Thursday, November 13, 2014

25 Below

It has been a bit chilly here this week! Sunday night into Monday morning I believe the temperatures dropped about 60 degrees! This is not my favorite kind of weather.

It occurred to me this morning that not everyone knows what it is like at 25 degrees below zero so maybe I should share a few things with you.

At 25 degrees below zero you may wake up to frost on the INSIDE of your house. You leave full size blankets on the living room furniture because it just doesn't ever seem to get warm enough in your house. Still, I'm so very grateful to have a house and a furnace!

At 25 degrees below zero I crave hot baths. That's not necessarily good, though, as it robs your body of natural oils that keep your skin healthy. It is so hard to keep skin from cracking and bleeding when it is so cold. My hands can get pretty rough. It is really hard to pull on a pair of pantyhose as my fingers get so rough they catch on the pantyhose. Anyone know what I am talking about?

At 25 degrees below zero cars do not like to start. We used to have a heater attached to our car engine. You could tell who had them because there would be a cord dangling out from under the hood. What you would do is plug it in to an extension cord and your car was much more likely to start when needed. Some parking places even had little outlets on posts just for that purpose. Here's a funny side story. We had a Ford Taurus with the heater on the engine when we moved from Montana to New Mexico in 1995. I drove that car to class at college and one day, when I came out, there was a little crowd around my car. When I approached, they asked me if it was an electric car (that was before electric cars were common).

Anyway, our cars usually start now but this week has been a bit hard on mine. To ensure it starts at the end of the day I am going out in the cold halfway through the day and letting the engine run awhile. That isn't my favorite thing either, but it is better than not being able to drive it home at 5:00.

At 25 degrees below zero everything is crunchy and stiff.  The snow doesn't make soft swishy sounds as you walk through it but it makes painful crunching sounds. I crunched out to our mailbox this week to find that it was frozen shut. I worked and worked to get it open, only to find there was no mail. I expect the mail carrier had given up on opening it.

At 25 degrees below zero it hurts to breathe. Really. It also hurts to move my fingers. This weather can be so dangerous. I hate seeing children out waiting for the school bus. It doesn't take long for serious injury to occur.

Here's another story about cold weather. It occurred when we lived in Minnesota while Mike was going to seminary. There were quite a few families living in married student housing who were from other countries, countries with no snow. One family from Africa had a little boy named Moonga. One day I came out of our building and Moonga was stuck to a pole by his tongue. Apparently one of the kids had told him to lick the pole. In case you don't know, that is a very bad move when it is cold. He was frozen to it. I ran in and got a glass of warm water to pour on to melt him off. He started pulling and the first glass wasn't warm enough. I ran for a warmer glass of water and was able to get him detached but he was bleeding and left a bit of tongue on the pole. Teach your children about that danger!

Still, there are a lot of good things about 25 degrees below zero. Soup tastes really delicious. That is not always true in July. Freshly baked bread smells like heaven. OK, that IS true in July but still... There are no bugs bugging us right now.

25 degrees below can be quite beautiful. Yesterday, on my way to work, I saw the biggest sun dogs ever! If you don't live in cold country you may not know what I am talking about. I'm sure there is a scientific name for this phenomenon but I know it as sun dogs. When there are a lot of ice crystals in the air the sun reflects in a way that makes it seem as though you've been transported to a planet with three suns. I was in traffic when I saw them yesterday and couldn't find a good viewing spot to pull over but I found a lot of great sun dog photos at Google Images.

(credit to gopherboy2956)

The ones I saw had even more of the rainbow colors mixed in. They were absolutely gorgeous! 

At 25 degrees below zero you pray that there is no wind.  Luckily, it has been quite still here this week. That almost never happens! There is always something for which we can be grateful.

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