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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Location: United States

Sunday, November 27, 2005

"Well, it was the Ice Capades and I was hot riveting my knee caps to Peggy Fleming's zamboni..."-Dr. Forrester, MST3K

No, your beer won't get warm in my garage if we're out working.

Alaska and cold. You think about Alaska, you think about how cold it is. Fairbanks has a climate that is unparalleled in the world. As a city, it has the largest low-high temperature range of any place on the planet, officially classifying the climate as "manic-depressive." The lowest recorded there is -65F, and the highest is 99F. If you do your math, that would make the average temperature here 17F. That seems about right.

But it does get cold. I've tossed a couple of pictures up that I took in the garage, showing just how cold it gets there. My garage is colder than your freezer, and my Dad can beat up your Dad, too. One nice thing about the garage being so cold, though, is that I can lick The New Boy's back and just stick him to any metal surface in the garage so he won't get into trouble. Okay, I really don't do that, since The Mrs. would take a baseball bat upside my favorite noggin if I did, but to me it's a great image - babies being stuck on the wall.

One thing that surprised me when we moved up here was the sheer number of people without garages. The Mrs. keeps her vehicle in the garage, but mainly that's because she is the one most often transporting (okay, almost always) The New Boy. It's good for her to walk into a warm car with her precious cargo and not have him stick to the seat like I stick him to the wall think about sticking him to the wall.

As for me, my vehicle is parked outside. There is just too much crap in the other garage stall for me to get my car in there. I would say that I'd have it cleaned out soon, but I know me too well. Major League Baseball will be steroid-free before I get to that one. You'd think another solution would be to obtain additional storage spce for my crap. No. Garage boxes multiply faster than bad poetry and hearts on a lovesick girl's spiral notebook. And that's fast.

Parking outside, though, is better than it sounds.

This is after I added the weatherstripping . . .

When I walk out to my car on a cold day, I can look up at the stars, and see the majesty of all things astronomical on some mornings. The car engine block has been preheating, so it's ready for me to put the pizza in, if you know what I mean (wink wink), when I get inside. There's a stillness at -40F that's hard to describe, a peace that descends upon the soul. It's also friggin' cold, so I don't tarry too long in my moment of Zen. I open the car door, and hear the screech of the cold metal of the door hinges unlubricated by the frozen grease. I then pop up onto the seat, and feel the unyielding foam, frozen to rigidity, beneath me. Only when it warms another fifty or so degrees will it conform to the shape of my hiney.

I then remember that unless I want to drag the house with me to work that I should unplug the car heater from the outlet before I drive off. I jump outside and do so. I jump back in start the car. The cylinders catch and roar to life, and the heater then begins to output a torrent of cold air from the frigid engine. I shiver. I also notice that my muscles tense as I sit in the seat, generating what additional heat they may as I prepare to move out. Perhaps this is partially responsible for my demigod-like physique. Perhaps it was the nachos and beer. I digress.

I notice that if I wish to play a CD, that won't be happening soon. The CD player won't spin fast enough until it warms up another twenty degrees to play a CD so Iron Maiden doesn't sound like Neil Diamond. In fact, the LED's on the front face of the stereo take several seconds to register when I've changed the radio channel. It's like there's a delay placed on my life so that my radio won't suffer from a wardrobe malfunction as it warms up. All due to the cryogenic wonderland of Alaska.

I then pull out onto a driveway as bumpy as John Travolta's film career. My day has begun. And, if all this has transpired and my body parts aren't stuck to metal parts like a baby on a garage wall, well, it's a good start.


Blogger Woofwoof said...

I just glanced at the weather icon on the left, and it showed -30F. I'm sure it's even colder in Celsius. That's at 6 pm and you have a whole night to go yet. Isn't that the temp when brain activities cease? You should know, with your Nobel prize and eveything...

7:24 PM  
Blogger Duck Hunter said...

do you keep emergency supplies in your car? Seems if you got stuck out there you may freeze to death.

8:10 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Nice pictures. Don't the tires freeze to the ground in the vehicle?

4:47 AM  
Blogger Heather Neely said...

Wow, that's cold. I just moved to Juneau this past summer, so I can't say I've really experienced Alaska winters yet!

8:34 AM  
Blogger Jill Homer said...

That's true cold, its purest form. I don't know when I'll have a chance to experience the 40 below air, but you've described it so well I don't think I'll try yo.

11:30 PM  
Blogger the Witch said...

Lick child - stick to wall

- that's just too darned funny....

3:17 PM  
Blogger John said...

Yup. Getting soon to the point where, night, day, what's the difference? Still dark and frigging cold.

As for the brain activities going out, well, that's the beer.

The Nobel (and the MacArthur Prize, hint, hint) looks great on the wall.

That's the next post. And, you are right.

Nope, no liquid water. From time to time they may get so cold, though, they go out of round . . .

Yeah, cold up here. Nice, though, keeps the snow-mosquitos down.

Yeah, it's a different experience. Have to breathe slowly. Otherwise you get arrested for stalking. Or your lungs freeze. I forget which. Speaking of that . . . when is that court date?

Yeah, the visual is what makes me laugh, a bunch of babies wriggling on my garage wall. But! Not near the table saw.

10:19 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Hey, nice blog. I visited a freind up there in your cool state about this time of the year last year, but it wasn't that cold. Did you ever flash freeze water? (Boil some water, yank it off the stove, toss it in the air outside and watch it snow? Its never gotten cold enough down here in PA for me to try it myself) I enjoy your writing style (I'll write you in on my McArthur ballot) and am captivated by your stories. Keep up the good work.

2:48 PM  
Blogger John said...


Yes, I'm planning on posting a video of that in January . . . it is amazing.

Thank's for the MacArthur vote . . . each one helps in my quest to have no mortgage.

11:37 PM  
Blogger dogsled_stacie said...

Hey, great entertaining blog!! I'm next door in the Yukon and it's "only" -30C (-22F) right now. I don't mind the -40C or F, it's kind of fun. For a day.

I've never heard of the flash freezing water thing Loren suggest. I'm gonna give it a try!

9:59 PM  
Blogger . said...

The snow is so beautiful, but I hate it too!

What a truly double edged sword.

Wicked blog you have. Alaska rocks.

10:43 PM  

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