Weekends...

I've talked about what work days are like, but I thought I'd explain how weekends work down here too. Most of the time we work 6 days a week, and have Sunday off. Every once in a while, about once a month or so, we'll have a 2 day weekend.

On Saturday we'll work our normal jobs for half of the day. After lunch, we clean up our offices and work spaces and then head to the galley around 2pm for the weekly station meeting. At the station meeting there is a recap of the week, a look at what's up for the next week, news from around Antarctica, and "gentle reminders." Gentle reminders are where anybody can bring up anything that they think might need to get done or changed, things that are bugging them, etc. It's a good way to keep resentments from popping up in our small and isolated community.

At the end of the station meeting, we all draw a slip of paper out of a bucket with our job for "house mouse", which is the weekly deep cleaning of the station. Chuck Amsler did a great blog post on house mouse and GASHing on the UAB Antarctica page. House mouse lasts for about an hour and a half, and then you're done for the day. After a swing by the store. The store is open twice a week, after house mouse on Saturday, and at the end of the work day on Wed. The store is pretty minimal, but has all the things you need to get by: Antarctica schwag, toiletries, alcohol, candy and soda, things like that.

At 5:30 on Saturday somebody usually takes a turn hosting a cocktail hour, usually with a theme, and then the chef cooks a special over the top dinner for us. I say usually, but there are exceptions to this tradition. If it's somebody's birthday, or somebody wants to throw a party, the party usually starts at the 5:30 cocktail hour, goes through dinner, and sometimes long into the night. Then we have Sunday off to ourselves


It's really difficult to explain just how hard people will work down here to throw a good party or play a really excellent prank. I'm going to use Steve our cargo persons birthday party as an example. Steve loves this show called "LetterKenney", which is this totally sophomoric, rude and crude comedy show about a Canadian farm town. And it's totally addicting I'm embarrassed to say-it cracks me up! Anyway, one of the first episodes is about a super soft birthday party, and it's hilarious. And a super soft birthday party for Steve it was. Invites and posters (above and below) were printed up and distributed around station and all the tables in the galley. All the references in them are from that episode, and it was all there-the drinks, the unicorns, the cupcake station, the hat station, everything. We also ran that episode in a loop on the galley big screen that usually has weather and announcements on it so that those that hadn't seen it were in the know about the party. Oh, and the chef made us an amazing dinner as usual.


I think the best way to explain this party is in pictures, so here we go...

The birthday boy, second from left, in his tiara
Thomas, a French scientist who is at the University of Oregon now, doing his impression of a French guy
Ken, our winterover station manager pretending to be grumpy because station managing is serious business



Steve with the unicorn ice sculpture that Rick our carpenter made for him


Hannah and Thomas
Hannah and Rick who did the unicorn in ice
Balloon twisting
Me with my pink locks and lemon gingerini
Birthday boy and Josh

Henrik, a Danish scientist. Dinner was coleslaw, potato salad, poblano corn bread, corn on the cob, BBQ chicken, grilled flank steak, and lots of stuff for the vegetarians-yum!

Steve, Hannah, and Andrew at the cupcake making station
Maggie and Sabrina at the hat making station
Juliette, another French scientist; but from Paris, not U of Oregon
Unicorn ice sculpture and luge

One last little explanation. Gus n' Bru is from LetterKenney and they made labels for any bottle that showed up at the party. The ice sculpture also has what is called a "luge" carved into it. Luge as in the Olympic sled course. Ice luges I'm finding, are an Antarctic tradition. This one starts where the horn is, and twists and turns through the head to the mouth of the unicorn. People put their mouth down at the mouth of the unicorn and then they pour a shot of something in the hole at the horn. It flows down the luge course and comes out chilled at the mouth for whoever is there. Luge is definitely a sport for young people ;-)

So yeah, that's a fairly typical Antarctic weekend. If we have a 2 day weekend, we just shift the Saturday schedule to Friday and have 2 days off.

Comments

  1. Hi, Kevin, it's Rebecca Morris from Boulder Friends. I thought I added a comment once before, but I can't find that it ever posted. In any case, hello from Boulder - we miss you at Meeting. It's been very hot here - in the mid to upper 90s and one day over 100- but of course that is completely upside-down of what you've been experiencing - so you'd probably like it for a day or two at least. Today, for the first time in weeks, it is barely 70 degrees and thunderstorms are expected. We really need the rain. Thanks for sharing your Antarctic adventures. Sounds like a good group there - and the experience of a lifetime for you.

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