Jan. 12, 2014 30.2′ WC 26′

Good morn…er, evening.

Welcome to my lazy Sunday evening.  As I have described before, the night crew work begins on Sunday evening.  This is my first time starting the week at night, and I think I like it.  It is very quiet here.  The majority of the work was wrapped up on Friday and Saturday.  Only three or four trucks in the bays needing filters or whatchamakalitz for their regular maintenance.  We are scratching our collective head about a certain filter that is not coming up in the computer inventory.  We can’t even find a substitute for it.  One of our mechanics will have to work a little magic to get this filter replaced, but for now I am going through parts books for the third time hoping we can do this without calling on Harry Potter to bail us out.

The three warehouses and two exterior storage tanks (retired fuel tanks) seem to have an enormous capacity, but when you are out of one particular piece it is a maddeningly small facility.  There is always a sense of despair  that follows telling my friends that I can’t help them…but if the part is not here, there is nothing I can do about it.  Fill out the correct paperwork, and wait for the next plane to bring it in.  We just have to hope that somewhere in all of New Zealand there is a NAPA parts store open 24/7.  I know it’s not likely, but it’s worth a prayer.  We have been hugely successful when you look at the percentages of successful repairs over missing parts, but it is always the losses you remember.  Ask any coach in the NFL.

Speaking of which, I have been able to follow the play-offs down here.  Most of what I see are the replayed games late at night.  All the action but a lot fewer commercials.   I see that the Broncos will be facing the Chargers next.  And of course the Patriots have scratched and clawed their way into the next round.  Never would I have thought that a Tom Brady led team would win a game with six touchdowns by the running the ball: None by the pass.  They will be the team to beat.  I hope that John Fox has some very good ideas for stiffening our defense.  I think our Peyton Manning will need a three digit scoreboard eventually, but can we prevent the other guys from putting up the big numbers?  That too is worth a praying for.

It’s snowing today:  Very heavy low hanging clouds, and a visibility that is deceptive.  That shouldn’t surprise anyone, as this is Antarctica.  But it surprised me.  We have had such good weather since I got here that I honestly thought I might not see any snow this season.  It is just a gentle flurry that has lasted most of the day.  This is the first time I’ve seen the Base covered in snow.  It gives a kind of eerie foreboding of what this place becomes when winter really gets here.  I have in fact, been invited to stay on with the company as member of the winter-over team.  That was flattering, but not really what I had planned.  There is no way I could handle this environment in the black of night for 6 or 8 months.  I know that the average temperatures here on the coast of Antarctica are not as bad as those at the South Pole itself, but the winds coming off the open sea make everything feel so much worse.  I think I will take my Rocky Mountain winters and be happy at home.  And that is worth a thankful prayer too.

Have a good day.

Tim

Observation Hill with a dusting of snow Jan. 14, 2014

Observation Hill with a dusting of snow Jan. 12, 2014

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