Wednesday, February 6, 2008

Four Days of Forty Below and Counting

We've been damned close to -50ºF here at the house every morning this week. John doesn't work if it's -20ºF or colder at 0600, so he's been cat wrangling all week long. Bastard. When I looked at the thermometer this morning and it said -47.8ºF, I wanted to crawl back in bed and pull a cat on top of me. But, no. I went to work, like everyone else. We don't get things like weather days up here in the stubborn, macho sub-arctic.

With that, I am going to share an off the cuff list of things one should not forget when the weather is really $%*&*(*#@(*$!!@#$*^ cold. Yes, this is without wind chill.

Oh, and one other thing. The cold is cold, but it could be worse. The cold will be gone by the end of March. And yes, it makes going outside unpleasant. But, have you ever been to Phoenix in August? I have. It's like staring into the gates of Hell. We go from our warm buildings to our warm cars to our warm buildings. People in Phoenix go from their cooled buildings to their cooled cars to their cooled buildings. It's not that much different.

It's late and I need to go to bed. If you have any suggestions for things I left off the list, please share!

Weather coverage from
Anchorage Daily News
Fairbanks Daily News-Miner
National Weather Service Advisory

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Things to remember when it’s -40ºF or colder

Automotive
1) Don’t put your keys in your mouth. It’s like licking a mobile lamp post.
2) The tires on your car will be square when you start to drive. Drive slowly, and pretend like you’re riding a horse that’s trotting until they round out.
3) The cv boots on your axles are cold – don’t put your car through any sharp turns if you can avoid it.
4) If your gas gauge reads <½ then you need to fill up. If you can keep your car running, you have heat. Heat = Survival.
5) Make sure your coolant is adjusted for the cold.
6) Put some sort of winter front on your car – the radiator will freeze solid at these temperatures.

Recreation
1) Toss a cup of hot coffee up in the air to see it vaporize.
2) Blow soap bubbles so you can watch them crinkle up.
3) Super chill your beer and soda, and watch it turn from liquid to solid when you open the bottle.

Culinary
1) Make peanut brittle, because it will be ready to eat in under five minutes, if you put the pan on your porch
2) If you are out of room in your freezer, just leave your stuff on the porch. It’s not going to thaw until the weather warms up. In March.

Anatomical and Sartorial
1) Appreciate your eyelashes and nose hairs – they frost up when you’re outside, and the frost melts when you come inside. Proof that they are there and doing their job. Makeup wearers, please note that this is hell on mascara.
2) Frostbite. Serious problem. Weather like this is why Alaskans are not known for our fashion sensibilities. Freezing your ass off is not just a figure of speech.
3) I don’t care what you say – fur and feathers are where it’s at. They are warm at these temperatures. Unlike polar fleece, they are a renewable resource. You might look cheesy wearing fur and puffy down coats, but you won't be called "Stumpy" or "Paddle Paws" by your less than generous family members.

9 comments:

MWT said...

*is fascinated*

I have a puffy duck down coat. It's awesome, especially when I lived in Indiana. I don't get to wear it much in Georgia.

Janiece Murphy said...

We have a name for people who consider satorial issues when the temperature is below zero - dead. And I love to shop.

Shawn Powers said...

I've heard college stories from when I was at Michigan Tech about forming the perfect spit globule, and getting it to freeze before landing. (Thus, bouncing)

I'm not sure the actual temperature, but during my stint at MTU, the windchill dropped to -78F, and they canceled class. At noon. My classes, of course, were over at 10AM...

I think there is danger with forming the perfect sized spit globule, however, because it involved wet lips in the cold for extended periods of time. I don't recommend it.

Nathan said...

I bought a hat made of red fox very similar to this
when I was in MN. Its warm as hell, but when the earflaps are down, you can't hear anything.

Hmmm? Which is worse. Frozen ears or the probability of being run over by the truck you couldn't hear?

Shawn Powers said...

In New York? Probably the latter. In Alaska? I'm guessing the former. :)

Tania said...

Spit blobs! I forgot about that one, I should add it to the list.

Other things I remembered this morning after getting some sleep.

Blue foam seats on the outhouse. I have running water, but I've used an outhouse at these temperatures. The blue foam keeps your bum from freezing.

The oil and lube in your car that is normally liquid isn't. It's a semi-solid. I have heaters on my tranny pan, oil pan, and a coolant heater. But your differential - yikes, the pumpkin doesn't contain fluid anymore, so your car just doesn't want to move, never mind the tires.

Nathan - I think they're both bad, but I'd go with being run over by the truck. You could always get prostethic ears! :)

Michelle K said...

Wow. That's ummm.... that's cold.

Here we're just whining because it was 67 yesterday and 34 today.

Mind you, I like winter and don't mind the cold, but going from spring back to winter in 12 hours sucks.

Tania said...

That does suck. And remember, that's a 33 degree difference. Brr! It's all a matter of what you're used to. So don't feel like a wingy whinger.

After a week of this, when it warms up to -5 or 0, we'll be running around outside in t-shirts. Really. The human body's adaptive capabilities are pretty dang impressive.

Jeri said...

I hate it when it gets so cold your nose hair frosts up when you breathe. But - I appreciate that ice and compact snow just aren't as slippery below zero.

I have to be in ANC at the end of the month, and I'm really hoping it warms back up a little before then. :)