Sunday, September 26, 2010

Changes: Temperature and Mood

What a difference 12 hours makes.  From -96F yesterday at 3 pm the temperature rose to -44F at 3 am this morning.  That was a temperature change of +52 degrees.  That’s pretty impressive anywhere.  At my house that would be like going from 32F at 6am to 84F at  6pm.  The reason for this sudden warmth was a storm that approached Pole from Grid 316, which is very rare (Grid 0 is toward Greenwich).  So we have what we call “west” winds. There are clouds and ice fog here that are acting like a blanket to keep temperatures high near the ice.  But our meteorologist says things will be back to normal in a couple of days with temps in the -80’s.

The sunrise has made a lot of difference in everyone’s outlook here, and not always for the better.  After a brief lift in mood the sun gave us, everyone seems to be in a downward mood swing, including myself.  The theory here is that when the sun comes up people start thinking it is time to go home when in fact we have six to seven weeks left.  Some people even started packing with the sunrise.  I have to admit to being easily annoyed by people over the past week or two.  I will sit next to someone in the galley and they will start talking about the same topic they have been talking about for the last six months and it is like the air is deflated from the table.  You realize you made a mistake by sitting there but you are trapped.  You can’t just get up and move to another table because that would be obvious and rude.  So I find myself taking the safe route and sitting by myself more and more during meals.  Yesterday I was talking to someone at 6 am in the galley and when I sat down to dinner at 5 pm the person was saying exactly the same thing.  You have no idea how irritating and annoying that can be after being here for 8 months.

Low temperatures over the last two weeks (near -100F) has kept us from doing a lot of station opening tasks we had scheduled – so we are behind.  With only 2 ½ weeks before the first Basler flight we need to get out there and start shoveling snow so we can re-heat the buildings.  The engineering and maintenance group had opened several buildings last week and started the furnaces in them, but the extreme cold of -98F over the weekend gelled all the fuel so the furnaces shut off.  All those buildings now have to be heated all over again, starting with portable heating units that warm the buildings enough to start the furnaces.

So this week I will start shoveling out the doorways and furnace units to the three buildings I have been assigned.  But if we have another storm over the next few weeks I will have to shovel them again.  I hope not.


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