It’s  unseasonably warm here, I am so not complaining, especially today when the Big, Red, Intimidating, not-out-of-order Machine decides to be out of order. We are waiting for the amazing wizard to come and fix her. I hope he can fix her. Next week we get back to our regular programming & drop back into the minus numbers. Plus, I hate cold showers.

Last night, in all the unseasonably warm weather, we had a fantabulous Frosty Fest on post. Out here we have a bunch of commands working together (Africom, EUCOM, SocEur, etc.) and they all got together to put on a fun night for everyone. Since it wasn’t really that frosty, though windchill did kick things up to a shiver, there were fake icebergs to slide down and climb, fake ice to iceskate, fake ice for curling & even a fake ice wall to scale. It was pre-teen Heaven!

Even Tess, who is a full-on teen, was happy. Her bestie-du-jour was guest-DJ’ing for our local radio station AFN – the Eagle, and she sat up front & center in the booth happily taking selfie’s and bopping along to the songs. But, shhhhhhhh, don’t tell her I told you!

While Dane didn’t love the ice skating, turns out ice skating on fake ice is not as fun as real ice, he was determined to scale the fake ice wall to the very top. So determined he got in line during daylight, and stood strong as darkness fell & the wind picked up. A chilly wind that cut right through my jeans & wool jacket. A chilly wind that’s an omen of things to come next week.  A chilly wind that has me worrying until the amazing wizard gets here to fix our Big, Red, Intimidating out-of-order Machine!

Luckily command loves all the people & there were heat lamps strewn about Frosty Fest. I managed to get a great spot, on a bench, foot up, right under the one nearest the long line for fake ice wall scaling. As long as I stayed put the chilly wind didn’t freeze me on the spot. Even luckier, Dave got off work and was more than happy to grab me a hot Glühwein, a walking taco and even a döner yufka (kebab in a wrap) while we waited.

Finally it was Dane’s turn to scale the fake ice wall. He had on his sharp, pointy shoes. Two ice axes, one in each hand, and a helmet. I’m not sure if the helmet was in case of falling or in case of ice axing himself in the head. Either way, I’m not super sure it was going to save him. As soon as he was on belay, he swung a sharp ice axe into the fake ice above his head, then the other ice axe, and then he kicked in his toes. Up he went!

Dane is a natural climber. He can scramble up every rock, tree, boulder, alp he sees before you can blink. I fully expected him to be the first to reach the tippy top, but halfway up he slowed down. Another 3-4 swings with the ice axes and he petered out. He was done. He leaned back in his harness and rode back down. Ice wall climbing, even fake ice wall climbing, is incredibly taxing. It sapped all his energy right out.

Dane, however, is a rapid recharge kind of guy. By the time he was de-harnessed, de-helmeted & de-shoed his energy was back & he raced across the fest to the curling lanes… ready to try the next new sport. By the time I made it all the way over the dinner, hobbling on my still-recovering ankle, and snap a photo, all the alarms went off & the fire engine drove by.

Santa’s fire engine! Our Santa had no reindeer, but a fantabulous fire engine instead! All the kids squealed (me too!) and ran after Santa (not me). I managed to get back to my warm & toasty spot under the heatlight right as Santa walked by. Even after half a century I still get excited when I see Santa!

I couldn’t find Tess anywhere, and amazingly my texts went unread, but Dane was standing at my side. Insisting he did not want to see Santa. I bribed him with some real ice ice skating and he happily sat on Santa’s lap. I think he still loves Santa just as much as I do.

The real DJ, the guest DJ… and Tess

Hanging out with AFN

Frosty Fest booths

Safety briefing on how-to-use ice axes

Halfway there. He said his muscles started “shaking”.

Too tired to smile, but he looked!

Time for curling!

Curling is harder than it looks.

Past the blow-up ice berg.. it’s SANTA!

Woot! Santa in the house!

I don’t know how many more years I have… Dane & Santa ❤