Wilder by Far

A look at life with the Wilder family. Updated most weekends and some vacation days. You can contact me at movingnorth@gmail.com..

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Sunday, November 06, 2005

"Ooh, it's cold. Like that planet Hoth in 'Empire'." -Jay, Clerks, The Series



There's a reason I didn't buy the thermometer that only went down to -20.


Blue is the color of the Arctic.

The extension cords that we use to outside in these low temperatures are predominately a sky blue color. The hoses that go from the nozzle to the pump at the gas station are predominately that same blue.

They’re not made of the same stuff as is used in non-Arctic climates: these are rated to –65F. Common hoses and cords would break like your mother’s back after you step on a crack. These blue cords and hoses remain as supple and pliable as a drunk Scientologist down to a temperature lower than Brad Pitt’s IQ. And that’s low.

Another thing that is that same blue is the insulation that I used to insulate the hot tub. It’s not fiberglass – since fiberglass doesn’t work really well here. If there’s any moisture, fiberglass will soak it up, and soon just be an icy block with at bit of fiberglass in it. The blue foam is a closed-cell poly-iso-somethingorother. This blue foam is legendary in Alaskan construction, and I’ve seen the exteriors of some homes made up in this blue foam and Tyvek. Hell, for all I know the things are entirely made of blue foam and Tyvek.

When it starts to get cold, and pass some critical point in the atmosphere, tiny snowflakes can fall from a bright blue sky, shimmering in the sun like diamonds. Now, you might be confused, since I said that they were like diamonds. It’s really not a bunch of diamonds falling from the sky, that only happens at Madonna’s house. In this case, it’s just snow. But it looks cool. And you don’t have to smell Madonna. I always thought she’d smell like a garlicky old cheese. By old cheese, I mean stinky old cheese that smelled like Abe Vigoda’s feet. And that was after she took a shower. The Mrs. thinks that she’d smell like sweat and pepperoni, with a hint of cheap perfume. Either way, well, eww.

But, how Madonna smells has little to do with the weather in Alaska.

When it gets cold enough to be unusually cold, the air gets thicker than a good salsa. Cold air is denser than warm air, so it creeps around the countryside here. You can drive a mile and see the temperature drop 10F (that’s 200C) on a regular basis. The cold seeps under the doors, through cracks in the wall smaller than Brad Pitt’s IQ (just driving that point home). That means those are small cracks.

The cold flows. It follows the low spots, and oozes. We’re in a local low spot. It gets cold here, and the forest we live in traps the cold. Cold air stays lower, so the people who have the houses on the hills are typically 10 to 20 F warmer than it is down here. The little thermometer on the site is normally 10F higher than temperatures here at Casa Wilder. But, the folks in the hills have to deal with the wind. I can cut wood to warm the house, but beyond that, unless bitten by a radioactive Hillary Clinton, I cannot control the wind. One day in the last year, you could have called it windy here, and that was a 30MPH day of wind. That wasn’t winter, and it was easy to deal with.

Hill or valley? I’ll take the valley. But, I’ll sweatmby blonde butt off in the summer cutting wood for the winter.

We heat our house entirely with wood. We have a backup of an oil forced-air furnace, but resorting to that costs money, so we don’t do that. The Mrs. (mainly) and I (sometimes) bring wood up to the house. I mainly bring it in. We have a single wood stove that does a fine job heating the house, but you have to get up during the night to put wood on it. That’s okay, we have a baby and I have a job, so, not a lot of time goes by before someone shoves a few sticks in the fire.

Wood is a good heat source. I’m not “Green” by any means. But, I am cheap. Wood requires sweat and effort. It makes you strong, and you can’t keep a lot of weight on you doing as much work as we do cutting, hauling, unloading, cutting, and stacking wood. I still think I should charge Hollywood Starlets heaps of cash to come here and help me move wood – heck, you can see what it’s done for me.



The first actual picture of John Wilder on the Internet. Training method: hauling wood, drinking beer.

So, if you got tons of cash, let me know. I can help you knock off a few pounds. I’ve still got some wood I need to split. Heck, I’ll only charge you $150 a cord to split it . . . .

9 Comments:

Blogger Addicted To Chaos said...

Dude, how do you live in Alaska! You have a really funny style of writing. Never been to your blog before. By the way, wanted to ask you something. When you live so far away from the American mainland, do you in any way feel cut-off from the rest of the country? Is Alaska a lot different from the rest of the USA? I wonder because in my country, India, the people who live in the far north-eastern regions surrounded by China, do claim to feel that way. They even feel they arent getting as much attention as the rest of the nation, which I believe is true.

8:18 PM  
Blogger Woofwoof said...

Wow that's cold, and it's not even winter yet. Why did you get a thermometer that goes up to 120F?

8:41 PM  
Blogger Lady Luck said...

Laughing at woofwoof's comment before starting my own--Why did you buy a thermometer that goes up to 120F?

Nice analogies of Madonna...that was so random!

So where did you find the picture of the wood chopping imposter posing as you? LOL!

11:05 AM  
Blogger the Witch said...

Madonna and Tom Cruise called, they wanted to know if there's Kabala or Scientology somehow connected to your woodcutting workout.

They also both wanted to know how you knew what Abe's feet smelled like.

That aside...

Welcome to the pic on blog world.

11:24 AM  
Blogger Duck Hunter said...

I have to agree with woofwoof about the thermometer.

If I ever move to Alaska, I'm buying a log splitter. Then I would build a rail system to bring the logs from the pile to the door of the house. Then I would move farther south.

4:41 PM  
Blogger John said...

addicted,
Love it up here. Thanks!

Alaska is different than the lower 48, and a lot of the concerns that are in the papers down there just don't translate up here. It's actually nice that way.

woof,
Well, I guess the only way you can get one that goes to -60F is if you get one that goes to 120F. When I bought it, I only looked at the lower number. Like the high here is important. I mainly wanted one I could look at out the back window and do an Elvisish, "Dang, it's cold out there. Thankyouverymuch."

lady luck,
Thanks for noticing the Madonna. The Mrs. and I put that together.

As for the picture? Alaskans R Us.

witch,
Actually it's Kabalatology. All the financial shenanigans with 90% less religious content. Plus, you get to dress up as Marduk, our godling on St. Wilderday (Christmas to you pagans) and tempt him with supplications. Or cash.

Abe's feet, well, let's just say that there are some stories I'm never telling.

duck,
I've been making my own log splitter at home. He's five. Just nine more years . . .

As to the rail system, well, that's The Mrs.

South, like Anchorage? That's nuts.

9:10 PM  
Anonymous liz said...

I personally like that stage where all electric cords and cables are frozen into stiff wires. My school thought it would be a good idea to give people door keys on those coiled stetchy bracelet keychains (the ones like telephone cords). It worked great until they all snapped and broke in the cold. Plastic things are fun outdoors, too.

At minus 60 you can throw a cup of boiling water outside, and it will freeze before it hits the ground.

8:27 AM  
Blogger Aaron the Truck Driver said...

Paul Bunyan.. I mean John Wilder is carrying???

A cord of wood above his head?

I thought engineers were scrawny!

6:05 PM  
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11:26 AM  

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