Friday, February 8, 2013

Neither Snow, Nor More Snow, Nor Snowmageddon™...

Om nom nom—brownie kebob!
Today was supposed to be our final Volunteer training class at the Zoo, complete with a pot luck lunch. When I attended the presentation on "To Theme or Not To Theme" yesterday, Karen was wrestling with whether to postpone the class for one week because of the impending storm, but had not yet decided either way. So "Aussie Tom" and I got into Babar at about 7:45 this morning and, after five or six tries to get up the steep ramp leading out of our underground garage, began to forge our way out to the Rouge Valley (avoiding all highways along the way). When we had reached Markham and Kingston Road, a little over halfway to our destination, Karen reached us in the car to let us know the class had, indeed, been postponed. We decided to continue on to the Zoo, if for no other reason than to hand out some of the "brownie kebobs" that Sarah and I had made for the pot luck and which would not last until next week in any event.

Orangutan mom and daughter
Tom and I dropped in at the Timmy's at Morningside and Sheppard to see if anyone had made it there for our weekly pre-Zoo coffee confab; only Dennis was there so we grabbed a quick bite with him before the three of us continued on to the Zoo (coffee for Karen in hand). It turns out that we were the only three people out of all of the Friday Volunteers and trainees who showed up, so we handed out the goodies and then ventured out into the winter wonderland to see a few of the animals. We communed with the orangutans in Indomalaya for a while after first dropping in on the clouded leopard in the Malayan Woods pavilion. We heard from a keeper that Harry, the Sumatran tiger, was out in the exhibit and a bit grumpy about it; when we went to see him, however, we found that he had gone back inside through a small open door, coming back briefly to stick his head out when he heard us come by. We stopped at a small clearing nearby where there are a couple of bird feeders set up and watched the chickadees, cardinals and even a red-headed woodpecker come and go for a while. Tom and I then parted company with Dennis and headed for the Indian Rhino pavilion to say hi to Ashakiran; she was lying down and sleeping, though, and most of the lights were off inside the exhibit so it was a bit anticlimactic.

"Lemme outta heeeeere!!!"
We intended to walk on past the Volunteer Centre and visit either the Tundra animals or the Americas pavilion, but the snow had started to fall a little more intensely as we left the Indian Rhino pavilion, so we decided to cut the day short and head home before the traffic or the snow build-up became unwieldy. We collected our things from the lounge, made sure there were enough kebabs left behind to satisfy those who could not leave at that time, and headed for the car and the slow trip home. Only a few minutes after we left (about noon), though, something very rare happened: they decided to close the Zoo completely and send all non-essential staff home for the day. In retrospect I do wish we had stuck around for that because who knows when it will happen again; our decision to leave, though, certainly worked out in our favour because it took us a little more than an hour to get to Woodbine and Danforth (ordinarily about a 45-minute trip on that route) and I think it would have taken us quite a bit longer just an hour or two later, from the reports I have read.

I love this weather, I really do. I'm thrilled I got to walk around in it—for two consecutive days at that! But I'm also happy I'm home safe this evening, as are my kids, their mom and Sarah. It's a lot easier to enjoy a day like this when it ends well. Hope you and everyone you love are all safe as well. I wonder how much snow we'll get when it's all over?

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