Climate Change

Traveling east from Western Washington is like immigrating to a new country. The people, the politics, the culture – all different. At this moment, the difference I’m noting the most, besides a decided increase in red “Make America Great Again” hats, is the climate. When we moved here in September, we enjoyed a long sunny fall and I could count the number of days that it rained on one hand. It almost made me forget that I’m suppose to love rain.

Wintery apple orchards

However, I am aware that senses deceive, so I’ll stick to quantifiable facts. (Please note, these are not alternative facts). The average annual rainfall for Yakima is only 8.35 inches. Seattle averages 37.13 inches per year. Average annual snowfall in Seattle isn’t even reported by US Climate Data. For Yakima, 23 inches of snow is average. This year appears to be an outlier. I overheard someone saying that the valley hasn’t seen this much snow in over 20 years.

Another notable difference between east and west is the response to adverse weather: when Western Washington gets even a hint of snow, everything shuts down¹. When Eastern Washington gets freezing rain on top of 23 inches of snow, everyone still goes to work. No snow days here. This fills me with a deep, soul-crushing sadness.

A few weeks ago I met up with my BFF, Kelly Lin², and the SASA³ group in Easton, WA for some Sabbath snowshoeing. After a worship thought at the cabin, we headed over to Keechelus Lake for a snowy adventure. The temperature was hovering around 12 degrees Fahrenheit, but with the windchill, it felt more like absolute zero4. Not even the warm sense of superiority I get from wearing Patagonia products could keep out this cold. We suffered through the head wind to get to the lake, snapped a few photos, and scurried back to the car for hot cocoa.

It had started snowing hard while we were gone img_2808and since I had to work the next day, I set out for home as soon as we arrived back at the cabin. I wasn’t worried about driving in the snow, with my newly acquired all-wheel drive vehicle and studded snow tires. However, the biggest hazard about driving in the snow is other drivers. Shortly after I left, traffic slowed, then stopped. There was a collision 5 miles ahead that was blocking all lanes and no estimate on when it was going to clear.

My first reaction was to freak out. Should I turn around, like other cars were doing? Should I take the REALLY long way around and try to go over White Pass? Should I take the detour and risk it on the back country roads? What if I run out of gas? I was scared of freezing in the car, or worse, being found by the Night King5 and getting drafted into the army of the dead.

After the initial freak out, I got the blankets from my trunk, turned off the car, and gnawed on a Clif bar. Then my only problem was boredom (and the Night King). My phone battery was rapidly depleting and I needed to conserve power to check for updates on the DOT website. So, no games, texts, twitter, or insta. Just watching people walk around in the snow and thinking Lindsay Thoughts™.

Eventually the government cleared the road and I cautiously made my way home, arriving just before 10pm. The trip was about four times longer than it should have been and I’m pretty sure I saw the Night King near Ellensburg.

I guess blogs usual end with a clever lesson or piece of advice, so, here goes: don’t solely rely on your weather app for guidance? Invest in a back up iPhone for emergency web surfing needs? Pack more exciting snacks to nibble on during road closures? The point is: winter is here, it’s scary, and I’m going to need some retail therapy to get over this traumatic experience.

1. They actually got about 8 inches of snow, so that’s a legitimate reason to shut down everything. However, there have been times where is was raining at the school and they cancelled because some of their bus routes were getting snow. I certainly didn’t complain when that happened.
2. AKA, Kerree Rin
3. Seattle Adventist Student Association
4. The zero point on the absolute temperature scale; -273.15°C or 0 Kelvin or -459.67°F; theoretically, the temperature at which molecular motion ceases 
5. Nerdy Game of Thrones reference

Puppy Love

“Look how cute he is!” “Are you sure you want to do this?” “Look at his little face!” “This is a big responsibility that will impact our lives for the next 12 to 15 years.” “He licked me!”

That conversation ended with us forking over a couple large bills in exchange for a little ball of black fur. Don’t let our conversation fool you. This wasn’t an impulse decision. We had been fantasizing about stealing other people’s dogs while walking around Green Lake for a couple of months. We scoured humane society websites and Craigslist looking for a puppy or a dog to adopt. We even read books written by monks who raise German Shepherds in upstate New York.*

img_0382-1The Sunday before we moved, we picked up Salish from the breeder we found on Craigslist. He didn’t speak a lot of English and his heavy Russian accent sounded more sinister than he looked. All of David’s questions about the puppies, their parents, and their dog raising technique were answered with a short, “He’s very good dog.” As we drove away with a tiny 8-week-old puppy falling asleep at my feet, we gave each other the “what have we done?” look.

We spent the next four days attempting to hide Salish in our No-Pets-Allowed apartment. We snuck him out the backdoor for potty breaks and gave in to his every wish to avoid any yelping. Although we were eventually caught and fined (David is currently engaged in an ugly legal battle**), the manager admitted that he couldn’t find any damage caused by the puppy – surprising since we only spent every waking and sleeping moment with him.

img_0383Salish is a Labrador retriever and Australian cattle dog mix (specifically blue heeler). While his coloring would make you think black lab, the shape of his face, the cowlicks on his neck, and his rebellious personality screams heeler. He tends to be stubborn and fights back if I clamp my hand around his muzzle for being too mouthy. He will often chase me when I run and this usually involves him nipping at my legs. When he and Buddy (my in-laws’ rat terrier mix) play, no matter how much Buddy beats up on him, Salish always comes back for more. He even has the audacity to growl and bark at my in-laws’ Rhodesian ridgeback who is at least ten times his size and possesses no sense of humor.

img_0379Initially I was convinced he descended from velociraptors due to his love of tasting everything. But he seems to be learning very quickly. “No Biting. No Barking. No Peeing.” Consistency is key.  Now, most of the time he will stop when we tell him “no”. When I walk around the yard with him, he will wander around and do his own thing, but if I get too far away, he’ll come racing after me. The sight of his little ears bouncing as he blazes a trail toward me makes up for any frustrations. And while he isn’t super cuddly at this stage, as I write this, he is sleeping under my chair.

Since I haven’t started working yet, Salish has pretty much become my life. As a result, I’ve become one of those dog parents that creates an Instagram account for their pet. Sad, I know. But I am so convinced of his objective cuteness that I believe he will get a big enough following that he will get free treats from companies who want to use him in their advertising. If you’re interested in helping us achieve that goal, you can follow Salish on Insta at @salishseaborne.

*If you’re considering adopting a puppy or dog, I recommend you read one or both of these books by the monks of New Skete Monastery. They will change your life.
  • The Art of Raising a Puppy revised edition
  • How to Be Your Dogs Best Friend: The classic training manual for dog owners
**Not really, but he did write the landlord a stern letter using his special lawyer letterhead (our lease agreement said nothing about a fine if we were found to have a pet)