Thursday, January 24, 2013

Winter camping. Seriously?!

Every once in a while I think it might be nice to live in San Diego, a nice 70 degrees year round.  Right about now that sounds pretty nice . . . as opposed to the -2 it's been getting down to at night around here.  I was talking to my sister about winter in Maine, and she said that she would like to move to Hawaii, Australia, or Texas.  I happen to agree with a friend who once said that no one should live in Texas, but Hawaii or Australia would be okay with me.

I try very hard not to complain about the winter weather here in Maine.  After all, I did (sort of) choose to live here.  I went away to college and then came back, so I guess the blame can't rest solely on my parents.

But seriously, it is so freaking cold right now.

So of course it is the perfect time to go camping in the White Mountains.  Which is what I am doing tomorrow, in fact.  That's right, I am headed to the White Mountains with my disaster relief group, to train in "austere conditions."

I have been to this winter training a couple of times, but this is my first time going since the kids arrived. I'm actually looking forward to it as a vacation of sorts.  A vacation where I freeze my butt off, hike around the mountain in snowshoes, and don't get any spa treatments whatsoever.  Maybe I should re-think the word "vacation."

The first time I went to winter training I was the newbie on the team, and wanted to make sure I made a good impression.  During one of our training sessions, the lecturer decided to let us get a first-hand knowledge of how quickly we would lose dexterity in the cold if we didn't dress appropriately.  Out came a 10-gallon bucket of ice water.  One by one we each got hooked up to a heart monitor and took turns feeling around in the bottom of the bucket for some object . . . a key, I think.  I don't remember how long we were supposed to keep our hands in the bucket, perhaps two minutes?

I had a terrible cold at the time, but as I said, I wanted to make a good impression.  So of course when they gave me the option to skip the exercise I said I wanted to try it.  And it went fine.  I was super tough when I put my hands in the icy water (I am woman, hear me ROAR!) and found the object at the bottom quickly.

Then I took my arms out of the water, and all of the blood in my brain decided to exit because my arms needed it more.  My team leader looked at me from across the room and asked if I felt okay, and from a distance I could hear myself saying that I felt a little funny.  All of a sudden my team moved into action . . . my feet were swung up onto the couch so that I was lying down, blood pressure cuff and sleeping bag on.  My first introduction to the fact that my teammates are all top notch medical professionals.

But seriously?!  How embarrassing!  I like to think I made up for that incident the last time I went to winter training and was 18 weeks pregnant with Sophia.  I didn't go sticking my arms in ice buckets, but I did hike up the mountain with everyone and sleep in the cabin at the top.  Although the knowledge that there were mice and voles running around meant that I didn't really sleep so much doze off and on, huddled in my sleeping bag with the top pulled as tight as I could, just my nose and mouth sticking out to breathe.  I kept imagining that a little rodent was just waiting for it's chance to jump in my bag and nibble my toes.  Why it wouldn't just nibble a hole in the bottom and nibble my toes from there I'm not sure . . . I just knew one smart little guy was watching and waiting.

I am hoping not to make any little rodent friends this weekend, perhaps a circle of mouse traps around my bunk?  I know you will all be waiting with baited breath for my report upon my return . . . wish me luck and keep me in your prayers!  I will be back late Sunday night, so John will be putting up my blog posts for me this weekend.  Hasta la vista, baby!


Don't forget, the drawing for my bag giveaway will be February 1st.  All my followers will automatically be entered to win . . . scroll down to the "Followers" section on the right hand side and click on "Join this site."  Follow the instructions, and you just might win the bag!


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