Wednesday, December 31, 2008

WAIS - Dec 31, 2008 - Renin

Name: Renin Oliver

Date: 12/31/08
Location: WAIS Divide Kitchen
Time: 9:00 am
Latitude: 79° 28’ 1.2” S
Longitude: 112° 5’ 6.0” W
Elevation: 1,759 m
Borehole depth: 900 m
Temperature: -16 °C (3.2 °F)
Wind speed: 8 km/h (5 mp/h)
Visibility: unrestricted
Clouds: mostly cloudy
Wind direction: N
Precipitation: none
Animals: human
Breakfast: scrambled eggs, bacon, oatmeal
Lunch: stuffed shells, tortellini
Supper: assorted appetizers (sushi, foie gras, deviled eggs, smoked salmon, cheeses, dips); crab legs, beef tenderloin

Welcome to the kitchen at WAIS Divide! It's the last day of 2008 and we've got quite the dinner planned for everyone tonight. Before I get ahead of myself, I should introduce myself. My name is Renin Oliver and I am the night cook/baker. I feed Tim and others a midnight meal (midnight rations or mid-rats) at the end of their shift, and then also I make breakfast for all of camp. In between I outfit everyone with cookies and fresh bread for the day, stock the snack shelf (nick-named 7-Eleven for how much stuff we have), and make the beverages for the day (grind the coffee, make the powdered milk, and the juice/gatorade/Raro (New Zealand kool-aid). As I work the night shift I normally am not awake for lunch, and barely wake up for dinner – but tonight's different! We have a great spread of food to send us into 2009!

Everyone get off early, around 3pm today, and that's when the appetizers and party begin! As it's a special day some people dress up, or just put on a clean shirt. I will wear the same thing I've worn for the last two holidays we've celebrated here, but it's just nice to not wear my kitchen clothes for a change. It will also be a great time to see everyone at camp at the same time, since right now there are shifts working around the clock, we sometimes don't see each other (even though there are only ~50 of us or so) for days on end!

This will be the first New Year's for many of us to celebrate it in the light. The dining area (aka galley) has skylights which can be covered, so it's at least a bit darker when we eat dinner and have our party. The arch has a nice stereo that will likely be brought down, so there will be a lot of music and fun to be had! Normally around midnight on New Year's Eve I have the TV on, showing the ball drop in Times Square, and do the countdown that way, so this year should be interesting. Everyone's watches are set differently, so we may just be jumping around celebrating 2009 for 5 minutes to cover all our bases. I don't know how many people will chicken out and go to sleep before midnight, as our days are long and people tend to sleep earlier here – but there will definitely be enough people to stay up and party into the new year.

Since I work the night shift, I'm used to sleeping at 9am and spending the whole night hanging out in the kitchen. Surprisingly enough I'm not by myself very often, as people on the night shift stop by for a snack, or others getting off their shift hang out and play cards in the galley – so it's definitely not very lonely. I think for tonight the weirdest thing for me (besides celebrating New Year's in the daylight) is to have so many people awake at the same time as me.

Other than that, I should get to bed so I can wake up in time for appetizers and the party, and a yummy dinner at 6pm!!!!

Happy New Year to everyone who will celebrate it in the dark!



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