Wednesday, March 22, 2017

Dressed for Success (and cold)

This morning was cold, not just cold but ice in my mustache cold. I know, it is January and it is supposed to be cold, but that doesn’t mean I have to like it. Don’t get me wrong, I would never want to move to somewhere where it is not cold, I think variety is the spice of life and warm all the time would just be boring. That doesn’t mean I still can’t whine about it being cold.

My main complaint about the cold, aside from the fact that it is uncomfortable, is that cold weather makes everything take about twice as long as it should. This all starts with the rigors of getting dressed to battle the artic chill. Often, I am reminded of my very early years when my mother would bundle me up so I could go play outside. Now I get all the unpleasantness of dressing in cold weather gear without any help to put it on.

There is a certain order that must be maintained when dressing for the cold. Each layer needs to be put on in a certain way to accommodate the next layer. Any deviation from the process and uncomfortable bunching will occur. Shoes or boots must go on first. We have all experienced the pain of trying to put them on in full coveralls and heavy winter coat. I have enough trouble bending over to tie my shoes without another layer or two. OK, maybe this is a special problem of mine and if I lost a couple of my own layers it would be easier.

When the foot wear, coveralls and coats are on then it is time for the hat and gloves. Neither of which are hard to put on, but can be hard to locate. This is critical because you only have so long indoors before your outdoor clothing makes you start to sweat. It is amazing how hats and gloves can move over night. Once they are located you are ready to open the door and face the elements. After a long period of preparation.

There is nothing like that first hard slap of cold air. Hopefully you aren’t reminded of how many cups of coffee you drank earlier. I don’t care how hard you try, it is hard to walk fast in winter clothes. For that matter, it is hard to do anything quickly in winter clothes. The next hurdle is to open latches with heavy gloves on. Gripping anything with thick gloves is hard to do and but it beats cold fingers.

Then comes breaking ice. I am convinced that the simple act of breaking ice accounts for most of my lost time in cold weather. Before I am flooded with suggestions let me clear a couple of things up.  Yes, automatic waterers are a great invention. However, we are a low budget operation and while I dream of no freeze automatic waterers I cannot afford them. I also know they make tank heaters but I have this phobia about electricity, water and metal tanks. I didn’t say it was logical but I have a phobia, therefore I chop ice.

That act alone brings up many dilemmas, the most pressing of which is do you carry the ax around while carrying around feed buckets? That can be awkward and dangerous. Or do you go back around after feeding? That takes twice as long and results in wasted steps (I am also painfully aware that no extra exercise is wasted on me). In any case, the water must be opened up and that takes a lot of time.

Then comes the warming up of vehicles. If one is smart and organized (neither of which fit me) this can be done while one is feeding and chopping ice. However, in my case I sit in the pickup waiting for it to warm up or I scrape frost from the windshield. Yes, I know it is easier if the pickup is parked under a shed, but that would take cleaning the space out and that is the subject for another day. Once the pickup is warmed up comes the uncomfortable task of fastening the seatbelt. Once again, I am painfully aware that this may just be my problem and if I did not start with so many layers before I added bulky winter clothes that this might not be a problem.

This is all before I leave the barnyard and it only goes downhill from there. We haven’t even gotten to the tractor or climbing in and out of it. Or the task of removing twine from big round bales with gloves on. In the end a little cold weather is probably  good for all of us. Especially those of us insulated for the cold. After all, if I moved to a warmer climate what excuse would I have for taking so long to get things done each morning.

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