"Going where no dog has gone before." - Commander Tucker, Enterprise
The above ice sculpture commemorates Balto, who was leading a sled that took needed medicine to Nome to stop an epidemic. The annual Iditarod race is based on this real-life mission of mercy. Balto is commonly known as being a dog, but in reality was really a post-op cat that was tired of living in a cat’s body. It’s also a good one to click on for large goodness. The original is about 15’ high. The original sculpture, not the original cat. A 15' cat is just crazy talk.
We need Balto at the Wilder house now. Not that Balto would be any good if he were made of ice. We need the darn medicine.
It starts, as usual, with the grubby little kids. The Boy, being a boy, is grubby. No hand washing, poor hygiene, covered in filth, getting all manner of indeterminate substances all over, and that’s me. Imagine how much worse he is at five. I would blame the imperialist capitalist gender role imprinting that our society imposes, but, hey, I’m actually for all of that stuff. I’d much rather The Boy be Captain Kirk:
“Set phasers on ‘neuter,’ Spock, and spit on the smoking corpses when we’re done.”than Captain Picard
“Should we have a meeting before we surrender to the Fluffy Kittens of Epsilon Five, or just surrender, Number One?”Hence, The Boy is grubby, and ready to fight a Klingon, Cylon, or Shadow with his bare teeth, should one appear.
The upside is that Fairbanks is still a small community. It seems like our time of year to catch diseases is spring, not winter. Perhaps it’s because all winter long we’re huddling in our houses, wearing gloves and burning endangered species for warmth over piles of smoldering cash. Perhaps it’s that the germs freeze dry at -55ºF. When we get sick, though, everybody you know catches the same thing. It’s nice and cozy, like a family curse.
The Mrs. seems to be more or less impervious to the sickness this winter. Perhaps it’s some innate genetic superiority. She would claim that it’s because she’s the only one in the house that washes on a regular basis and eats vegetables without being strapped down, but she’s elitist that way. There are times she walks through the front room and shakes her head, saying, “Animals,” under her breath. That’s how we know she loves us.
But, she kindly nurses us all back to health. I’m not sure why. I think it’s either because:
- She cares about us and wants to have us feel better, or
- She’s tired of The New Boy crying, The Boy moaning, and me whining.
But spring brings other things in Alaska besides epidemic levels of sore throats and cranky male Wilders.
The icicles are back. For the longest part of the winter, there aren’t any icicles – the water doesn’t melt often below zero. Also, when it snows on your car, you can brush it off with little difficulty since none of that ever melted to form ice on the car. Winter in Fairbanks is not so icy. The closest for the most part is a packed snow.
The sun is also back. Since the before the equinox, we’ve had longer days than you have, unless you’re reading this from Barrow or Deadhorse. It’s a bit creepy being up at 4:45AM and seeing the beginning of sunrise, but it’s still much less creepy than applying depilatory cream to George Clooney’s back.
Outdoor activities are becoming ever more tolerable. Although it was about -10ºF this morning, there was one day so far that the thermometer (in the Sun) read 40ºF. Almost time to break out the flip-flops. I’ll do that as soon as I get some decongestant. Where is that damn Balto and his medicine?
Here kitty, kitty.