Sunday, November 9, 2008

Freeze-up is in effect!

Just to get this out there: The main reason I'm feeling the need for an update is that if I die in a horrific ice-falling off my roof and killing me so that the end result is a comedic ball of arms and legs sticking out of a giant snow bank, I don't want the final post of my blog being me jumping on hotel beds with my shirt off in Yellowknife. I think that's a pretty reasonable desire. My fears are very real given my experiences in the past...
and now that I think about it...the snow and ice on the roof outside my door has been looking more hostile...

So anyway, as the post title suggests, the ferry has been out at the Liard River for a bit over a week, so freeze up is on! For those not in the know, you should be ashamed. But don't beat yourself up, Alex is here to help pull you out of your miserable days of ignorance! Freezeup is basically (well, essentially, well, completely) the time each Fall in the north when it gets colder and enough ice starts forming on the rivers that the ferries can't continue, but the ice isn't thick enough to allow for an ice road/crossing. What does it all mean? Empty shelves, high prices, and social gatherings to the extreme! In my almost 2 years in the north, I'd have to say that freeze-up and break-up are some of my favourite times. From what I've seen, Fort Simpson doesn't seem quite as isolated during freeze-up as McPhoo did. I guess that could be attributed to daily flights (sans Sundays of course. I assume the hands of God that give planes the privilege of flight is also resting on Sundays) in Simpson.
Back to the point: I've been coping well enough with the disadvantages so far, although I am still just a taaaaaad peeved at having to resort to shitastic Wonder Bread as the Northern has been out of my beloved Country Harvest Whole Grain Bread for the past week or so. As for the higher prices, I'm sure I've mentioned this before on here, or at least to other people new to the north...DON'T LOOK AT THE PRICES! You'll go nuts if you try to pinch pennies. It sounds careless, but seriously, as long as you don't go trying to buy the ridiculous items (aka the $25 watermelons) you should be alright. On a side note, I am royally pissed that the Nahanni Restaurant (one of the 2 places to eat out in Simpson) has raised the prices on a can of pop AGAIN, this time to $2.60. Are you fucking kidding me!? (Nahanni: "Why yes you little shit, I am quite serious. Bend over and pay up! Also, have you tried my $11 grilled cheese sandwich?")

Annnnnnd on to the positives. The social atmosphere has been amazing for the past couple of weeks as everyone hunkers down and parties until the ice road is in. Last weekend, Halloween, was the scene of a couple of great parties and a big night at the bar where just about everyone in attendance was in full costume. There may even be a few pictures floating around out there of me decked out in a spandex suit with modified 2L pop bottled harnessed to my back. I was supposed to be Steve Zissou, but everyone retitled me as "Scuba Steve" so I stuck with that.
Yesterday was the Inaugural Birthday Hockey Tournament for a guy in town, which was insanely awesome. He lives right in the middle of town and the street was completely blocked off with boards for an all day street hockey tournament. See here you:

He also opened up his house and had tons of beer, coffee, hot dogs, cake, and even a P.A. system setup! Good times indeed.

We also had a solid week of straight snow here, which has covered the island nicely. Sadie has hardly been able to contain herself!

Believe it or not, I have taken notice of the beauty all around me during the past couple of weeks as well. No no, you're right, I am still the epitome of masculinity and brute strength, but I do have a sentimental side. I apologize for the frozen tears that may or may not be on any of the pictures. Anyway, before I get completely weepy, I'll just post the pictures:

Otherwise life has been fun: work is busy (North-busy mind you. For those who know, it's completely different from actually being busy), and I've been eying up the calendar a bit for my trip home at xmas. It'll be my first time home in almost a year! I can't wait to show my parents how much I've grown! ooh ooh and then I want to jump off the really really high diving board and make sure they're watching!
This is all in addition to the regular duties of coaching the bball team and taking Sadie snowshoeing whenever possible.

What's everyone else up to? Shucks, here I've been spending the last few hundred words just talking about myself.


Mongoose said...

Oh, that lilac sky one is just gorgeous.

I ran the mail truck from Hay River to Fort Simpson one year and the last load before the river closed, I had ten pallets of booze on the truck. Seriously. That's pretty much all the available space, just leaves enough room for the mail. So yeah, it should be feeling social.

And I don't know if you know this, but when the river is closed you do have a helicopter shuttle carrying freight across the river. The only thing is that it's obviously very expensive, so mostly the mail uses it, however, I have put a load of chips on the helicopter (well, under the helicopter) before.

Alex said...

thanks! Despite only having a few hours of daylight it's almost worth it because of the constant beautiful twilight skies.

As for the helicopter it is just a bit pricey. Last time I checked I think it's about $350 to get across with one bag. But apparently through my work I can get 40% off so I'm actually considering it...mainly so I can get to be in a helicopter!

Megan said...

When you put it that way, $200 for a ride in a helicopter might be worth it. I think that's basically what the tour companies charge, isn't it?

Anonymous said...

I did not know there was a term for this time of the year. I thought it was just being shit out of luck if you wanted to drive out. Those food prices are very high (like a pothead on 4/20). Have you seen Homer Simpson in Fort Simpson?