The story with a picture wins though! Last Friday and Saturday, the professor went off to give a talk at the North Dakota State University in Fargo. When the professor was in graduate school, he had a wonderful lab community. His advisor, the lab technician, and the grad. students all became pretty close. It was the kind of place where I always felt welcomed and most of his fellow students were good friends and colleagues. (This was in comparison to my grad. school experience--I have only one or two people that I made relationships like that with from those days.)
One of those other grad. students became a professor at NDSU in Fargo, so the professor went off to give a lecture and visit her, her husband, and kids. Unfortunately that planned trip corresponded with a blizzard. A blizzard here on the prairies is defined as some--usually small-- amount of snow and a lot of wind, which reduces visibility and lowers temperatures drastically...fairly dangerous conditions. A blizzard in on the East Coast in the USA usually consists of heavy snow (think a foot or more...) and some wind. Also very dangerous, but different conditions altogether.
The professor made it to Fargo safely, but there were a lot of cars that went off the road entirely on his way. (It's a four hour drive) His lecture went fine, his visit with friends was good, and after he returned to his hotel, he headed outside to shoot some photos. The hotel staff said something like, "Sir? Sir? Are you sure it's a good idea for you to go out on a walk tonight?"
Apparently, the professor smiled and said "It's ok. I'm from Winnipeg. This is winter." (If you know my husband, he is KING of understatement.) The hotel staff understood he knew what the conditions were...so he went out and caught this photo of the old downtown theater in the snow. Can you feel the windchill temperatures of -30F? I think it's a gorgeous shot.
On Saturday, the highways, both in the US and Canada, were closed because of the blowing and drifting snow. After a leisurely breakfast, some shopping, and even lunch in Fargo, the roads opened and he came home again, to my relief.
What happened at home? Well, I was lucky. A friend came by on Friday to visit for a couple of hours and keep me company. I had a long distance phone call or two from family to "check" on me. On Saturday, our cheerful new dog sitter showed up on my doorstep at 9 AM in his woollies, ready to walk the dogs for me so I did not have to attempt it.
All in all, this went fine. I was nervous, I won't lie. Here I am, waddling around at 27+ weeks of pregnancy with twins, and being left alone for a while scared me. I haven't felt great-the newest problem is that my hands get tingly, numb and go to sleep because of (entirely normal) circulation problems. This hurts, and it isn't fun as someone who types and knits all the time. Little things become difficult--our recycling bin blew around in the bad weather, but I decided it was not a good idea for me to chase it down --it was very slippery--and bending over to get it seemed scary with such strong winds. What if I couldn't get up? Meanwhile, just listening to the blizzard warnings and the horrible things happening in Japan in the wake of the earthquake and tsunami left me so worried and upset I had to shut off the radio. News blackout seemed the wisest course...so I read library books and curled up with dogs on the couch.
So this post is about being lucky. I felt incredibly lucky that I had a couple of locals checking on me during bad weather and time alone. I was also grateful to have a warm house, lots of food, and safety when hearing about the terrible things happening in the world this week.
In the past, when I lived in other places, the professor has gone off on a collecting trip for his work for a week or two. During that time, I sometimes never even had one local person check on me. I sometimes was alone for the whole time with no good emergency contact nearby. I feel lucky that things are different here...but even so, I'm glad the professor is home and is not planning any more trips for the foreseeable future.
Knitting is going very slowly right now, typing doesn't feel great either, but I am still lucky. I think it might be a good week to count one's blessings.