It Was a Quick Trip Home

The best laid plans… When we booked our 2 week trip back to Alberta (from our winter abode in Arizona) we were optimistic that the brutal cold would be over by early March. It wasn’t. The last night we were in the chilly north, the wind chill temperature was -40C (-40F.)

Is wind chill something that the weather man warns you about where you live? Did you know there is a rather complicated formula for determining wind chill?

There is an equivalent formula for degrees Fahrenheit, of course.

But, we’re still old school. We don’t need a complicated formula. We look out the window and use a simple If-Then statement:

If the outdoor thermometer says it is pretty cold and the snow is drifting across the back yard and the visible chimney smoke is not going straight up then the wind chill will be greater than the temperature on the thermometer.

So yes, it was cold out. Of course we are hardy Canucks with over six decades of Alberta winters under our belts. We hauled out the really warm clothing and released The Car Guy’s truck from the garage. We were good to go.

Unfortunately, our house was not quite good to go. We live on an acreage, with our own water and septic systems. Water in – water out is our responsibility. The extreme cold, unfortunately, froze the ‘water out’ system. We hadn’t even unpacked our bags before we discovered this problem. We quickly shut down the ‘water in’ system and booked a ‘discovery meeting’ with the plumber for the next day. When ‘nature started to call’ … urgently… and the extreme cold removed the possibility that I was going to squat outside in the snow, we packed up and headed to a motel for the night. (And the next five nights…)

After several thawing attempts by the plumbers, it was decided that the most cost effective course of action for us was to let Mother Nature thaw the system in the spring, and for us to cut our visit down to 6 busy days.

Besides visits with family, we attended a High School performance of  the musical ‘Chicago’. Actually, we went twice. Our Grandson played ‘Amos’ in this production and though I don’t want to brag too much – he was really good! Did I hum along when he was singing Mr. Cellophane? You bet!

Mister Cellophane
Shoulda been my name
Mister Cellophane
‘Cause you can look right through me
Walk right by me
And never know I’m there…

The rest of the cast was awesome too – such a lot of talent in just one High School. Multiply that by all the rest of the High Schools and all the other disciplines and the young plumbers who advised us on our septic system and the lively youngsters who bounced around the motel dining room at breakfast every morning – well you can’t help but feel optimistic about the future of our Province!

19 thoughts on “It Was a Quick Trip Home

  1. Oh my, that does NOT sound fun to me! Here in SC our issues appear in the summer when the temps climb and the AC does not LOL. I’ll take that over frozen plumbing any time 🙂


    1. To be honest, I think it is easier to dress for the cold than it is to dress for the heat. You can always add another layer for warmth, but you can only remove so many layers…
      Plumbing is another matter, alas…

      Liked by 1 person

    1. Thanks Dor. To be honest, though, it took a day to come to terms with a new reality and the loss of expectations…


  2. I never worried about the wind chill formula either Margy and yes we have wind chill. I kind of figure when you step outside, your breath gets sucked aways and your face hurts…then you have some serious wind chill going on!
    How fun you were able to watch your grandson be a star!!


    1. Some people just don’t know what it means when your face hurts – lucky them.

      Watching my grandson perform was just the best. It reminded me of the many times we attended school concerts when our kids were little, except we were watching ‘Amos’ sing, instead of a dancing fairy or instruments being played with enthusiasm but not quite enough practice…

      Liked by 1 person

  3. Call me crazy but this Vancouver resident misses wind chill. I’m colder in 2 degree Celsius Vancouver rain than -25 prairie mornings with wind chill of -35. I make a point of visiting family in Saskatchewan during winter. Below -20 wind chill doesn’t matter – it’s cold, exposed skin suffers, self preservation kicks in and mastery of the elements delivers a sense of personal accomplishment.


    1. It’s the humidity, isn’t it!? We felt the same way when we lived in England where it took 2 days to warm the house up.

      I adore Alberta’s natural gas forced air heating….

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Humidity makes a 5 C rain feel like -15, talk about chilled to the bone! In my early 20s I spent a winter in Grande Prairie, Alberta. A first encounter with -40 (before wind chill) wasn’t that bad.Truth is it felt much like -20, in the prairies cold is cold, all you have to do is dress for it.

        There was a lot of talk about wind chill, but nothing prepared me for delightful weather related phenomena. I can’t explain the science of square bottom tires with any authority, but can tell you when temperatures dipped below -40 car tires froze in a flat line along the ground. Thunk, thunk, thunk serenaded the first few kilometres of driving until tires warmed up enough to regain their shape. Ice fog and snow rollers rocked my world. I wrote a post about it –


        1. Yes, I remember your post. We lived in Grande Prairie for a while too, but for us it was simply more of the same weather we already knew, but without the influence of the Rockies. Yes, our tires froze flat last week and when -40 warmed to -20, it felt quite balmy in comparison!

          Liked by 1 person

  4. Frozen water is always a risk for us northerners. I guess on the positive side, the frozen pipes did not result in flooding in your home. Hope things are back to normal soon.


    1. Fortunately, the ‘water in’ pipes are buried deep and even if they did freeze, they come from a well. With the pump turned off, water really can’t flow up hill under any circumstance!

      Liked by 1 person

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