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Wednesday, January 14, 2009

TCC for 1/14/09

The Caretaker's Concern 1/14/09

Ghetto temp. 46 F.
Island tmp. 11 F. Today's L/H: 7/11 F.

Current conditions: Slight breeze from the North North West, deeply cloud covered sky, very dark night, oh, and it's COLD. A bit of a breeze throughout much of the day, rather sunny in the morning, became progressively cloudy as the day wore on. The Caretaker wasn't outside all that much, but when it was sunny and out of the wind it wasn't too bad, but once the clouds blocked the sun the cold was so very omnipresent.




The forecast for tonight is for a low of -1, tomorrow night it's supposed to go down to -19. If tomorrow night's forecast is accurate this will probably be the coldest it's ever been for the Caretaker here on the Island. However, chances are it won't get that cold here on the Island, so far the temperatures here have been warmer than on the mainland. Compared to the temperature readings at GG's house which is on the shore but at least 30 feet above Lake level there has been about a 10 degree difference, the Island being warmer. So perhaps tomorrow night it will only go down to -10, whatever it turns out to be the Caretaker will be sure to share it.

The Caretaker certainly likes the cold and the snow but he doesn't really need it this cold however he's not complaining, this frigid blast has been great for ice on the Lake. The Caretaker hasn't gone out to check but he expects that most all of the Lake has frozen over by now. There is one part of the Lake that usually takes much longer to freeze over, it's just South of the mouth of the Narrows. It's often the last place to freeze over because it's where the water currents from the North West Bay and the main Lake join and it is also one of the widest parts of the Lake so it is rather exposed to the winds which keep the water churned enough to slow ice-in, at least that's the Caretaker's theory. Whatever it may or may not be a result of with the way the temperature has been these past few days chances are that section of the Lake has more than likely frozen over. The Caretaker is planning on skiing over to the mainland tomorrow to post some letters however it is not likely that he will make it over to the Narrows to check the conditions of the ice over there.

There isn't all that much for the Caretaker to report on today, he spent most of it composing letters. So, perhaps this is a good time to share how it is the Caretaker manages to keep warm in such weather. Whether it's day or night the Caretaker wears long underwear. The only time he doesn't is when he's taking a shower or if he knows he will be going to the mainland and will be inside a structure for a lengthy amount of time. Living in a decidedly cold climate his body is accustomed to generating a fair amount of heat so if he's inside a structure that maintains a civilized temperature he gets rather hot and uncomfortable rather quick if he's wearing his usual amount of clothing that he wears while here on the Island. During his waking hours in addition to long underwear he wears another layer of clothes, if he knows he's going to be outside but just walking about he'll wear a pair of jeans, a shirt, jacket, hat and gloves. If he's going to be inside for most of the day he'll wear a pair of flannel lined jeans. If he's going to be at his desk for any length of time he'll also wear his goose down hat, down booties, and down house coat. He looks sort of like a puffy clown when dressed as such, but is rather toasty warm even when the Ghetto gets down below 40 degrees.

So far the Caretaker has spent the entire Winter thus far sleeping with no heat. He's got a system that keeps him rather toasty warm throughout the night, in fact there are times when it has become a bit too warm in bed. For staying warm while asleep in addition to long underwear he sleeps in either a pair of heavy weight flannel sleeping pants or heavy weight sweatpants, and a hooded sweatshirt. In addition to the hood he also wears a knitted hat. Usually he wears just one pair of socks but sometimes he'll wear two pairs. Sometimes he will also wear a fleece face mask, the type one would use while skiing, it's really rather warm and cozy. The reason the Caretaker is spending this Winter sleeping with no heat is because he wants to lower his carbon footprint but also because he prefers to go for heating fuel as least often as possible so the less he burns the less he has to get. When the Caretaker first decided he was going to have a serious go at sleeping with no heat for the Winter his original plan was to obtain a heated mattress pad but since that runs on electricity it would totally defeat his goal of lowering his carbon footprint. Instead he opted for getting ahold of a down comforter. His bedding consists of a few layers, the bottom layer is an army poncho liner followed by a thin cotton blanket that is then followed by two fleece blankets, lastly is the down comforter and that's it for blankets. As far as bedding that's basically it but there is one other thing which is key to the whole set up: two, two quart hot water bottles. Every night before getting in to bed he heats water on the stove to fill the water bottles with, after his bed is set up he puts the two water bottles under the covers one down at the foot of the bed the other where his torso will be and keeps them in for a while before getting into bed for the night. By the time he gets into bed it is rather toasty warm. The hot water bottle trick is something he struck upon during his first Winter here on the Island. For the past three Winters the hot water bottle trick was a welcome addition but not all that necessary, that was back when he kept heat going through the night. However this Winter with no heat and especially with the recent frigid temperatures the hot water trick is an absolute necessity. Once or twice the Caretaker tried sleeping without them but his bedding was so cold that his body heat couldn't really warm up the bedding.

Some people have suggested getting a dog to heat the bed, dogs require way more maintenance then hot water bottles and besides, dogs don't usually like to be carried around inside one's robe, at least large dogs certainly don't and a lap dog wouldn't provide much in the way of body heat. Not to mention that the Caretaker would probably get in trouble with the ASPCA for animal cruelty to have a pet living in the sort of conditions that the Caretaker resides in. Others have suggested a woman, that hasn't happened for the simple reason that most women are smart enough to know not to put themselves through such circumstances.

"Hey baby, wanna come back to my place? I live on an island."
"Really, that must be nice, what's it like?"
"No running water and not much in the way of heat."
"What are you stupid?"
"Uh... sort of."

So as you can see a woman isn't an option either and so that is why the Caretaker goes the hot water bottle route. With the insulation from the down comforter the water bottles actually stay warm all through the night so much so that he "wears" them outside in the morning. When the Caretaker gets up before sunrise and it looks like it might be a good opportunity for photography the first thing he does after waking up is to go outside with his camera. Since his bed clothes are still rather warm he'll just put on some boots, throw on his robe, tie it tight at the waist and stick both warm water bottles inside the robe at his chest. If the Caretaker does a lot of shooting he will often work his camera with bare hands, having the two warm bottles at his chest provides him a warm place to put his hands when they need to warm up a bit.

This "technique" of his works rather well but not so much so for long periods of time due to the weight of the water in the water bottles, the Caretaker found this out not too long ago when he went out in the morning far earlier than he needed to. As the early morning light was creeping across the sky it continually looked like it was going to be a rather impressive sunrise and so he felt he should stay out in the cold to try and get some photos. In the end the sunrise itself wound-up being rather flat, the Caretaker did take a number of photos but they really didn't have much to do with the early morning light, in the end he was out in the cold for about 45 minutes carrying around about a gallon of water on his chest. If the Caretaker recalls correctly a gallon of water weighs about 8 and a half pounds. By the end of the 45 minutes that the Caretaker was carrying around all that extra weight at his chest his back was killing him. From this experience the Caretaker has this to say:

"Large breasted women, I know your pain."

Now granted the Caretaker's experience with being top heavy was only for but a brief amount of time however something did occur to him. The real problem of being well endowed is not so much the amount of weight but rather that it is unbalanced. The Caretaker thinks he has an idea to provide succor to all those women who suffer under the weight of their own breasts. The Caretaker would like to lend a hand in lightening your load, oddly enough it's by adding more weight. Now obviously the Caretaker is certainly no expert in this sort of thing and chances are somebody has already thought of this and even tried it out only to find it doesn't really work but the Caretaker will mention it anyway: adding weights to the back of the bra will counter balance the load keeping it more centered and thus easier to carry. If anybody happens to know if this has already been tried only to find it doesn't really help please let the Caretaker know because until he hears otherwise he will begin designing a "training bra" for large breasted women. The system will allow for the increase of counter weights to be added slowly over time so the body can readjust to the centering of the breast weight.

--The Caretaker

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