Friday, February 1, 2008

It's COLD's cold here! I don't think it has gotten above zero at my house for a few days. We are in the shadow of the Chugach mountain range and we don't get any direct sun, unlike most of the Mat-Su Valley and the parts of Chugiak that are near the Cook Inlet. It was almost -10 this morning when I fed on my way to work, and it's just about there again. It's currently 6:24 pm and the sun has been totally down for about an hour.

It was -4 last night when I ran the dogs at the trail, but I was dressed appropriately. I stopped to talk to Bryan Bearss while I was out, and he probably thought that I looked like some sort of freak show (Matt always says that I look "Chinese" when I go out to the trails because everything is brightly-colored and nothing matches. Hey, you can't be choosey when it's freezing-a** cold outside.) Last night, I was wearing fleece leggings, insulated ski pants, and arctic quilt lined Carhartt overalls, along with two long underwear shirts, a shetland wool sweater, a down jacket, and a fox fur hat. I was just fine except for my mittened hands, which got chilly on the short 2-mile run. (The dogs did great, by the way. I only stopped them one time, and that was so they would be rested and ready to charge up a little hill that has been slowing us down lately.)

Being dressed appropriately to feed is a whole different matter. I will readily admit that I am the type of person who likes to do things the EASY way (as long as that's an appropriate thing to do. I still like to do things CORRECTLY.) I tend to feed the sled dogs on my way to the car to leave for work in the morning. Since I am the office manager, I'm usually dressed casually but I try to look at least somewhat professional. This usually means a pressed shirt of some sort. So, picture me feeding the sled dogs in dressy jeans, street shoes, and a pressed shirt. Usually I have on a jacket or a coat, too. Yes, I do this even in -10 weather. I know, it's insane...but I just can't be bothered to get all suited up in the Carhartts and trudge around outside in snow boots. Being underdressed (most of the time) to feed means that I scurry around and get my business done promptly. It's not my time to socialize with the dogs -- that is later in the day. I just feed and get on with it (if Clover is barking, I do stop and stare at her until she stops. We are working on cutting that junk out. So far, she's doing REALLY well.) Sometimes, I feed the evening meal right when I get home from work, so this means I'm still in my work clothes and if it's -10 like it was tonight when I fed, that means I really get a move on!! This evening I wasn't wearing gloves, so my hands got a bit chilly. Feeding in work clothes also means that it's very important that my dogs know that jumping up on me is totally inappropriate and unacceptable. Nobody jumps on Mom anymore except for Clover, who arrived with that tendency. She is also improving in this area, but she still has a ways to go.

Yes, in any dress, -10 is brisk. It's the kind of weather that makes your fingers turn into what feels like fat, frozen sausages. It makes the breath freeze on the hair framing your face. It makes metal painful to touch with your bare hands -- and you'll realize this in less than one second after you do it! No, -10 is not my favorite weather...but it's part of life in Alaska. And I DO like that. :)


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