones? (yes) carpet (I don’t think so) caulk? (yes) microwaves? (maybe, but I don’t remember one) refrigerators? (yes) pizzas? (you already asked that) laptops? (no) paint? (I don’t think so) shoes? (no)” and on, and on, and on. We talked about the things GE makes for about an hour. This was not as annoying as it might sound, but it was nerdy as all hell.

The Boy finally figured out that GE made a lot of things that we own. He demanded to go to their website and see the things they make (this was – I swear – his idea). He and I were both impressed, and to his delight and surprise he found that GE owned NBC. NBC owns the SciFi Channel. The SciFi Channel puts out his favorite show, Ghosthunters. The Boy loves GE. GE, however, is in a dead heat with Sony. He won’t pick a favorite company between the two, but I think he was going to analyze their various business plans, and invest his Superman™ piggy-bank savings in one of them.

As he walked down the hall, I could hear him muttering, “What would legendary GE CEO Jack Welch do? I think he would get rid of the lowest 10% of performers in the house. Is that The New Boy, or is it Dad?”

Sunday, June 25, 2006

"I don't care what happens to your tourist season! Someone needs to tell these people that they might need a jacket!" - Al, The Weird Al Show

The Boy took this picture, and I think his stylistic charm in including his finger over the lens really makes the picture, don't you? And, to think, someday I'll burn all this . . .

The mosquitoes and tourists arrive in Fairbanks about the same time. That’s to be expected. Nature has her cycles, and so do the tour companies. I really can’t imagine thousands of tourists descending upon Fairbanks when it’s -55ºF (-273.15ºC) out, but if they did, there would be a whole bunch of interesting stories to tell down Texas way of when Mabel and Horace discovered that the unitards old folks tend to wear aren’t really all that good at that temperature. Plus, it would be a hoot seeing them attempting to start their diesel pickup that they bought for pulling the fifth wheel. (For those of you not in the know, diesel fuel is as thick as Paris Hilton at those temperatures.)

But, it’s June, so Fairbanks is chock full of tourists. We start huge forest fires (100,000+ acres) under the theory that tourists are a lot like bees and are repulsed by smoke, to no avail. The smoke has been off and on for the past few weeks, but the tourists keep coming. My favorite part is that the tourists seem to come in flocks, like ducks. First the Pittsburgh flock comes, sporting their “Super Bowl® XL Champion” shirts, then come the groups from other regions, finally ending with Arizona. My guess is that it’s an NFL thing, and the city that wins the Super Bowl™ gets to come here first. Arizona and Detroit always have to come here last, because they’re, well, Arizona and Detroit. I apologize to the Cardinal© and Lions® fans, but, you bring this on yourselves.

The roads tend to fill up with slow moving, whale-like RV’s at this time of year, filled with exotic license plates sporting names like “Iowa” and “Alabama.” You can tell the tourists, because they’re the ones wearing coats in the local stores, because 70ºF (253ºC) is so darn cold.

Anyhow, we were at the supermarket on Friday. You can tell the tourists a mile away, even if they’re not wearing coats. One of them (a young male) was driving an electric shopping cart (the ones made for folks who have trouble walking) around the supermarket. He looked more than able to get through the store without electric motors (he was about eighteen, perhaps), but yet he was using this cart. Folks from Fairbanks don’t tend to be serious jerks in public unless there’s alcohol involved, and he seemed just stupid, not drunk. When you get this yahoo back, North Carolina, well, beat some sense into him.

I was somewhat aghast yesterday when The Mrs., The Boy, The New Boy and I were mistaken by a clerk for tourists. Yikes! I’m not sure what it was, but she figured that we were “just visiting,” and attempted to explain things that anyone here more than three hours would already know. That killed me. I stopped her “Did you know . . .” speech quickly with a hand, and a “No, we live here.” What about our pasty-white complexions did she not recognize?

As far as pasty-white goes, I’ve found that it’s nearly impossible to sunburn up here. The Sun’s mighty electromagnetic radiation is far too weak to burn me at this latitude, and I’m the kind of guy who turns bright blistery red down in the lower 48 just getting the Sunday paper.

The family and I were finally coming home from getting sweet, tasty meat at Safeway, and I pulled up behind a car. I like bumper stickers, and this one was a doozy, “Tourists, go home. But leave your daughters here.”

I pulled up beside the car to see the driver. Trust me, you don’t want to leave your daughters with this guy. Just looking at him, I bet he smelled like cheese. And not in the good way.

Wednesday, June 21, 2006

"Where'd my youth go? Why didn't fame hold off old age and death?" - Elvis Presley, Bubba Ho-Tep

While this may look like toys Ozzy Osbourne gave his kids when they were babies, these are actually Ulu knives, a traditional Alaskan knife. Tourists love 'em, they're really handy, and in a pinch you can use them to complete your Klingon outfit on Halloween, if you're 38 and live in your parents' basement.

It’s the Solstice up here in Fairbanks. Well, technically, it is where you are, too, but you don’t sacrifice a pine tree in a drunken bacchanal to celebrate yours. A virgin pine tree.

In reality, neither did I. I went to work. I worked. I came home. It was the coming home where the epiphany hit me.

I was driving down the road at about 60MPH (210km/h) and listening to a CD that I bought from Amazon. Amazon is great – free Super Saver shipping, even to Alaska, unless you buy the “Fifty Pounds of Rocks” for $7.99. Even Amazon draws the line there. The CD that I purchased (for $9.98) was a greatest hits compilation, and the original vinyl LP (that plays on a re-cord play-er for those of you younger than 30) that had some of the tunes I was listening to is gathering dust in the basement, unplayed because the record player has been as dead as The Dixie Chicks’ career for about twenty years.

Somebody (Confucius? Al Gore? Lindsey Lohan?) said that the music you enjoy most at a party was the music you liked at the point in life when you were dumbest. For boys, that’s probably age 14-16. While this CD isn’t my all-time favorite music, it is music I hadn’t heard in decades that I had loved when I was in my stupid years.

It was Krokus, playing the titular (that’s not dirty, it just means “related to the title”, but it sure does feel vaguely naughty, doesn't it?) song from their album, Headhunter.
Feel the heat
throw your bodies into the fire
time to feed

Okay, okay, so it doesn’t make any more sense than you would expect from music written in English by Swiss musicians who only had a passing knowledge of verbs. Nevertheless, it evoked memories from years ago, like the smell of chlorine and cotton candy brings you back to the muni pool when you were eight, or like the smell of red-hot pokers, evaporating tequila and burning fur reminds you of the evening you partied with Rob Zombie when you were twenty-two. (Memo to self, next time party in Rob’s hotel room, not mine – let him explain the chicken blood to the maid.)

For a second, zooming down the road my mind traveled back. I was driving down the road in a pickup truck that had a plastic seat, a four speed, an AM radio, and a rubber floor on a dirt road, kicking up a rooster tail of dust behind me thousands of miles and decades away from Alaska. It was a nice, sunny day where the future was an infinity of time, and all material things would yield to my will in the years to come. The indestructibility of youth and certainty of victory beyond imagining surged through my veins in hot waves.

My mind caught up when I realized that sixteen was way too young to have a mortgage, and way too young to have kids, at least outside of Arkansas. I looked around, and thought about my current situation:

Here I was, driving down a road in Alaska, on the Solstice, listening to music that’s so old that they no longer manufacture it on the original format that it was sold on. I had a thought. What would 16 year old John think about me, today? Would he like it?

Hell yes. Besides a great wife and wonderful kids, I’ve got guns, chainsaws, and beer. What’s not to like?

Sunday, June 18, 2006

"Badges? Badges? We don't need no stinkin' badges! We're the Federales!" - Not a Federale, Treasure of the Sierra Madres

Today’s picture is brought to you by The Boy, looking out the back of the Wildermobile. We’ve tried tying The Boy on top to take pictures, but that garners a bit too much attention.

The Mrs. and I have been hitting late nights working together outside. Last night she whacked the weeds, and I did all manner of puttering about, and in fact made some fascinating scientific discoveries, such as:
  • you can’t weld an aluminum license plate to a trailer, but you can put holes in the aluminum that the plate is made out of and burn the little stickers that prove you’re legal,
  • never say nice things about a chainsaw, because then it will begin acting like a goon (idle adjustment coming), and,
  • bug spray stings when you sweat it off your hair into your eyes, but it’s still better than the mosquitoes.
I did purchase myself one little Fathers’ Day luxury (besides the drill press a few weeks ago) which was a Wood Grenade. Before you call the ATF, the Wood Grenade does not explode either itself or wood, so you could say that it’s poorly named.

A steel wedge and the Wood Grenade. Which would you pick? We don’t need no stinking wedges.

That is not the case. The Wood Grenade was designed to split wood, much as the old-fashioned steel wedges were. I had one before, but lost it in the move, and couldn’t find one to replace it, so I bought a steel wedge. Yesterday I saw a Wood Grenade on the shelf in Home Despot and tossed it in the cart. The Wood Grenade has several advantages over a steel wedge:
  • it has a cool name, Wood Grenade,
  • it looks like what the Predator would use to split wood,
  • it splits wood with much more precision and less fumbling than the steel wedge, and,
  • did I mention it has a cool name, Wood Grenade?
The Mrs. has (from time to time) indicated that I could get a hydraulic wood splitter (or at least borrow one) to split the logs around the house. I’m not close to that point in life yet. There’s something wonderful to be said about taking a sledge hammer, slinging it above your head and down in a forceful, Thor-like arc and striking a piece of metal embedded in a 20” (that’s six meters for you soccer-watchers) diameter log and watching it split apart into two pieces like Tom Cruise’s personality.

It’s hard work. You start sweating soon after starting, and the next morning you feel the burn in your arms. That’s why I don’t have a hydraulic splitter (bought or loaned) – when I burn the wood that I split this winter, I earned it, every Btu, plus if I split enough I’ll have arms like John Henry, that steel-drivin’ man. Oh, yes, I thought about John Henry as I was splitting the wood, especially the part about him living happily ever after. Oh, wait, he died.

Never mind.

I just like splitting wood. With my Wood Grenade.

Wednesday, June 14, 2006

"Go into the light, Carol Anne." - That Creepy Short Lady, Poltergeist

Yes, it snowed a week before I took this picture. Ain't Fairbanks grand?

Last night was the night I just gave up and gave in to summer. The way I did that was give in to the light. Let me explain . . .

I came home last night about usual. The Mrs. was preparing for going out to teach at the NRA’s local “Karate with a .45 Semiauto” class (class motto: “Chuck Norris is scary. Chuck Norris with a gun is really, really scary.”). She does this on a nightly basis. It’s one of those quaint things we Alaskans call a “job.”

Anyhow, she left me in charge of the brood, which was probably her first mistake. The Boy and I decided to harvest mow the lawn. The snow hasn’t been gone for all that long from our lawn, but it’s growing in earnest already. I have a theory that as it warms up enough light begins to drift down through the snow to make the grass green. In some spots, as it was melting the green grass was poking through.

The lawn grows quickly up here. 24 hour daylight encourages that a bit. The Mrs. decided last year that we should replace dearly departed Christine (explanation here) with a new mower (explanation here). There are several nice things about the John Deere:
  • The Boy can ride with me when I mow if he wants,
  • it has a cupholder for beer,
  • it turns a three-hour push-mower task into about an hour, and,
  • it’s green.
When we bought the John Deere, I sent in the product registration. That was the only way to get the free Sun Cover. In addition to getting the free Sun Cover, I got a box from John Deere about a month later. In the box was a John Deere green hat, with the embroidered words “Owner Edition” on the bill. I’m willing to bet that this was pretty much the same one that Ted Turner got when he bought a $500,000 combine for his albino-alpaca ranch in Montana, yet I only paid a fraction of that, and never had to spend time with Jane Fonda. Yet, I have the same hat.

It’s like being in a club. I see other guys in John Deere Owner Edition hats, and we wink at each other. We’re in. You’re not.

Alas, there was no beer as I mowed the lawn last night being “beer-free Tuesday” (not nearly as fun as free-beer Friday). The Boy got bored with riding after the first thirty minutes, and I thought I had lost him to the swing set for the night. Instead, he started running behind the mower as I mowed. I have no idea why. Since the lawn is really, really, really big (300’ by 100’ – football field size) I figure he ran about a mile. He kept up with the John Deere when it was in fifth gear (yes, it has a fifth gear) without much problem.

After mowing, I proceeded to cut up and stack a half a cord of wood, and then decided to take the sledgehammer and wedge and crack a few pieces of spruce in half. Nothing makes you feel more like Thor than having the big hammer.

That’s when The Mrs. drove up.

“Hi,” I innocently say.

“John, did you know that it’s almost 10:30?”

I shake my head, and The Mrs. continues, “It’s past his,” she jerks her thumb at The Boy, “bedtime by about two hours.”

I become sheepish. Okay, I messed this up.

Between the extra two hours of up time and the sixteen miles he ran behind the tractor, The Boy indicated that he had a great desire to become part of the food chain, preferably as a consumer, but if no food was coming, he wouldn’t mind being fed to wolves.

I fixed soup. Mmm, mmm, good™.

The New Boy, who can hear a mosquito change it’s mind in Seattle, picked that moment to wake up from his slumber. He wailed that he wanted food as well. The Mrs. grumbled, “This was just what it was like when I left, all three of you clamoring for attention.”

We put The Boy and The New Boy in bed, and sat in the front room, talking. The clamor started from the other room. First The New Boy started to burble, and laugh. Then The Boy cried. He finally yelled, “Daaaaddddddy.”

I entered the room only to see my five-year-old crying on his bed, while the grinning fool that is his brother stood, bounced, and drooled in his crib. Hey, bro, it’s party time!

I explained that he and The New Boy shared a room. He steadfastly stuck to the position that The New Boy was the spawn of Satan, and should be housed in a box filled with greasy rags in the garage. I finally relented, and put left to prepare the portable crib in the other room for The New Boy. Principle is one thing, but sleep is another. As I was leaving the room to get the other room ready, The Boy screeched, "Hey, Dad, you forgot the baaaaaby."

It was midnight.

And bright daylight outside.

Dang, I’m tired today.

In other news, I got an e-mail about another movie. This looks good:

It’s got Lance Henriksen (he was the robot in Aliens, Frank Black in Millennium), Claudia Christian (Ivanova from Babylon 5) and Sean Young (good in Stripes, but I hear just a bit nutty in reality). Full disclosure: I get a copy of the flick. Fuller disclosure: I would rent/buy this one anyway, just for the actors involved. I know that my penchant for horror movies drives The Mrs. a bit nuts, but she would grab this one first if I didn’t see it. As you can also see, this movie deals with a subject matter that we are not unfamiliar with.

Alrighty. Goodnight.

Sunday, June 11, 2006

"If playground rules are not in effect, this is anarchy." - Kelso, That 70's Show

The Boy, swinging on the new swing set. The drill press, being drilly and pressy, sits to his right.

This was the second weekend of the swing set. I know I could have bought a kit, but that didn’t seem Alaska-y at all. It seemed a bit more fair, somehow, to at least buy the boards and screws and figure it out myself.

Yesterday, The Mrs. and I went to Home Despot. There, the main goal of The Mrs. was to find some flowers to plant out front of our house. We bought bulbs and planted them last fall, but in the end I think they gave up just rotted in the soil. The Mrs. got some actual live plants to kill this time.

An aside, it seems as if The Mrs. can kill any plant. If Bird Flu® (Run, Hide, Scream!™)were a plant, well, the salvation of mankind might be for The Mrs. to be put on the case. I kid. She’s been successful at growing tomatoes, which the dogs promptly ate before they ripened.

Home Despot was our spot. The Mrs. brought The New Boy in her car, and The Boy and I rode in my 1936 (seems that old) Ford truck. The Boy loves the Ford truck, since he can sit up front without fear that some safety device would explode and injure him. I believe it was the economist, Thomas Sowell, who said that if economists were inventing car safety devices, the best one would consist of a six-inch long razor-sharp knife stuck smack dab in the middle of the steering wheel. I think that would curb aggressive driving, too. As it is, I view air bags in a similar light, and am actually a bit irritated that I can’t buy a car without them because some lobby or other decided that all cars should have them. On behalf of all three of us that think this whole car-safety thing has gone a bit far, thanks a lot, pal.

Anyhow, car safety device irritation aside, The Mrs. brought a selection of hard to kill plants that she placed in our front yard. I bought lumber.

Two weeks ago when I had some time to dedicate to the swing set, I had miscalculated the number of 2x4’s that I’d need. I think I bought about 20, but ended up needing 30. Bad math. So yesterday I bought some more. I got home and began assembly first of the table for the drill press. That construction went well, but still took about an hour. I explained in my “please trust me voice” that all of the time I’d spent assembling the drill press would pay off once we could use it for drilling out a huge number of holes for steps on the swing set. The Mrs., to her credit, didn’t complain a bit.

When we finally got to use the drill press, The Mrs. remarked that it was “very drilly and very pressy.” She remembered a time about four years ago when I wrestled with a similar project that required a bunch of holes to be drilled, and was suitably impressed by what an improvement the drill press was over my past efforts. She figured out that we should use a ladder and some shims to hold the main beam (the part the swings dangle from) until it could fall on my head be attached to the main tower segment.

As we started back to the main assembly I looked and became dismayed to find I only had about seven screws left in the five pound box. Even given that, we worked on the swing set until about 9:30PM. I was completely disoriented on time, and thought it was about 6:30PM. That’s the downside of doing projects in Alaska – time keeps on slipping, slipping, slipping, into the future. Why does that make me think of eagles? I digress.

Construction delayed until today, when I could once again venture into the big-box comfort of Home Despot. I got the screws, and another box of them besides, and started working as soon as I got home.

Now the swing is operable, and with only a ladder for the overhead bars and a slide to attach, we’re nearing the end of this project. That the end of this is near is very good, since I ran out of beer yesterday. No home improvement scheme should outrun its beer allotment.

Wednesday, June 07, 2006

"Soccer was invented by European ladies to play while their men did the dishes." -Hank Hill, King of the Hill

A picture of Chena Lake. Frozen. This was from about three weeks ago. I'm still figuring out what we can do with all this ice. Perhaps we can carve it and sell it to tourists. I suggest we cool beer with it.

Tonight was the night that The Boy became an athlete.

If you can call it that. It was his first soccer game. I took pictures, you can bet, but I’m not going to print them. The jerseys are distinctive, and the exploits of the innocent shouldn’t be tarnished by what I’m about to reveal.

Let me rewind. Last year we were out driving and drove by a soccer field where a bunch of kids were playing. The Boy saw the activity, and went haywire. “I WANT TO GO THERE.” He yelled a bit. He was frantic in the back of the car, like a caged wolverine surrounded by hunks of filet mignon. I think that wolverines are carnivorous, but if they aren’t, substitute in the above metaphor what a caged wolverine might find tasty. Beer?

Anyhow, when your kid goes nuts like that you feel like a horrid parent. It was too late to sign him up for soccer at that point, so I just drove on by, attempting to convince The Boy that the running and laughing kids on the soccer field were actually screaming in terror as they ran from invisible monsters that wanted to eat them. I was apparently not convincing. I was vaguely disappointed that they had soccer in Fairbanks. I had been hoping for team wood gathering.

This year the soccer signups came ‘round and we missed them again. Missing the signup date, however, just means you have to pay extra to sign your kid up, like a late credit card fee on kid fun. We signed him up anyway, and they haven’t charged interest yet. Maybe they only charge interest if he has too much fun.

The Boy practiced, and was ready for the big game. We made it to the field on time. I saw his opposition, standing at the ready, bright little four and five year old soccer storm troopers, standing in a straight line, attentive at every utterance that came from their coach. When they were warming up, they took turns kicking the ball at nearly the speed of sound into the junior-size nets from 375 yards. This wasn’t a team of five-year-olds. This was a well-oiled soccer machine.

Our team looked like attention-deficit-disorder stricken rodeo clowns. They were primarily engaged in goofing, laughing, and ignoring their coach. The Boy tried to kiss a teammate during warm-ups. At this point I should mention it's a co-ed team, and his teammate was a girl.

I thought wistfully that maybe there was still hope when the game began. There were eight kids on each side, and the game was supposed to be a four-on-four competition. The Boy wasn’t on the field to start the game, the coach (wisely I thought) keeping him in reserve so his blinding speed could tear through the opponents as they wore down.

The opening whistle sounded, and the play was on! It must have been exciting, because The Boy immediately left the sideline and began playing. Note that the coach hadn’t put him in – he’d self-selected. For a while, it was five-on-four, an unorganized and unsanctioned soccer power play. It didn’t matter, since the opposing team scored short-handed. The coach finally noticed his numerical superiority, did a quick count and pulled another kid out. The Boy’s determination to play was rewarded by . . . more playing time.

During the course of the game, The Boy:
  • put himself in the game,
  • attempted to stop the referee from running the game by bear-hugging his thigh,
  • attempted to push his coach over,
  • led a sideline insurrection by taking a ball and organizing a sideline game that bled over into the real game (stopping play), and,
  • ignored entirely the lines demarking the sides of the field, continuing to play until a fence stopped him.
The Mrs. reported that a grumpy soccer-nazi next to us was criticizing the play on the field. The play of four and five year olds. I’m thinking this was the dad of the little Beckham on the field that made the goal and then did the Riverdance for three minutes in celebration.

Since this was soccer, and not a real sport, I’m proud that The Boy was bored as hell and decided to play it his own way. That’s how rugby started – an American got bored and picked up the ball and knocked a few European guys out of the way. Soccer is boring if it isn’t your kid playing. I’m glad The Boy played. I’m glad he had fun. But, jeez, soccer dad, soccer is still just soccer.

It’s not like it’s football.

Sunday, June 04, 2006

"The sun is shining and the grass is green, under the three feet of snow, I mean." - Stan, South Park: Bigger, Longer, Uncut

Snow, glorious snow. In June. Really. By the way, The Mrs. took this photo, so don't even think of stealing it. A copyright lawyer is a scary dude, but The Mrs. has the "Mom" look. Don't go there.

I’m out and about on a Sunday, and what hits the hood of my car on June 4?

Snow. Snow flurries hit the Fairbanks area today. I’m sure that this was the tourist version of crack cocaine. They can say that they saw snow falling in June. Imagine how they’ll feel about that back in Missouri? That has to be tourist gold.

“Say, Silas, when I were in Alaska, it done snowed. In June. What do you make of that?”

“Umm, it was Alaska, you went to, right, Horace? Did you expect it to be Hawaii? Get off my lawn, you old fool. And stop calling me Silas. My name’s Ken.”

Several friends said that they had spent Saturday evening covering plants outside, since the planting chart says that you should be safe from frost on June 1. It was 25ºF last night (-273.15ºC), so if you had a nice crop of, well, some sort of vegetable and didn’t cover it, you’ll now have some frozen vegetables. Or maybe it kills the plants. I’m sort of fuzzy on all of that, since if it isn’t a mammal or fish, I’m not sure I want to eat it. I don’t trust things that grow in dirt. Worms live in dirt. The stuff that makes beer is okay; since I’m pretty sure it’s boiled first.

I started a fire yesterday afternoon as the cold front started coming through. In the spirit of more disclosure than you’d ever get from a congressman, (or is it congressperson, or congressbeing? I think it’s congressperson in Seattle. I think it’s congressbeing, or maybe even congressconsciousness in California) it was 70ºF the day before.

Given that I’d made a fire the night before, it was pretty warm in the house when I went to bed. What was fairly unusual is that there was wind that came with the cold front. The wind was fairly constant, and cooled the house through the magic of thermodynamics. Rather than our house just radiating heat, a constant supply of 25ºF air was blowing past it. This decreases the insulating value (there’s math supporting this, but if it makes you feel better, the Cold Faeries are made strong by the Wind God), but primarily results in people (very short people, like The Boy) grumbling that it was cold.

I know he has a snow suit and a parka, so there’s no real reason for him to be cold until it’s minus 25ºF in the house, unless he’s been made weak and lazy by the warm spring days.

The Boy's weather map - probably a better map of Alaska than most could draw, though it looks like the temperature is infinity in Anchorage (down south and in the middle), so there must be a volcano in the forecast. Is the weatherblob happy? I can't tell.

I think he’s just weak and lazy. If the faucets aren’t frozen, it’s not all that cold in the house.

I’m sitting now in a warm house, the crackle of a fire back behind me, The Boy deep in intent study of how to hunt a ghost, courtesy of the SciFi channel. It’s not dark out, won’t be for a few months, and, none of the snow stuck to the ground longer than it took for the Warm Earth God to kill the Cold Faeries with Earth Magic if you’re a vegan, or a Druid, or whatever (or for the heat of the sun-warmed deck to melt it, if you’re me).

It was a lovely day, though, cold or not. Except for the teeth chattering. That makes it hard to enjoy the Sunday paper. But the beer’s cold.

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