Monday, January 14, 2013

intersection of hell and dumbass

I don’t know if all of you are familiar with the convenience store chain “7-11”.  Not sure if it extends all the way past the Rockies.   Not much special about it.  Even the name, open 7 to 11 if I’m not mistaken.  The Japanese did own it ( they still might, although given their problems, who knows ).  But the name did slip into my mind this morning as it was the seventh work day below zero, out of a total of eleven days this winter in that temperature range.  And it isn’t just going into work at those temperatures, but working all morning outside in them.  Yes, there are a few places on Earth that are colder.  Antarctica, Siberia, above the Artic Circle and in Wisconsin and Minnesota.   None should be places sane humans want to live.  All are Communist controlled except Antarctica.  The only thing one can like about them is the resource extraction.  So, how much of a dumbass am I for living here?  The worst winter in about fifteen years, so they say.  A winter hell.  I don’t mind cold and snow and high elevations, but once the “normal” temp is below zero they quickly lose their appeal.   Every winter here, we saw, at most, about two days below zero.  Not only did it not last for more than a day, that very morning it got a lot warmer.  Not now.  Cloudy, windy and fifteen below, and the high that day is about seven. 
So, as you might imagine, most of my previous winter preps are being pushed to their limit.  I’m bundled up like a pile of laundry and five minutes out my hands and feet go cold.  Actually, my hands are immediately cold and my feet take about fifteen minutes longer.  But by the time I get to work I’m so miserable, the only feeling in my hands and feet a shooting pain, I don’t warm up the rest of the day and curse and scream I’ll never stay here another winter.  That is what I was doing Friday while I was NOT writing at lunch.  On E-Bay looking for warmer climes.  Not that I’d move.  There isn’t enough time to start over, big picture wise.  I probably wouldn’t get a job, and I have no idea of how the local populace would be.  Not to mention over-population issues, border issues, future disease, blah, blah, etc.  But, I had a bee in my bonnet about the newest forecast calling for another half week of below zero and I’d already reached the end of my rope mentally.  I couldn’t handle being in pain for hours again.  Well, I at least had a moment of clarity in my desperation and once I got home I waded through all my stored winter clothing and found better stuff for coming to work today.  Most of it I had forgotten I owned.
For years I’ve only worn one pair of wool socks with my Sorrels, always having heard that more would make your feet sweat and your feet would get even colder.  Perhaps that is while walking, because I wore two pairs this morning while peddling and my feet stayed much warmer.  A difference of cold/uncomfortable compared to the old painful.  I took one pair off once I got to work, and my feet stayed warm all morning ( helped, I’m sure, by wearing the fur cap “rat cap” or “commie cap” in and out all morning ).  As for my hands, I’ve been using military glove inserts of wool under a big pair of mittens.  I’ve tried the thin wool mitten inserts and I’ve tried the much thicker wool glove inserts.  Neither kept me warm.  I did find several pairs of rag wool mittens I’d bought years back.  I had bought them for inside the trailer, but they were so bulky they were impractical.  Well, inserted into the larger outer wear mittens, they kept my hands oh so much warmer.  I have a lot of the old military inserts, but I’ll keep those for wearing indoors.  The rag wool is the way to go ( most have the fold away flap to expose your fingertips, if that helps visualize what I’m talking about ).  The thumbs still got a lot colder, but my hand overall stayed a lot more comfortable.  My hands and feet have been abused for years in the cold, after I damaged them working all day in wet snow while wearing Southern California level clothing.  They are very sensitive to cold, so you should get even better results than I did with this gear.
The Bison Pit Of Doom suffered temperature wise during one four day period of minus fifteen low to single digit highs.  It dropped down to 30 and 32 in the pit, 36 low in the room.  We had to run the heater eight hours those days ( the heater is a low BTU output of only 3k.  But that also means you get 140 hours out of one five gallon propane tank.  Totally worthless up in the trailer, works like a charm in the pit ).  Once it got out of the Belows, the new low went back to the normal 40, the room 45.  One pot of coffee brewing takes it back to comfortable levels.  If we get one or two days Below, the pit stays the same.  It is that prolonged period that forces it down.  Of course, the outside door is crap, being a trash picked closet door.  Hey, I had totally run out of construction funds.  Come this summer it will get replaced with a true and level door that closes properly.  As it is now, I get a dribble of cold air through the door, and that certainly doesn’t help the inside temperature.  Needless to say, all canned goods in the trailer are frozen solid.  Thank goodness they were running low as the snow has postponed grocery shopping/car rental back three weeks.  Thawed out pork and beans are okay.  The beans turn to mush, but throw in a pound of fried hamburger to the can and you have a meal that tastes the same.  Thawed chili tastes like Lucifer’s Ass.  Thawed refried beans taste about the same.  Again, thank goodness for the pit.  And thank goodness my period of underdressing like a dumbass came to an end.
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  1. Dear Lord Bison,
    Man Up, put on the big boys' clothes. The Russians have a saying "There is no such thing as bad weather, only bad clothing." You seem to be proving them right.
    I only have one word to add...layers.

    Don't let Mother Nature break you. I will pray for you. Yes, I am going to pray for your protection and safety.

    Happy New Year!

    Jack Schitte

  2. Jimbo,

    You jest tryin' ta keep me and all those Cali nuts away from Elko, ain't cha?

    Remember what that Persian Prince said? Strong land makes a strong people. Man up, Bitch!!!

    Couple of quick tips. If your toes are all scrunched up cause of the 5 pairs of socks you are wearing, get bigger boots! Or get inserts that are 1 sized smaller then your old boots. This will leave a drop area your toes can "fall" into. It works.

    Also don't wear wool next to your skin. Use thin cotton. This saves time since you don't have to wash your wool socks as often. The cotton catches all that icky stuff, mostly...

    Got more but off to work I gotta go!

  3. I added Elko to the weather app on my Iphone. Take comfort that I will feel your pain when I look at it.

  4. James,
    Better you than me... It hit a balmy +45 F here in Anchorage (ALASKA) today. Been raining all day. It's supposed to hit 19 overnight. Gonna be hell getting to work in the morning.

    John in Alaska

  5. Here in Australia we are in the middle of the longest hottest heat wave in recorded history. So i guess that means the average temp of the planet hasnt changed much

  6. Another reminder of why I do not move back up there ! We lived near Boise for 17 yrs. out in the sticks and had a nice retreat out in the country too. Came to realize that once the oil was gone, it just plain would be a miserable existence !
    So here we are, stuck in Floriduh and we have swapped places with you Jim...
    Might get over run with the screaming Zombies, yet staying warm ain't one of the issues.
    Dig even deeper my friend and install a better door. Dig those heat transfer pipes in deep this summer ! The ground temp there below 6 ft. or so stays at 50+, so using it as a heat sink all summer will raise it even further. I built houses in Montana using this method which maintained 60+ with nothing besides a 100 watt fan circulating air year round. Can be done ! Just labor and some PVC pipe, the labor is free if it is yours. This method is your only viable recourse once the propane is no longer available! Otherwise GET THE HELL SOUTH SON !
    I am an engineer skilled in the ways of Thermo-Godamnics and you don't or won't see me living back in that God forsaken cold assed Siberia lol. Much to hard for old bones...

  7. Seems like a good time for a graceful exit from self imposed misery. Better now than in a rapidly approaching elderly phase. Picture your condition at age 68.....plan now.

    A revised plan could be justified with your above average brain power with little or no repercussions from the minions. None of them live in a hole and experience sub freezing living conditions.

    Relocation to a more temporate desert area makes sense. Use your connections in the food bank industry to explore other venues. Food banks exist in most areas, pick one and explore. Experience counts even in the charity industry. Impress us with revised plan that capitalizes on an above average IQ that triumphs over paranoia.

  8. Jim consider some muck boots, the artic sport are good to something like 50 below. I use the muck brit riders they are not as warm as the artic sport but they work well in stirrups, not to bulky. plus they come up to my knee and with a m65 jacket i feel like an SS officer.

    How far is your ride to work? I understand the frugal thing and all that, but cant you swing a vehicle or motorcycle or something for now? After the collapse you wont have a job to go to, so you wont need to leave the hole except for food.

    I know where your coming from i live in the cold too but i dont have a need to ride to town. If your out there and something goes wrong, your dead. a lot of people dont realize the outside temp is 50 deg. colder than the freezer in the house.

    the post you did a few days ago the PJ thing, was just outstanding! This one was ok too i guess :)

  9. Just had to add that 7-11 is world wide. Almost one on every corner in larger cities in Thailand and other asian places. I am south of you by the Grand Canyon and our temps were colder than those in Alaska the last week or so, and we were in the low teens at night/high 20's during the day so you must be hatin it. Keep on truckin and remember, teach a man to build a fire and he stays warm for a night, set him on fire and he stays warm for the rest of his life.

  10. Greetings Lord Bison - I spend a lot of time outside in rainy 40 degree weather. Polypropylene long underwear works great for these conditions. Insulates well and can be hand washed and hung up to dry overnight. It even insulates when wet. The winter weight might work well for bicycling in Elko.

    Bring on the reset!

  11. To fight cold weather our society has developed 2 methods -
    1) put in heat (burn something baby burn!)
    2) move to warmer climets (where it gets too hot during the summer so turn on the AC)

    I am glad to find you working the other two workable solutions-
    A) Acclimate as much as possible.
    B) Insulate as well as you can.

    The right clothes, tight earth sheltered construction, and allowing for your body to experience the outside enviroment are all the correct steps for what we will all _have to_ do in the future, good job getting a head start, but do work on doing them both better and let us know the results of what you discover.