Monday, February 10, 2014

Brrrreaking Out of the Cold

We finished listening to the weather radio early this evening and heard the synthesized weather voice say the words "bit er lee cold" once again.  We've been hearing that a bit more than normal this year, so we can at least be mildly amused by the enunciation peculiarities this voice exhibits on a more regular basis.

On the other hand, it reminds us of the phrase "except higher amounts in thunderstorms" that we heard so much in 2010.  Or the continuous list of warnings and hydrological reports we heard in the flood years of 2008 and 2010.  Ok, you get the point.  Except that wasn't where I wanted to go with this.

We have gotten much more snow in prior years
The forecast is for a low of -21 degrees Fahrenheit tonight.  We'll grant you that this is cold.  But, Tammy and I had an experience in one of our former homes that provide us with a fallback whenever we start to feel put upon by cold weather.  All we need to do is look at each other and say - "Duluth."

Now, before you think we are about to bash Duluth, Minnesota you should know something.  People who live in Duluth are proud of their ability to handle the weather up there.  We learned that if you think it's too cold when you live there, you just keep it to yourself.  Why?  Because, those who live there will tell you why what you are experiencing isn't so bad.  In short, they'll make you feel like a wimp.  Besides, it isn't as cold by the lake as it is by Embarrass, or maybe Tower.  If you want cold, you go there.  Or maybe Hudson Bay.

At least Mother Nature can wear nice clothing in Winter
We lived in Duluth for just about one year.  And, of course, our time there included a Winter that started with snow in September (not a rarity I am assured) and one of the coldest Winters they had experienced over the past 25 years.  It was the first time in 25 years that Lake Superior froze over.... completely.  Yes, we can pick them, can't we?  It even made the news in Duluth.  So, if the natives said it was something special, we have a right to pull out the story I think.

It seemed like the sun in Duluth was never much higher over the horizon than this.
Of course, for the sake of the good story, I can exaggerate a little bit (like I did with the caption above).  But, thus far I have not stretched the truth in anything other than this caption.  And, what makes this even more enjoyable is the fact that I don't need to do anything other than report what happened for the desired effect.

It was January and Rob needed to get to the University of Minnesota - Duluth for classes.  We lived in a drafty old house that was just a block from the lake.  UMD was on the hill and over the hill (so to speak).  This is important to know because weather by the lake could be very different than weather "over the hill."  However, this Winter, it didn't matter much where you were, the temps were pretty cold. 

In any event, Tammy would take Rob up to UMD most mornings and we would drive by one of the bank signs that would display the temperature.   This, in and of itself, speaks to both the toughness and/or dementia that people who live in Duluth exhibit.  Only someone who wants to wallow in their own misery wishes to see temperatures that always exhibit a negative sign in front of the numerical reading every single day, all day long.

During this particular week, we would go out and start our car and make sure not to make mention to each other about how cold it was.  But, as we drove by that infernal sign, we could not help but read the bad news OUT LOUD to each other.  Well, what would you do if you saw "-35" on one of these signs? 

Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday, Thursday.  Each day we would drive by and see that same temperature on the sign.  We thought at one point it might be broken.  But, Tammy would see different numbers with that stupid "-" in front of them at different times of the day as she ran Meals On Wheels.  So, that wasn't it.  And, of course, it was a bank sign.  They aren't noted as being the paragons of accuracy.  Nonetheless, it was cold.  And, a check with historical records that year does show the lowest temp for that month at -33.

We went outside on Friday and we both looked at each other with a bit of surprise.  It felt warmer.  In fact, we both said something about how much nicer it seemed.  I don't think either of us was about to suggest a hike up 7 bridges road at that moment, but we were both convinced that it was warmer.  So, this time as we headed up the hill towards the sign, we were anxious to see if we were right.  And we were.


Yep, that's what the sign said.  And now you know.  A human being can feel the difference between really cold and really really cold.

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