Today is my first day off since arriving here nine days ago. Plan A for today was to do laundry and then walk to Hut Point. Plan B was to do laundry and sit in the galley writing postcards.
I went with Plan B.
For the first time since I touched down, we are at Condition Two. We’re usually at Condition Three, which means nothing too terrible weather-wise, at least relative to Antarctica.
(Have I mentioned I’m in Antarctica? Yes, I am still tickled over that fact. You’ll just have to deal with it till the luster wears off.)
Right now it’s minus 17 Fahrenheit, with a wind chill of minus 49 F and blowing snow. Technically, it’s kind of a blizzard, enough to get us to “Condition Two,” which limits some outdoor activities (like a stroll to Hut Point), but not so terrible as to take us to the tantalizing “Condition One,” at which point the station goes on lockdown and whatever building you’re in is where you’re stuck till it all blows over.
Since Hut Point was out as a destination, I decided to walk up to the post office, a few hundred feet away. And there I found… mail!! Two postcards and three letters for me, all from my friend Laura. Now, I’m not saying the rest of you are slacking, but it did make my day to get not one not two but five piece of mail. I’ve been carrying them around for the last hour, delighted to say when people ask, “why yes, yes today is my day off and yes, I did get mail.”
Now, don’t let my Condition Two guilt trip send you speeding off the post office. There are two more WinFly flights coming in from Christchurch, tomorrow and Friday, weather permitting, and then there’s nothin’, no planes, no boats, no carrier pigeons, till the end of September/begining of October. So that gives you time, ahem, to pen a letter, jot down a postcard, etc. Just sayin’.
If you missed the email/Facebook post with my address, send me a message and I’ll make sure you get it. And – this is by no means a demand – if you do feel inclined to send a care package of any kind, well, thank you, that’s sweet, but PLEASE no styrofoam packaging (including peanuts), which is banned by international treaty. As cool as it sounds to be breaking international law, I’d rather not, thanks, at least not here. It’s bad for the environment overall and can kill the penguins, seals and assorted other critters.
Also, if you do feel like sending something, please do not send anything perishable/edible/meltable/breakable since all packages get a bit roughed up and experience extreme changes in temperature on their journey to the bottom of the world.
And finally on this theme of looking a gift horse in the mouth (not that I expect you to send a gift horse… that would probably break an international treaty or two, come to think of it…), whatever you might send, please keep in mind that space is limited and we have to recycle or remove everything we bring, including packaging.
Now, if you’re thinking “Geez, what can I send?” well, the only things I can think of right now are a box of dryer sheets like Snuggle or something (the static electricity here is ridiculous) and some heavy duty hand cream. Thanks to super dry air and washing my hands forty times a day, my paws are a bit parched. The only other thing is a throw pillow. I bought two really cute ones before leaving Wisconsin but left them at the last minute as they didn’t fit in my bags and I didn’t have time to mail them to myself.
But again, don’t look at this as a thinly veiled Plea For Stuff. For all the angst I had over packing, I did pretty well in terms of bringing what I needed. After watching an episode of Ashes to Ashes (thanks for the boxed set, Tina!!), I’ve been sitting here in the computer room emailing and listening to The Boomtown Rats and Bright Eyes, more than cozy in jeans and a sweatshirt. No complaints, Condition Two or no.