Tuesday, December 26, 2017

Christmas 2017

As I write this it has now come and gone.... but Christmas 2017 was pretty good...!   It was looking as though it might be a brown Christmas but at the last minute, mother nature came through and gave us a little snow.  On December 23rd Hailey and I decided to load up the new snowmobile and head out to Nordegg.  Rumor had it that nearly a foot of snow had fallen out there...!  After loading up and hitting the road we quickly discovered that the "road" was coated with a layer of black ice.  We encountered a couple of accidents on Highway 2 before we even made it as far as the airport.  By the time we passed Leduc, the road conditions improved.  We turned off the QE2 at the Highway 13 overpass... our usual route to Nordegg.  It seems that the snowplows gave up after the turnoff to Pigeon Lake Provincial Park.  We passed through the Battle River Valley and road conditions were not great.  By the time we crested the hill and made our way as far as the Yeoford corner, things had really deteriorated.  The highway was snow covered and driving was a challenge.  We decided to give up on our plan, but pulled over and unloaded the new snowmobile.  When we got out of the truck we quickly discovered that the trailer and the new snowmobile were covered with a layer of salty and and sandy slush, about 2 inches thick.  We wiped this off, unloaded the Ski-Doo, and tried to go for a ride.  The snow appeared deep at about four inches, but it was very loose an fluffy.  Riding on the road was impossible as we found ourselves grinding along on the gravel.  We attempted to negotiate the ditch, but quickly rolled the sled over on its side.  Obviously I'm out of practice... and a passenger on the back makes balance more challenging.  After straining my back and eventually getting the machine upright we crossed the highway and tried to ride on the more favourable ditch on the other side.  We opened up the machine a little and negotiated the ditch for a stretch of about a quarter mile.  Then we loaded it back up and reluctantly made our way back home.  When we got back to the shop We unhitched the trailer in the shop.  I managed to hyper extend my elbow trying to push the trailer back into the shop.  Sure hope it heals in time for the upcoming Christmas hockey tournament.  We used the pressure washer at the shop to rinse off all the salt and sand and slush and left things to dry.
On the afternoon of Christmas Eve we headed over to my Mom's place for our annual family Christmas dinner.  My brothers and their families were already there when the girls and I arrived at about 3:00pm.  It was an enjoyable evening with a big turkey dinner, followed by a gift exchange between our kids... the "cousins"... and then the annual "white elephant" gift exchange...
Everyone in attendance brings a wrapped but unmarked gift.  The idea is that this is supposed to be something that you re-gift, or no longer want, or just find lying around at home.  Everyone draws a number and when it is your turn you either choose a gift from the pile, or choose something that someone else has already unwrapped.  Every year some gifts prove very desirable, and change hands numerous times, while others are not so popular.  Once everything had settled out, we eventually said our good-nights and headed for home.
Then on Christmas Day, we got up early and had our family gift opening.  Margarit and I bought a turntable, some LP's and some headphones for eldest daughter Hailey.  Middle daughter Anna got an acoustic guitar, with the promise of lessons to start in January.  Youngest daughter Helena got an iPhone, so that she could finally keep up with her older sisters.  Margarit and I don't buy gifts for each other.  The girls bought me an acoustic guitar this year... a pleasant surprise...!!  The lessons that we signed Anna up for are a family lesson that I will take with her.  It was my intention to buy myself a new guitar after the holidays.... but the girls beat me to it.
Later that evening Margarit's family came over for Christmas dinner.  Her brother and his family came to visit, as did her Mom, and we tried to put a dent into the menu that was presented.  Unfortunately Shawn's daughter Bethany and her boyfriend we unable to make it so we ended up with a lot of extra food.  
The mild weather that we have experienced in recent weeks just came to an end.  Just in time for Christmas we got a little snow, but also a plunge into arctic temperatures.  Christmas Eve wasn't too bad but by Christmas Day the temperature dropped down into the -20's.  Overnight on Christmas Day it got down to around -30C.   
Boxing Day was pretty laid back and relaxed.  With the unexpected plunge into cold temperatures I neglected to plug in my truck.  On Boxinig Day it would not start.  So, I plugged it in for while and stayed home and watched the world Junior Hockey Championship while the girls when out shopping.  Later in the evening, when my truck would finally start, Hailey and I went over to the shop and started on building the doors for the cottage.  Then later in the evening, after we got home, I hit the darkroom and processed some film....
Not quite sure what the girls have on the agenda for tomorrow but I have to play two games in the Christmas Hockey Tournament with my team, out at the River Cree Casino.  The forecast is for the weather to stay cold for a few days.  Hopefully by the time my team gets eliminated from the tournament, the weather improves and we can get outside to do some stuff...!!

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