Greetings from the Northland where we do winter right!
And we do it early too. Here we are in December and the temperature outside this morning is a chilly 14 degrees below zero Fahrenheit. To put it another way, about 25 degrees colder outside in the yard than it is inside my freezer. To celebrate our state of natural frigidity someone in the family decided to air out the house last night by leave the door to the garage open all night long.
(As opposed to the garage door, which in this case refers to the big door on springs that rises magically when we punch a series of buttons on the garage wall or hit the remote. The door to the garage is that door between house and the garage behind which we pay handsomely for fossil fuels which we burn in order heat the atmosphere to comfortable and life sustaining 70 degrees. On the other side of the door, death awaits the unprepared in an unheated, uninsulated garage where the temperature is about 5 degrees warmer than it is outside.)
This morning when I got up and headed to the chambre d’contemplation I found myself startled awake by the sensation of a freezing cold commode seat on my sensitive and rather ample behinder, and I noticed my feet felt like they were in stream of ice cold water. The whole house felt nippy and on checking the downstairs thermostat I discovered that the temperature in the house was a rather brisk 45 degrees.
Following a trail of frozen carpet and steady stream of ice cold air I discovered what had happened and mutter a very firm “gee wiz”.
It was 10:00 before the house was back to a more decent and comfortable 68 degrees.
Who left the door open you ask? The usual culprit; Idon Tknow. Same guy that does every other stupid thing around here, one day I promise you I will catch him, just a matter of time.
In summary it’s cold. Not surprising give the date, our latitude (45) and our location; mid-continent. Actually the date is a little surprising, typically it’s not this cold until mid January or so.
Which begs the question; if it’s this cold in December, what will January bring? Any votes for “unseasonably warm”?
Spoke with the kid this week, he’s hard at work doing group study activities about fluid dynamics with undergraduates. This is all being done in Hebrew by the way. I am super excited to hear him have a Hebrew conversation with someone. When he was in High School after all he was about as uninterested in foreign languages as a person could be.
He went to Petra this week. I may have mentioned that I was a little anxious about that since the site is actually in Jordan. They had the week off for Hanukkah and he and some pals spent part of the time in Eliat, a small resort town on the Red Sea at the very southern tip of Israel. It’s the one place in Israel where you can stand on a beach and see three different countries; Egypt, Jordan and Saudi Arabia. From Eliat there’s a border crossing to Jordan where you can catch a cab and make the 2 hour drive up to Petra.
After the trip, when he was safely back in Israel he made a comment that he’s not interested in going crossing an Israeli Border again. I figured it had something to do with the border protocols, but I was mistaken. It had to do with an unexpected interaction with the Jordanian Police and life in third world countries. The ride from the border crossing in Eliat to Jordan, and then to Petra is about two hours. Apparently the cab he was in got pulled over somewhere along the way and all the kids were taken out of the car and questioned. No one knew any Arabic, he’s two generations away for Arabic fluency in our family which made the situation tense. It all worked out however, they were more interested in the driver than the kids, but still… a tish nerve racking.
The other issue was the way back to the border, they got chance to ride in an Third World taxi, the car they were in was on its last legs and Nate was pretty sure it was going to fall apart in the desert, that the women in their group would get sold to Bedouins for gas money and the boys would forever vanish into the wadis, never again to see Mad Men or drive Audi’s.
Thankfully that didn’t happen.
Petra is an incredible archeological site that should be on any world travelers bucket list of places to go. It’s an honest to goodness “lost city” sort of place that was off the radar of westerners until the mid-1800′s. Given the size and grandeur of the place that’s amazing to me. But, it’s also quite remote, and in a particularly inhospitable part of the planet that looks more like a scene from Dune than anything else. Water there, a very precious commodity indeed. As a matter of fact, the Nabataeons, the ancient group that built Petra had a trade going in water. They developed a very sophisticated catchment system which funneled the scarce rain water into massive cisterns. Much like the Freemen in Dune.
Anyway he was quite happy when the cab from hell pulled up to the border and he was able to cross back into the first world.
The euphoria of the Iron Bowl ended this week as something called “finals” has descended on the Campus.
Auburn’s improbable season continues after yesterday’s results; Auburn defeated Mizou in the SEC title game, quite a feat the season after one where they hadn’t won a single conference game. Michigan State knocked off Ohio State which means…. Auburn will be playing Florida State in January in the National Title game. Improbable. Crazy. No one saw that coming.
And what do you about a once in a life time opportunity for a kid to travel to Pasadena to watch his school at the Rose Bowl play for the National Championship? Crazy.
On the home front, the good thing about hosting friends every week for football is that we are enjoying a streak of great organizational and household cleanliness not seen since we last had a home on up for sale, which would have been about 1995. Cleanliness is Godliness if you ask me and with an excuse to make the place presentable every week even I can get motivated to get my fat ass off the sofa and into the cleaning mode.
Football aside the real good news from Auburn is that the kid is doing great and finals are going well. Bad news is after the end of finals next week he’s flying to San Jose to stay with Grandma for a week and then heading to Tahoe. He’ll be home the 29th of December, returning to Alabama on Jan 6 (barring something crazy like a trip to LA) He’s also informed us that it is his intention to attend summer school this year to knock of some heavy duty math and science courses, a move which has me asking “Is it me” as I sniff my armpits and look around bewildered.
According to MRs S it probably is me, apparently I have a tendency to nag and be can be difficult to get along with. Which is shocking to me frankly because if you just act the way I expect you to act, I’m a fucking peach.
Yet another example of struggle I face every day always being right.