Thursday, March 30, 2006

Pumping begins

The pumping has begun.

Water is flowing into the lowest tunnels.

Gimlitin estimates it will take several weeks to make them secure.

I still don’t know what to do about global warming.

Maybe a letter to children?

I might ask my friend Lee to write a poem or a story.

By the way, Zbigniew Ting beat me at chess again!

Monday, March 27, 2006

Something to look forward to

A typical work day.

The doll shop is already turning out as many as it did last October.

As for the tunnel problem, Gimlitin and his dwarves are already getting pumps ready to bring up sea water to flood the tunnels.

They should start later this week.

One happy note: Zbigniew Ting brought up the mail, and he brought his lovely wife with him.

Mrs. Claus was happy to have visitors for dinner.

They will stay the night.

In fact, Zbigniew is waiting to play a game of chess.

He beat me last time we played!

Sunday, March 26, 2006

Global warming stopgap

My darling wife fussed over me so much I sometimes went into attic just to have a moment of peace!

It is nice to be so loved, but sometimes ….

A week later, I met with Gimlitin and Eomar.

“It is as bad as you said,” I told Gimlitin. “Now that I’m aware I’ve even noticed the number of ice quakes we’ve been having.”

“We must take action immediately, Santa,” he said.

“And what action would you recommend?” I said.

“Flooding the tunnels.”

“Flooding the tunnels!?” Eomar gasped. “But there are so many and they go so deep. How much water would we need?”

“We can pump in sea water,” Gimlitin said. “But it is only a short term measure.”

“Why?” I asked.

“It’s happening at both the North Pole and the South Pole,” he said. “The ice is melting at a faster rate than normal. The glaciers in Greenland are receding. The ice fields are breaking up and weakening.”

“Global warming?” I asked.

“That seems to be what is making it go faster,” he replied. “Plus, it’ part of the natural cycle anyway.”

“Ah,” I mused. “So this is something that we are going to have to deal with as a world. But for now, we must flood the tunnels.”

They both left.

I sat at my desk wondering how this would affect our other plans, such as the greenhouses.

And I wondered how I could get the word out to the world.

Thursday, March 23, 2006

Dimis saves the day?

We slept fitfully. Despite the huddling, it was still cold.

The next morning, we had more bread. Some elf bread, some dwarf bread.

As for what to drink? Water.

Ice, actually. We did not have enough heat melt the ice, so we just chipped pieces off the walls, then sucked on them.

Not pleasant.

Gimlitin and his dwarves dug out another pack. More elf bread.

Off in the distance, we heard rumbling. More ice breaking way.

Eomar, several of the elves and dwarves, and I went off to explore to see if there was some way up,

All the tunnels here went down. One that might have gone up was blocked by fallen ice.

All of this activity took an entire day.

The day ended with more bread, and more huddling.

The next day, we explored a couple of the downward sloped tunnels to se it they led to any passages going up.

No luck.

We tried to go back up the tunnel that we’d slid down, but it was too steep and we did not have the right climbing equipment.

The third day, we tried to dig through the fallen ice in the tunnel that sloped up.

After a day of digging, we still found ice blocking our way.

On the fourth day, we tried digging again.

Then suddenly, a cell pone rang.

Dimis reached into his pocket and took out the phone.

“Hello?” he said. “No, I didn’t forget. Sorry. I’m trapped down in the tunnels with Santa…”

At that point I grabbed the phone.

“Hello, this is Santa. Who is this?”

“Eolias,” a voice stammered. “Santa, we’ve been looking for you.”

I gave him directions to where we were. I then signed off.

Dimis looked at me puzzled.

“Dimis,” why didn’t you tell us you had a cell phone?”

“I forgot. Good thing Eolias showed up for our weekly checkers game.”

I think if I had not been there some of the elves and dwarves would have ad a “talk” with Dimis.

As it was, no one talked to him.

Except me, of course, How can you blame someone like Dimis?

It took the rescuers four days to reach us. Four long, cold days.

Finally, the rescuers reached us, and we started the climb up.

It took us half a day to get back to the North Pole Village.

Mrs. Claus, and thousands of others were waiting.

Dimis was pleased at all the attention.

“It was my phone that led to our rescue,” he told everyone who would listen.

None of those who had been trapped were among those listening.

Wednesday, March 22, 2006

In the tunnels: Goblin food

As I mentioned a few weeks back, when we were trapped in the ice caves below the North Pole Village, we saw goblins in the ice.

They were a horrible sight – even frozen.

Dimis fainted.

Eomar and Gimlitin drew their swords.

“They can’t harm us, “I said, trying to reassure them. I suspect they have been frozen in there since the last Goblin war – some 60 years.

“I saw Goblins when I was a young elf,” Eomar said. “I had hoped to never see them again.”

“Gimlitin,” I said, “do you have any idea how far down we are?”

“No. I have never been this deep.”

Dimis began to wake up – thanks to the care being given to him by several dwarves and elves.

The minute he saw the Goblins in the ice, he bean to swoon again.

“Pull yourself together,” Eomar said. “We have to protect Santa.”

Although that was not strictly true, it was enough to stir Dimis awake.

“Let’s move away from this ice face so we don’t see the goblins,” I suggested.

We walked for a short distance down a curving tunnel. We sat on some fallen ice blocks.

Gimlitin shook his lantern, which was beginning to dim.

“The fall must have damaged it,” he said.

“We don’t know how long we are going to be down here,” I said. Maybe we should alternate lanterns to make sure they don’t all lose power at the same time.”

They all agreed this was a good idea, so we turned off most of the lanterns.

The icy walls reflected the light form the few lanterns we kept on, so it was not too bad.

“I fear we will run out of food before our light goes, ” Eomar said.

I have never known goblins not to have some food about,” Gimlitin suggested. “Maybe they had some with them.”

He, Eomar, and several of the elves and dwarves went back to where we had sen the goblins to search. I stayed with Dimis.

“Thank you for searching for us,” I said. “Are there search parties out?”

“I was alone,” he said, blushing. “I was following you.”


“I wanted to go with you all into the tunnels, but Eomar said no. So I followed behind. Then I got lost I was wandering all around until I heard your voices. Then I fell through.”

“Ah,’ I said. “So they may not have even begun to search yet.”

I saw the frightened look on his face, so I added, “But they will.”

Eomar came back.

“We see some packs in the ice near the goblins. It might be supplies. Gimlitn and his dwarves are carefully chipping away at the ice.”

It took two hours of chipping, but they finally freed a pack. Gimlitin brought it to the tunnel where we were sitting.

The pack was stiff, and broke as we tried to get it open.

Inside was bread!

“This looks like elf bread,” Eomar exclaimed.

“Ill bet they stole it years ago.

“I wonder how 60 year old bread tastes,” Gimlitin said.

“Elf bread never goes bad,” Eomar stated.

“But it does get hard,” I said, tapping it against the floor.

“All we need do is warm it up,” Eomar said.

We held the bread above some lanterns on high. The bread got softer – though not completely unthawed. But it got to the point were we could chew it.

“We saw more packs,” Gimlitin said, “We will dig out another one in the morning.”

“We have enough bread in this one pack for several days,” Eomar said. “If we are careful.”

By this point, exhaustion was overtaking us all. We needed sleep. So we huddle together.

Soon, the tunnel was filled with the sound of snoring.

(Tomorrow: Rescue)

Saturday, March 04, 2006

Dancing Santa

Last night something unexpected happened.

Mrs. Claus and I were exhausted after fighting the flu and taking care of all the sick North Pole residents.

We expected just to have a quiet evening at home.

But as we were relaxing in the living room, I put on some music.

Mrs. Claus went into the kitchen to get something to drink.

When she returned, something about the way that she looked made me get up, and take her in my arms. Then we began to dance.

Around and around the room.

Mathom, our cat, looked up at us.

Shulun, our dog, began to beat his tail in time to the music.

We danced through one tune after another. We laughed. Then we dance some more.

We must have danced for 20 minutes.

Finally, we sat down.

It had been many years since we last danced (except at weddings, of course).

So many memories of happy times flashed through my mind as we danced.

We must do it again!

Friday, March 03, 2006

The flu battle winds down

We are nearly through our battle with the flu.

I am exhausted.

Helping to care for all our sick elves, dwarves and gnomes has kept my dear wife and I on our feet. There were several nights where we took turns working two hour shifts.

The good thing is that we’ve had no deaths. Modern medicines have helped.

Oh, I remember the terrible flu outbreak of 1919 – the one that affected the entire world.

We lost nearly a quarter of the elves. I was haunted by their faces for years.

But now, things have settled. There are still some North Pole residents who are sick, but none seriously. And now there are enough healthy folks to take over the care.

Tonight, I think we will just stay home and enjoy some quiet time.