Tuesday, April 25, 2006

On Sleeping During a Blow

Last night* I got sea sick - in my own bed.

Houses in our part of the Arctic don't have fixed foundations - the heat transferred from the house through a conventional concrete footing would melt the permafrost with the result that the house would sink ever lower into a mucky mire. To prevent this, an insulating natural gravel pad is placed on top of the soil before a house is built, and the house is supported by a series of tripods (technically tetrapods) to keep the structure a good 2 feet off the ground. Follow this link to see some examples of houses in Nunavik.

The supports are never in perfect adjustment, and the house rocks and rolls like as if possessed by a massive poltergeist whenever the wind really starts to blow. My bedroom is on the second floor, and the lurching of the building is magnified at this higher altitude.

When lying in bed during a wind storm or blizzard, you do not feel a steady back and forth motion lulling you gently off to sleep. Rather, it's an irregular jarring and shaking about as the house reels in response to each buffet of the wind. After about half an hour of lying in bed wondering if they ever invented seat belts for mattresses, you get the strange sensation that you and your household are under attack. And these attacks can become quite violent: once when being pummeled by a particularly heavy gale I saw whitecaps in the toilet bowl.

No one else in the house appears to be bothered by this tilting to and fro. Yuri, my sometime lodger, seems to prefer it - "it's like good massage from Gorky call girl". He also described it, and I hope I'm doing justice to his analogy, as akin to sharing a bed with a drunken man and woman when they make love. I guess they suffered from a housing shortage in his home town.

But last night I got sea sick - in my own bed.

* Actually it was the night before, but thanks to Blogger, we're running a little behind schedule here.


Blogger Fuff said...

LOL, white horses in the toilet bowl, sounds like fun. Keep some ginger biscuits in your bedside table draw, always good for sea-sickness.

7:52 AM  
Blogger Tea and Books, etc said...

LOL, Nanuk, Fuff!

My mum worked on the 86th floor in Tower II of the World Trade Center many, many years ago. On brisk days, she said you could both see and feel the building move... :-O I would have been sea and air sick.

Nanuk, you caught me off guard; at first I was thinking you had a water bed, lol, which didn't make sense to me.

I liked the pics in the link, esp house 8. :-)

Hope you've caught your 'sea legs' again. :0)

10:34 AM  
Blogger Fuff said...

+er (drawer)

1:57 PM  
Blogger Timmy said...

After reading the title of the post, I was expecting something quite different...

2:22 PM  
Blogger The Phosgene Kid said...

I have had so much beer that I seemed tot be in a house with no foundation that was rocking violently. I hurled too. My how that pre-owned red wine can stain!

5:37 PM  
Blogger nanuk said...

Fuff - ginger biscuits, you say? Well, I have an aversion to having anything ginger in my bed, but I'm willing to give anything a try. I'll have to rearrange my empty liquor bottle collection in my "draw" to accommodate them, though.

T&B, etc. - Picture #3 is of my town, mistakenly called "Akulivik".

Timmy - Geez, now that you pointed that out . . .

TPK - it's been so long since I have a good jag on, I'm actually jealous. No shit.

5:52 PM  
Anonymous Nunya said...

Nanuk, you live there WHY?!!

Again, I think Yuri is just your imaginary friend or perhaps one of your other personalities, lol.

5:57 PM  
Blogger Fuff said...

Thanks for pointing that out Nanuk.

6:16 PM  
Blogger Eternally Curious said...

Those pics look a lot like my house, just without what we call "skirting" (aluminum siding hiding the space between land and building). My home is a mobile home, also supported on cinder blocks and not resting directly on the ground. Since it's Colorado ground it should be fairly solid and level, except that the folks who set it up for us failed Leveling School! When it hails (happens a lot here) you could go deaf, and when it's high winds (also happens a lot), you literally feel like looking for eithr the steering wheel or Dorothy and Toto 'cuz you're certain you're going to be traveling very soon!

6:54 PM  
Blogger The Phosgene Kid said...

I was just thinking maybe Timmy has a point. You probably should have entitled your piece "Blowing Chow During Sleep"

I am going to rub it in a bit - that was a tax free wine hurl, btw, and I bought the bottle at the market.

3:03 AM  
Blogger Mr. Fabulous said...


6:19 AM  
Blogger fairscape said...


You got to roll with it baby.

4:08 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

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9:04 PM  

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