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13 June, 2000

There's a Mouse in the House

When you live in a communal setting such as Camp Summit, everyone must share in the responsibility of cleaning the Main House. In our situation, everyone is assigned a day to be House Mouse. Today, I was the House Mouse. Actually Nick was assigned the duty but due to some changes in our monitor tower, he asked me if I would switch with him. It was a good thing because the weather has changed at the Summit and it is now winter.

Last night, a snow storm rolled in and it brought some chilling temperatures (-25 C) and high winds (20+ knots). We also had blowing snow. It was what I actually expected Greenland to be, e.g. cold, wind and snow. What I have been experiencing here is very nice, warm weather where I could wear fleece outside and no hat. So with this change, being a House Mouse was a pleasure.

The duties of the House Mouse vary throughout the day. I was responsible for washing all the dishes for 3 meals. This was no easy task. Since we have a chef that makes gourmet food, the amount of dishes for preparation is incredible not to mention the amount of dishes for 21 people. It took me about 2 hours each meal just to wash them.

The 2nd duty of the House Mouse is also responsible for getting water for the Main house. This involves several steps: (1) getting a snow mobile and driving to the warming house where the snow from the glacier is melted for water-clean snow that is, (2) pumping water from the warming hut to the transfer tank, (3) driving the transfer tank to the Main House via snow mobile, (4) pumping the water into the tank in the Main house and then returning the transfer tank to the warming hut. Sounds easy right? Well guess again. It was very cold and windy and my first solo run took me over one hour. I brought 125 gallons of water that trip and in the afternoon, I brought 80 gallons. We are requested to limit our water usage so you can imagine how much water we use each day.

Besides these large jobs, the House Mouse is also responsible for general cleaning of the bathroom, kitchen and common area. And if the chef requests it, the job involves helping to cook. This took all day but I did have time to sneak away for an hour spin on the bike and some weight lifting. I am feeling much better now. No science when your a House Mouse but there is a good side too. You can take your shower (only 1 every 4 days) and wash your clothes too. You see, there are benefits to everything.

Ciao, Cathi

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