The ass end fell off the thermometer last night.
Every few years it gets really cold here in Wisconsin. Not just “morons at football games with six beers and no shirts” cold, but actually bitterly cold. Dangerously cold. Cold enough that the local weather forecast stops giving you low temperatures and just posts pictures of sad looking brass monkeys. Cold enough that the police ride around using their loudspeakers to order people to “stay inside ya idiots or you’ll freeze yer balls off!” or words to that effect.
Not cold enough to cancel the football game, though. That went on last night as scheduled. This probably says something about the raging testosterone-dripping manliness of the players and the sheer evolutionary expendability of the people in the stands, who aren’t even moving around to keep warm.
Right now it’s about -20F here, if my calculations are correct – it’s a few degrees warmer than that on our thermometer, but the sensor is attached to the outside of the house and it always registers a bit high in the winter because of that. According to the handy Internet Conversion Machine that makes it roughly -28C, or roughly what NASA reported as the temperature on Mars last week (seriously, I’m not making that up). The windchills are supposed to reach -45F, which is just very cold in any scale on any planet. It’s a good day to stay put.
Fortunately we are between semesters down at Home Campus, so Kim and I can work from home. And the schools here in Our Little Town announced over the weekend that they would be closed as well, joining school districts across the state that way, so the girls can hang out here too. Not that we were planning to send them in with such temperatures anyway, but still – it’s nice to know I don’t have to argue with anyone about it.
We have tea. We have hot cocoa. We have blankets, books, the internet, and BBC America. The furnace is working fine. The electrical system is holding up. We’re good.
I spent yesterday getting ready – grocery shopping, gassing up the car, the usual sorts of things one does during these cold snaps. If I have to go out when it gets this cold I drag out my Big Fluffy Coat.
The BFC is a sort of mud beige color and, when worn, resembles nothing so much as a moldy pineapple. It’s also about twenty years old now, and getting so tattered around the edges that everywhere I go I leave a trail of floating down feathers behind me. It’s like living in a fairy tale, only with bird parts instead of breadcrumbs. The tattered bits are sufficiently ragged that repairing them is probably not much of an option, so for as long as it is this cold I will be trailing feathers.
But the BFC is nice and toasty warm, and I just can’t see spending the money to replace it when a) it works perfectly well and b) I only use it for a week a year, when I use it at all – it’s warm enough that when the air temperature is above 0F it’s actually kind of uncomfortable, and we don’t get completely subzero days every winter in this part of Wisconsin, just most years. Plus, at the current rate of feather loss, I figure I’ve got a good quarter century more on this coat before it loses its effectiveness.
So we're staying warm here. That's a good thing, on a day like this.