OK, before I proceed to regale you with tales of my frozen backside, I figured I'd tell you a little story.
So, it was November of 1985 and I was in Trondheim, Norway living as an exchange student. At this point I still didn't speak the language very well, and was really homesick.
So when a fellow exchange student who I had met at language school asked me to come to Stockholm to help her cook Thanksgiving dinner for her host family I jumped at the chance.
To get to Stockholm I had to take a bus to downtown Trondheim, then take a train. Seemed simple enough. I bought my ticket ahead of time and left the house with plenty of time.
But somehow I got on the wrong bus, so instead of going directly downtown, I ended up on the scenic route which took me all the way around the fjord.
Finally, the bus arrived downtown mere minutes before the train was supposed to leave the station.
I sprinted through the streets of Trondheim and literally jumped on the train as it was pulling out of the station.
So I'm sitting there on the train, hurtling through the dark - because in November it's pretty much dark all the time that far north - when suddenly it occurs to me... "Gee, I hope this is the right train!"
What I should have done at that point was to go find the conductor and ask if I was on the right train, but since my Norwegian sucked at that point, I was too shy to do it.
So I just sat there watching the frozen blackness speed by and hoped that I was going to end up in Stockholm and not some Lapland village north of the arctic circle.
So I'm sitting there feeling miserable and scared, when the train starts to slow down and comes to a stop at a small station in the middle of nowhere.
I look out the window, and (not kidding here) this is the sign that I see (OK... this photo was taken in the daytime when there wasn't a foot of snow on the ground, but it's the same sign.)
Yup... I had officially arrived in Hell! Well, Hell, Norway that is.
I couldn't help but burst out laughing. Fortunately the conductor came by a few minutes later, took my ticket and assured me that I was on the right train. Whew!
Anyhow, sorry for that little diversion, but I'm pretty sure the sign in the first picture was taken in that town. BTW - "Hell" doesn't mean hell in Norwegian... I'm not sure it's an actual word, but it probably means something closer to "luck."
OK... so back to the topic at hand. It is FREAKIN' FREEZING!!!!!
Actually, "freezing" might be overly optimistic since I don't think it's been above a blistering 14F (-10C) for the past 3-4 days.
Holy Moly! At these temperatures I'm pretty much cold no matter what I do. I can crank up the furnace, but after a few days like this, even the walls get cold and I'm lost in the land of Brrrrr....
I guess we all have different ways of dealing with the cold. CatMan, AKA the psychotic one, is out riding his bike today. I guess exercise does get the blood pumping, but seriously?
For me, the cold serves as a great motivator for long-avoided chores.
My first line of defense was to cook, because food makes everything better, doesn't it?
No really, this is a great time for making things like soup, or lasagna, or roasted chicken, or baked beans (all of which I made) or anything that needs to cook for a long time, because it helps to warm up the house.
My next course of action was to dig out my lightweight hat and fingerless gloves - not for going outside - you need the heavy weight ones there. These are for wearing around the house!
Then I fixed the waistband on my silk long underwear (which I'm wearing right now, or else I'd take a photo for you.)
I also decided to cobble together some window coverings to keep it warmer at night. As I mentioned in my attic-fan-cover post, a few days ago, I had a grandiose plan of making insulated coverings for all of my windows, but I gave up after one because it was just too hard to sew them.
But since it was getting unbearably cold in here I decided to toss elegance out the proverbial window and just try to make something that would help get me through the next week or so.
My original plan included using Mylar space blankets to create a radiant heat barrier, and I did make one that way for the north window in the kitchen. Instead of sewing it, I just used duct tape to attach the Mylar to the insulated fabric (which was a hunk cut from an old bedspread.)
It worked OK... we'll see how long it lasts. But I ran out of duct tape so I decided that the other ones would have to suffice without the Mylar.
Sooooo... first I tried stapling it to the fabric, which works OK if you leave the cover in place.
But once you put any force on the staples (like to take the shade down) they just pull out.
Since I'd broken half a dozen sewing machine needles trying to sew it the first time around, I figured that method was out, so I tried sewing it by hand.
A thimble allowed me to push the needle most of the way through, but the problem was that I couldn't grip the needle well enough to pull it the rest of the way through, so it would just slip hopelessly through my fingers.
Then I remembered some rubber finger coverings that I'd seen somewhere, and thought maybe, just maybe this is what they were designed for!
Needless to say, I didn't have any rubber finger tips, and there's NO WAY I'm making an extra trip out in this weather... but I did have some rubber gloves and voila! Instant traction!
It feels sorta ridiculous to be sewing with rubber gloves, but hey, it worked!
I still managed to break one needle - even sewing by hand...
But eventually I managed to sew the Velcro onto pieces of old blanket that were cut to size, and then used a staple gun to attach the other part of the Velcro to the top of the window frame and now have make-shift window coverings that are keeping it MUCH warmer in here.
So tell me, what are your tricks for keeping warm when it's really cold out?