Mandan News

Overcoming adversity

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Okay, so after dystopiating both of my loyal readers last week, I’m wondering where we’ll end up this week.

Noting that you’re still here, I’ll just keep going until we get somewhere. Like most folks around here, I’ve spent the last few months complaining about the weather. It’s not only been cold, it’s been life threatening cold, and unlike most sane folks, I can’t think of a day that I haven’t been outside in it.

We’re still working on my son’s house; hopefully the sheet rockers show up on Tuesday, and get the ceiling up so we can insulate and turn on the heat. For those of you who’ve never been in a construction area during the winter, the temp inside is the same as it is outside. The difference is that there’s not much wind inside … just bone chilling drafts.

We run propane and kerosene heaters so we can occasionally warm up our hands, otherwise the heaters roar but they can’t keep up with the cold that seeps through an open ceiling. Wally (the other father in law/social security recipient in this adventure) doesn’t complain much, but he still has hair so he’s more insulated than I am.

So as both my loyal readers have heard me say before, the trick to working outside in the winter is don’t stop working … standing around causes freeze up. The hardest part of the day involves making sure your stocking hat is tugged over your ears, your shoes are tied, your gloves are dry (I have 12 pairs in the truck), your hoodie hood is pulled up, and your parka’s zipped up to your chin before opening your truck door to a blast of terrorizing cold wind … argh! Most mornings the wind freezes your face during the 20 foot walk from the truck to the house … and most mornings it’s colder in the house than outside.

In short order, your nose let’s go and drizzles until you wipe it with your gloved hand, and then remember that you spent yesterday wrestling bats of fiberglass insulation, and your gloves are now coated with snot covered shiny yellow fibers. There’s nothing like starting the morning by adding an itch to a runny nose.

Once we start moving, it seems to take our minds off the cold until we get a break between tasks and are allowed to assess our level of hypothermia. Our finger tips usually freeze up shortly after our noses take off. The solution involves removing our fingers from the glove fingers and curling them into our palms. Sometimes we even blow on our hands in hopes that will revive them; when doing this remember to take off insulation coated gloves, or at least remember that the harder you blow, the more fierce the fibers will blowback into your eyes. Yes, life below zero can be cruel.

So, it’s now the first week in March, the temps barely made it above zero during February, and the forecast is still rather bleak as temps are predicted to remain in the single digits. The interesting part is that after four months of working in the cold, I’ve acclimated to my runny nose, cold fingers and layered construction costume.

Thus, somehow I seem to have gotten used to winter … but that sure doesn’t mean that I will ever stop complaining about it. Here’s hoping that you can handle whatever adversity you encounter.