Tuesday, March 2, 2010

Starting to get serious...

Now we're starting to get serious about cold.  We have our first winter storm coming in today and the meteorologist says it should last for three or four days.  It will have overcast skies, high winds, blowing snow and very cold windchills.  I have had to boost my cold weather gear by another layer and have started using hand and toe warmers when I go out and the storm hasn't even started yet.  Right now it is -56 with a 13 kt wind.  Luckily I don't have to go out until later today and then it is just to walk about a quarter mile to a heated building to do some work.

Around the station the winterization activities are winding down and station life should get into its winter groove pretty soon.  Everyone has been assigned various duties over the past two weeks like replacing bedding in the remote living areas so the summer crew will have clean bedding when they arrive next October.  This year's summer people left the areas in a shambles and we have had lots of extra work cleaning and removing junk from all the jameways before turning off the heat.  Jamesways are heated quonset type buildings that have been partitioned into 16 or so sleeping rooms, each with a bed, a desk and a place to hang clothes.  They are pretty primitive but a lot of people like them.

Yesterday I spent a couple of hours replacing blankets, quilts and sheets in the jamesway I had been assigned to clean, so it is now complete.  You wouldn't think it would take two hours to throw  some bedding on top of a few mattresses, but things can be kind of slow here when it is so cold.  Last week a friend and I had cleaned the building and removed all the junk so with the clean bedding it is now ready to shut down.  Later today four of us have to start on a building called the Ice Palace which contains public showers , restrooms and laundry that I have heard was left in terrible condition.  At least that building will be heated.  Of course we still have to walk through the storm to get back and forth.

I'll be glad when all the cleaning up after the summer people is over.


Fern Emma said...

I am surprised that people residing at the Pole would leave things so messy and "in shambles". I had supposed that those who choose to live and work there for a time would be very eco-conscious, including cleaning up their own nests.

C. Reaves said...

Fern Emma, everyone is required to spend some of their time keeping public areas clean and to clean up their rooms when they leave, but during the summer there are a lot of people here who seem to think their mother is around and still cleaning up after them. Sad but true.

To defend them a bit the station did close three days early and caught 60 of them by surprise, but there was still plenty of time to get rid of junk and take out the trash rather than having farewell parties.

The particularly bad way the jamesways were left this year raised the ire of station management, so I think there may be more controls and checking next year. Some people just need in loco parentis longer than others.

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