Turnagain Pass area, on our way to the Nest. I could make out he was wearing skis. A wise choice, given conditions on the ground.

Arrived at the Nest to find the driveway blocked by a new berm of snow. Unlike the one I described a few weeks ago, this one was hardened like rock candy. Before we left Anchorage someone warned us it had snowed days earlier in Seward, about 16″ she’d said, yet we were incredulous. Although, at the last second we did think to throw the ice chopper in the car. Good thing, too. The plastic snow shovel we keep at the Nest was pointless – like chipping concrete with a spatula. Took the two of us about 30 minutes hacking and flinging ice chunks to clear a gap wide enough to get the Subaru through. Meanwhile, the Black Dog had wandered down the Beach Road into someone’s yard, where he’d dug down a foot into an anonymous pile of snow to get at a loaf of stale bread. This did not please Happy Wife.

The Packer’s loss in Atlanta SUCKED. I’m still not entirely over it. But kudos to the Falcons who played REALLY well that day. As they did in the super bowl, if only for three quarters.

Today I went to spin class for first time in like twelve years, probably more. I’m leading another bike tour in Alaska this summer (haha, summer – remember that?!), and I don’t want to wait until May to start getting fit. It’s a nice cycling studio, decent stationary bikes in a comfortable room. The Instructor Motivator was a young millennial gal, ninety pounds (maybe) dripping wet, a body tighter than a snare drum, sporting a cosmic shoulder-tattoo and a preternatural tan, a perky blonde with a ponytail and fake boobs. My fellow spinners were, likewise, mostly millenials with agendas of their own. The lights dimmed and the fun began. The Motivator had us out of our saddles almost immediately, to the deafening whomp-whomp-whomp of rap music she’d turned up to like 120 db. No wonder complimentary ear plugs are available at the front counter.

45 minutes later it was over. I’d survived. Two or three others had left early. At one point during the session, the Motivator, who was mic’d and talking over the music – Pump The Kitty!, Pump The Kitty! – the whole time, motivated us with: Reach deep now. This is where you push yourself. Focus. We’re all different people. Different goals. Different abilities.

At which point I’d had enough and gasped, with what little breath I had left, “And Different ages!”

Don’t know if anyone heard me over the din. Doubt it. But no matter, I’m going back for more. It was a good sweat.

I turned 57 this month. An unremarkable age. Neither old nor young, not wise or still naive. If there’s a purgatory for the middle-aged, this is it.

Happy Wife treated me to dinner at the Pub House. We ate at the bar, as we are wont to do, next to a former mayor of Anchorage, who Happy Wife overheard had voted for Trump. Whatever. Many years ago when he was the sitting mayor of Anchorage, we crashed his (the “Mayor’s”) New Year’s eve party at the Captain Cook hotel. It was late, after midnight if I recall. We just wandered in and belly’d up to the bar like we owned the place. Ordered drinks, tipped ’em back, and hit the dance floor like nobody’s business. What a hoot. This was back when HW and I were in our courtship phase. It was like a fantasy.

The Pub House bartender surprised me with a complimentary birthday desert…

… some super-tasty key-lime concoction HW & I devoured.

The previous weekend we went to Nest, as mentioned, and enjoyed a glorious low-tide walk on the beach

Surprised Happy Wife this week with a half day off from work – Valentines Day. She had no idea. In fact, her staff had her believing her schedule was full the whole day. Meanwhile, I conquered a phone meeting at work, smoked the ribs (Washington St. baby backs!), walked The Dog, bought the roses, prepared a nice caprese salad plate – with Burrata, HW’s fav! – set the table, primped myself and waited for her to walk in the door.

The rest is left to your imagination. Let’s just say Purgatory ain’t so bad.