In My Space – Weather, Printers, and Memories by Peggy Gandy

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In My Space – Weather, Printers, and Memories

by Peggy Gandy

Weather is as unpredictable as the meteorologists who predict it. Not that I don’t respect meteorologists, really I do. It’s just that I rarely understand anything they say. For starters, they work from a screen right out of Star Wars with blinking colors and shapes that change and revolve constantly. The forms, which at times look like some weird disease strain, are constantly crawling across the screen. Actually they ‘re kind of scary, and I’m afraid to stare at them too long. Dry lines always seem to be moving in too, but I’m never sure if that’s a good or bad thing, since I have yet to see one. When you hear a meteorologist predict a ‘slim chance for rain with a possibility of a real monsoon,’ you know they don’t have a clue and will take credit for anything wet that falls from the sky. When they mention things are starting to ‘fire up’ you know the yellow colors on the screen have started flashing red and the blues and greens are racing up to Kansas. This translates to either a cold front is moving in or there is a 70 % chance of record-breaking heat in Alaska. Nowadays weather is predicted weeks ahead. When it starts misting in Minnesota the last of March, the meteorologists can predict bad weather the third Friday in May at 7:12 p.m. in the Village. Hail and tornado trackers add to the confusion. They’re always out there spotting and driving into something. But these trackers are never quite sure what, because they don’t know if they’re going east, seeing a front coming in from the west or if they’ve crossed the state line and are tracking through the middle of Texas. When the weather announcer asks one of the spotters what the clouds look like, you hear an excited disembodied voice yell, “I’ve just spotted two, one is in the shape of a bear and the other cloud looks like a small dog with no tail.’’ Hail predictions can vary from pea to watermelon size. When a tornado is spotted, weather announcers urge motorists driving on interstates to take cover, but not in their cars or under bridges or overpasses. Hello.

I would be so happy if I never had to rely on a printer again. Mine is even more devious than my computer, Marvin. She’s so temperamental I’m afraid to switch on a light in the mornings for fear of waking her too early. She refuses to print anything before 10:00 and is very protective of Marvin. When I whacked him in the side a couple of times out of frustration one day, it upset her so much she coughed up two dozen blank pages. Recently I decided to put a stop to her moodiness when she refused to print for a week, and ordered a new printer. (It’s not like I was attached to her, in fact I was glad to get rid of her.) When the new printer arrived I sat it on the floor until I could get someone to come over and install it. That did it. She came out of her pout in nothing flat. The next morning when I walked into my office, I found a week’s worth of copies lying all over the desk. (true story)

The recent 20th anniversary of the horrendous Murray Building bombing brought back memories for all of us. I want to share a story I wrote 20 years ago about one person’s compassionate gift that really touched my heart. Even as she was grieving for her own dog, Suzanne Nelson rose to the occasion when she heard the search and rescue dogs in Oklahoma City needed booties. Nelson, a flight attendant, had just arrived at her parents’ home in Alaska to make arrangements to have her elderly Yorkshire terrier, Sherlock, put to sleep. “Thirty minutes before the vet was to arrive,’’ Nelson said, “my sister called and told me the search and rescue dogs needed booties quickly. She said their feet were cut very badly, and the dogs were having to be carried out of the building.’’ Moments later, Nelson was on the phone to her brother, Dr. Robert Robinson, a sponsor for the Iditarod dog race. Robinson quickly called several of the mushers who arranged to have 100 flannel dog booties made up immediately. Nelson then called Rae’s Harness Shop in Anchorage to see if they could help her round up more booties. She learned the harness shop was making dog boots out of a new material which was virtually impenetrable and kept the huskies’ feet from being cut by ice. A quick call was then made to Don Browning in Oklahoma City to see what sizes were needed. Browning was in charge of the rescue dogs. In four hours, 100 more booties had been made. Since UPS and Federal Express are closed on Sunday, Nelson decided to get on a plane and deliver the booties herself in a shopping bag. Nelson said she arrived in Oklahoma City about 3:30 p. Written on the package Nelson handed to the dispatcher were the words, “In Memory of Sherlock”.

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