Bullshitoween 2019

While the weather wasn’t as brutal as Whatthefuckoween in 2014, tonight featured a lovely fucking bastard of a snow and rain mix, and only a small handful of Trick or Treaters; my son, who has been talking about Halloween ceaselessly for weeks, tapped out after about ten houses. I kept my usual vigil in the driveway; while we no longer have the dogs to lose their damn minds every time someone rings the doorbell my anxiety issues are still juuuuust strong enough that I’m not interested in hearing the damn thing at random intervals all night long and I’d rather just brave the cold and be outside.

Total former student count: three. Level of joy at seeing the look on a kid’s face when you utter the words “you can take the rest of it” to them at 6:57 PM: infinite.

Here’s the thing, though: the last time we had shitty weather on Halloween it just snowed and left an inch or so of accumulation on everything. Today it has been raining steadily all day, it is going to continue raining for another three hours or so … and it’s then going to immediately dip below freezing and the temperature is forecast to be twenty-seven degrees at 7:00 in the morning tomorrow.

In other words, all of that water is going to freeze. And it’s going to stay frozen overnight. And the city of South Bend does not have salt trucks ready on October 31 or November 1. They are the same trucks that are currently kitted out for picking up leaves, and they aren’t going to be able to flip them all over overnight for one day of spreading salt on roads coated in black ice.

I would call even odds on whether we have school tomorrow, is what I’m saying. Because as slippery as the roads are looking to be, with no salting, it very well may be too dangerous for the buses to run. And as someone who has been advocating formally moving Halloween to the last Friday or Saturday in October for years, it would not bother me one tiny little bit to lose the day after Halloween to an ice day.

It’s still cold as hell outside

…just in case anyone was wondering. I walked out to the mailbox in jeans and a zipup hoodie a few hours ago just to see what would happen, and by the time I got to my mailbox my mustache had frozen.

I look forward to the inevitable videos tomorrow of people tossing boiling water into the cold air and watching it freeze. Maybe I’ll even make one. Just remember, folks: always throw your hot water downwind, and make sure that’s not where the cameraperson is standing.

In which I almost die because I’m stupid but then I don’t so it’s okay

I have made a number of very bad driveway-related decisions in the last 48-72 hours, guys.

BAD DECISION THE FIRST: I did not get up at five this morning to clear the driveway before going to work. This ensured that a day and night’s worth of wet, heavy snow was on my driveway– the type of snow that doesn’t basically disintegrate back into fluffy snow when the snowblower tosses it, but limply splats back onto your driveway a few feet away, ensuring that you just have to move the same snow over and over again and that the job gets harder and harder the closer you get to being done.

BAD DECISION THE SECOND: I did not clear the driveway of the relatively small amount of snow that had fallen in previous days either– basically I should have hit the driveway at least twice instead of zero times in the last four or five days– which ensured that under the wet, heavy snow is now a layer of hard-packed, days-old, repeatedly driven-on ice, meaning that at least twice I got a split-second holy shit I’m about to break my leg and die out here scare while clearing the driveway. Now, neither time did I fall and break my leg, but another inch or so of sliding either way and something really shitty woulda happened.

BAD DECISION THE THIRD: I had on my beastcoat. Understand that I have two articles of cold-weather outerwear: a “winter coat” and a Winter Coat. I wear my “winter coat” most of the time and I rarely button it. I am Of the North and the cold generally does not bother me very much, but all of the talk of fifty below wind chills over the next couple of days has somewhat thrown me off of my game. My Winter Coat is rated to sixty below zero, and I need you to understand that in the most literal sense possible my Winter Coat possesses no chill whatsoever. It’s a Carhartt, for those of who who will understand that. And I need to be careful when I wear it, because most of the time it’s way too goddamn much coat for what I need. For example, if I’m going to wear it in the car I cannot have the heat on. I’ll be sweaty by the time I get out of the car, even on a short drive. Opening the windows is actually not a bad idea.

Wearing this motherfucker outside, with a sweater on underneath, on what isn’t really that cold of a day (yet) while performing strenuous work– another disadvantage of the ice is that the wheels on the snowblower don’t work at all and I’m basically just ceaselessly shoving it through 6-8″ of, again, heavy wet snow– meant that I realized halfway through the job that I was feeling kind of woozy because of, no shit, impending Goddamn heatstroke.

Yeah. My wife wasn’t home yet and my son was inside by himself doing who knows what, so if I break a leg and then die in the driveway I’mma stay leg-broke and dead in the driveway until she gets home, because it ain’t like he can move me, or that he’d even look up from the iPad long enough to notice my dead ass out there. So I went inside for a few minutes, let my heart rate slow down, took off the sweater and the beastcoat, and swapped my soaked-in-sweat knit winter hat for a regular baseball cap. And then made …

BAD DECISION THE FOURTH, which was going back outside before mopping my stupid, covered-in-sweat body off. Because what with all of the sweating and dying from roasting myself alive inside my fucking Beastcoat I’d forgotten that, while not much by historical standards, it was actually fucking cold outside, and that you really do not want to be outside on even moderately cold days if you are soaking fucking wet. And while I can’t be trusted to say whether the temperature had actually dropped while I was inside– it’s not like I was feeling the actual air temperature anyway– I can sure as hell state with certainty that the wind picked up pretty substantially while I was inside, meaning that any residual body heat I had left was gone, gone gone within minutes of getting back outside, and I still had half the damn driveway to do. Eventually I had to come back inside and put a third hat on, and the first thing I had to do when I finally came back inside for good was mop off my beard, which is super fun.

On the plus side, now that I’ve survived all this stupid bullshit, warmed up and cooled off and dried off, I’m going to go take a shower and then change into sweatpants and a sweater and I am not going outside under any circumstances for the next three days, whether work calls off or not. Chicken soup time, motherfuckers.

In which we’re all gonna die

Eagle-eyed and observant readers may have noticed that yesterday’s non-music-related post went up at about 2:30 PM, which is a time when one might expect me to be at work. As it turned out, yesterday was a snow day; we got ourselves a nice little ice storm Tuesday that went through into the morning hours and basically every district nearby called out, so the boy and I were home together all day.

Honestly, I suspect that the cancellation was less due to icy roads than icy school parking lots; the walk to my car after work was genuinely fucking terrifying, and while the roads get salted and plowed all night, the parking lots of the many schools we have in town do not, and it only takes one person slipping and breaking a hip and then the district is out a huge amount of money.

Today, there was school. Tomorrow … well …

Twenty below zero wind chills is gonna mean no school tomorrow. There are legitimate safety issues with kids who walk to school or have to wait outside for buses when it’s that cold. It ain’t happening. I’m sure they’re gonna make us wait until 5 AM and all that like usual when they make the call-off, but … nah. It ain’t happening.

Next week? Yeah, this is next week:

JESUS CHRIST, WEDNESDAY, WHAT THE FUCK DID WE DO TO YOU?

Now, the 20 below thing tomorrow morning is wind chill. The temps on that image are actual air temperatures, meaning that Wednesday is gonna be fifteen below before the seventeen mile an hour winds get taken into consideration. I would not be surprised if we lost the entire back four days, and Wednesday and Thursday are Goddamn guaranteed unless the forecast changes substantially. That’s “the air is trying to kill you” territory right there.

So, yeah. If I suddenly stop posting next week it’s because the entire Midwest is frozen fucking solid. So we’ve got that to look forward to.

On that coat

c251b02839a49bab76294010e9a3ab40.jpgYou may recall that I bought a new winter coat on The Amazon the other day.  This is the coat in question, the Carhartt Men’s Big & Tall Arctic Quilt Lined Duck Traditional Coat.  Which is a hell of a name, but then it’s a hell of a coat.

We had subzero air temperatures yesterday morning (yesterday? Monday? Hell, I don’t remember) and way subzero wind chills and I had a variety of out-of-the-house errands to run, so I wore the new coat.

With a T-shirt on underneath it, and the coat not zipped up.  I had the hood attached.

I was overheated– not quite sweaty, but almost– by the end of the excursions.  This sounds like a bad thing.  It’s not.  It means that this sumbitch gives neither a damn nor a fuck about wind in the -20 degree range.  Which means it is exactly the coat I wanted.   There are plenty of pockets, the cuffs at the wrists are perfect— a frequent problem with oversized coats, since my arms don’t exactly match my chest and stomach– and the fabric on the outside is tough as hell and looks like it could probably stop a knife in addition to cold.

My only problem right now is that the hood is a little stiff and driving with it attached is kind of obnoxious because of how it pushes my neck and head away from my seat, but I assume that’ll loosen up and the hood is removable anyway.

Four thumbs up would wear again.  You folk who have Actual Winter where you live should seriously think about this thing.