The official First Day

30 Sep

I woke up as planned with Talie and we headed to the Gerbil Gym at 5am (yes, I am nuts!)  It wasn’t too cold out again, about 5 degrees below 0.  I keep thinking it should be colder, but I am not complaining. 

At the Gerbil Gym, there were only a few others there, so I was able to use the equipment that I wanted to.  It’s a small room with the cardio equipment and a separate room for stretching, light weights, etc.  For cardio, there are 5 treadmills, 4 eliptical machines, 3 rowing machines, four bikes, a stair climber, some and some exercise balls.  I hear that the Weight room has a greater selection of weights and machinary for lifting.  I will venture to that venue at a later time!  Let’s not get ahead of ourselves just yet.

Talie and I met up with Linda and after our nice workout, Linda and I headed to breakfast and Talie had to get ready for work.  Most of the community works 730-530 with the expection of a few departments; food service and the fire department have different hours. 

Regarding the food, there was a great variety, but I am still trying to figure out how to eat well while still getting all of the proper nutrients I need.  It’s going to be an ongoing challenge!  I was pretty impressed that there was soy milk offered as well as fruit (it was canned, but it must still have some vitamins left in there, right?). 

I headed back to my room and took one of the BEST showers I could have imagined I would take here.  I was a bit apprehensive keeping in mind where I was, but the water was so hot, I had to turn on the cold before I got burned.  It was a great welcome shower to Antarctica and I know I would be okay here!

After cleaning up and getting ready (dress code was very casual: jeans and a sweatshirt), it was time for Orientation to continue.  We recieved a general safety lecture about how to avoid getting hurt and then it happened; we got our first introduction to the Recycling program here.  I knew my job would be overwhelming, but I think the hardest part of being down here is going to be recycling.  This was out of control! 

There are over 10 different types of recycling; everywhere!  There’s not just TRASH.  There’s a bin for each of the following: paper towels, mixed paper (copy paper, notebook paper, receipts, etc.), food waste (including any wrappers with food still on there), glass, aluminum cans, tin cans (the big 10# cans from the kitchen) plastic, recyclable plastic (number 1 or 2 on the bottom), biohazard (anything with body fluids or chemicals), construction debris, and non-recyclables (everything that can’t fit in the others AKA burnables in the past years).  I am sure there are some I am forgetting, but you get the hint!  You must put your trash in the correct bin or there are BIG issues.  Rumos has it that the people at the waste plant come and beat you or something!  Not realizing the depth of my choice, I made the decision to have some tea during our morning break.  After making the tea and drinking it, I couldn’t figure out where to put the tea bag or the wrapper, so I wrapped it in paper toweling, put it in my pocket, and took it back to my room with hopes to ask Talie later where it goes!  This was going to be the hardest part of being down here!  There was not much time to dwell on my recycling issues, now labeled as being a P-TRD.  It’s pronounced Pee-Tard (Post Traumatic Recycling Disorder), and I figured I could get counseling at a later time! 


At this time, we were alerted to the fact that the weather has become a Condition 1 (aka DEFCON 1)  The way the weather works here is Condition 3, 2 or 1.  There are placards posted everywhere that will identify the condition of the weather.  It can change drastically from minute to minute and you need to be aware of what’s happening outside.  Condition 3 is normal weather; good visability, average temps, little if any wind, etc.  Condition 2 is limited visibility, colder and windier.  During condition 2, you are suggested to stay put, but not required.  Movement is limited to work related necessities.  Condition 1 is no visibility, too cold to be outside and you are NOT allowed to leave the building you are currently in; your work center, the galley, general hospital, etc. 

So, we found out we were now in Condition 1.  It was the first time this had happened all winter long.  It was very strange.  We couldn’t leave the building, but that’s all I seemed to want to do!  Ironic, hugh?   I kind of felt like a trapped animal.  I can empathize with the students I used to work with better.  Since we couldn’t go outside and check out the community, Linda and I walked around and checked out the building.  It was a nice self guided tour.  We dined on the fabulous food (any food that I don’t have to prepare is fabulous, usually!)  We saw that there was a ‘light vehicle training’ after lunch so we decided to be adventurous (you never know when you will need to drive a vehicle down here) and participate in the training.  Besides, what else could we have done?  The rest of the afternoon was supervisor training and we got to meet and chat with some of the other NANA supervisors.  We had a great time!  There are some really great people down here.  It’s going to be a fun 6 months!

We decided to eat family meal with the PM crew and learned more about this exciting adventure we had just entered.  The winter over kitchen staff are really funny people and I am constantly learning from them!  Still feeling adventurous, Linda and I headed to SKUA.  SKUA is the location I like to call the Free Goodwill.  Please can donate their unwanted items (food, clothing, shoes, room decor, bedding, tolietries, etc.) to SKUA and others that are looking for stuff can go shopping.  Since I felt that I need to experience this first hand, we took a trip there.  It wasn’t far, but it was dark and we didn’t really know where we were headed.  We got some guidance from other passerby’s and headed in.  It’s a very small room with shelves filled with people’s belongings and anything you could imagine to find at Goodwill.  It was so full that you couldn’t even seem the floor beyond the door.  Part of me would like to clean and organize it, but I knew that’s not what I was being paid to do here.  Maybe another time perhaps!  (My OCD kicking in again!)  We found a few good items that would enhance our time here and figured they would add to our room decor when we finally moved in.  I found a few pieces of pottery, a little battleship game (very nastalgic!), and a few other odds and ends!

From SKUA, we headed to check out the library.  Since there is still a skelton crew here, it wasn’t open yet and we headed.  We reviewed the library map, and made an assumption that we would have to return.  It appeared from the map to be very nice inside.  We headed to Linda’s temporary housing in Building 155 (The freshman dorm),  I definitely got the better deal.  She has a much older room that has two bunked beds, lots of other random furniture and found a nice adult magazine in the desk drawer.  I have determined that I will stay away from the desk until it’s cleaned and sanitized!  After some chatting about our day, I retired to my penthouse suite (with the ocean view).  It had been a great first day and I am looking forward to this experience!


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