Tuesday, January 11, 2011

Old Man Winter Beats Me up

It's tough to be beaten up by an old man. My buddy's grandfather used to pick fights in bars. He was about 89 years old and a mean miserable old cuss. Not only would he beat the crap out of young guys, he knew they would be too embarrassed to press charges. Who wants to admit in court that an old man beat him up?

Old Man Winter is beating me up and I'm not too embarrassed to admit it. This evening I was doing some work on my truck. Lately too much money has been spent on it and I have to cut repair bills somewhere. Thought it would be prudent to go through the electrical system -clean terminals, tighten connections, inspect wire insulation, check for wear -not particularly hard stuff, but time consuming.

There are times I really wish I had a heated garage.

Ever work with mittens on? The wrenches were cold enough to stick to bare skin. The spray contact cleaner kept freezing up. Dropped parts would disappear in the snow. Occasionally, I had to retreat back inside the house to thaw out.

Since it's winter in the North Country, it was dark before dinner. LED headlamps are great for working in the dark. Your hands are free. They are compact and lightweight. The light shins on whatever it is you are looking at. Nice.Until the batteries die.

Not a problem, I thought. I keep a good stock of replacement batteries. Unfortunately, my lovely wife tidied up. She consolidated our spare batteries into a nice central location, so of course, I couldn't find them. Personally, diffuse scattered storage is more my style. Before you scoff, be aware that it works just fine for squirrels. They don't have to remember exactly where the nuts are hidden. All they need to do is to check likely hiding spots. All my likely battery hiding spots came up empty.

My long suffering spouse found the batteries for me.

Back outside to the truck I went. By then the temperature was down in the single digits. The wind began to gust. The weird thing is that the wind could be heard coming from a long way off. It wasn't the sound of the wind through the branches but the sound of the wind snapping branches and whole trees. Cold frozen trees don't bend much. Instead they break with big cracks and booms. Pretty surreal all and all.

The job kept getting interrupted by the necessity of keeping the woostoves going. Don't want those to go out. Old Man Winter would come right in the house and beat me up in my kitchen.

Eventually, everything checked out and I could close the hood. Sure felt good to come back inside.



  1. Oy! I once spent two days changing a fuel pump on an old Ford truck with the wind chill in the minus forties only to find out I had water in the gas. In and out of the car every two minutes because I couldn't feel the wrench anymore.

    Ya gotta love the ladies though, they sure as shit are nicer to snuggle up with in the cold than a fucking dog.

    Sounds like ya got a good one, I am lucky too.
    Say howdy and make sure ya keep her warm and happy.

    You have heard the old saying, if Momma ain't happy, no one is.

  2. The worse outside job yet was changing a water pump at 30 below zero -not including wind chill, only to discover the replacement part was a factory defect too. Had to do the darn job twice.

    Yes, I have a very fine lady indeed.

  3. Sixbears,I use your spread out system my self. Some folks think I am disorganized,they just don't get it.I am going to go a few rounds with old man winter today myself,predicting 4-8 inches.My yuppies can't walk on snow God forbid!Stay warm Bro!


  4. I am having a hard time keeping warm this year. My body just doesn't like it anymore. Looking forward to spring :)

  5. The mean ole cuss used to beat on all of us younguns. I don't remember if he was ever affected by the cold or not, must have been the internal antifreeze consumed.

  6. It's funny, I've been running around in my heavy Carhart, with the hood on, gloves, two shirts, and my woolies under my jeans. The snowbirds are wearing shorts and light windbreakers. The freakin' high was in the mid 40s today with a 20 plus MPH north wind! I was freezing my butt off, but the snowbirds apparently thought it was downright balmy. Our metabolism must be different or something...

    On the flip side, I remember laughing when the Navy put out heat advisories at Great Lakes when the temp got to 90 degrees. In the summer, we have overnight lows in the mid to upper 80s down here. Just the way I like it...