Feb 6, 2009

Counting on Spring

Yesterday was above freezing for a couple of hours. I went outside, for a few moments, without sealing myself up like a walking refigerator and tossed frisbies at my dog for an hour before driving the cage to work. I think we've had three days that warm since sometime in December. The good news is that I've finished my attic studio remodel, cleaned up most of my basement shop, tweaked my video gear for next summer's projects, and we'll probably have the bathroom remodeled before spring. The bad news is that my garage shop is a disaster zone from dashing to the Shopsmith, carving out whatever woodwork I'm in the garage to do, and dashing back without cleaning up the mess because I'm more concerned with frostbite than order. It will be June before I get all the crap tossed out and all the tools restored to their proper places. Unless I decide to re-side the house, then the shop will be a disaster until next summer.

I tried to start the dirt bike, to take a winter lap around our snow covered frozen lake, but the Sherpa wouldn't fire. It burped, but it wouldn't go. The V-Strom fired up, but I'm not man enough to ride that monster on ice.

The first hint of possible spring came today, though. I bought some motorcycle gear; a new Aerostich heated vest. I've been thinking about a heated vest since I frosted my butt in the Yukon two years ago. In a couple of days, I'll have one. I may hook it up to my cage to cut down on heater fan noise on my drive to work until I can use it on the bike. I am, officially, tired of being cold.

Aerostich has been mailing me taunting sale ads for heated vests since I decided I wanted one. Until now, the discounted vests were gone before I managed to log on to their website. Yesterday, I beat the rush. I'll admit to being cheap. I'll even admit to being irrationally cheap. I have an aversion to paying list price for anything. Honestly, I'm really fond of buying used for a fraction of list price. I'd buy used food if I could digest it. Disgusting, right?

This time of year, it's hard to remember what it is I like about Minnesota. It's dark, cold, dangerously slick, and uninspiring. I get up in the dark and go home in the dark. I'm cold inside and outside, especially outside. Yeah, the cold keeps the riff raff away, but I may be riff raff. I can't remember the last time I was actually warm, outside of when I'm in the shower. If my shower time keeps extending, by May I'll have gills.

I had a dream, a couple of days ago, about being on my dirt bike in the middle of nowhere in North Dakota. I was stopped in an abandoned town that was overgrown with weeds and the buildings were slowly going back to nature. Other than the wind, it was dead quiet. The town's roads were all but returned to the earth, with huge cracks in the remaining bits of asphalt sprouting grass and dandelions and thistles. The main street brick road was heaving and cracked. Power lines were drooping across the roofs of houses and some of the poles were on the ground and others were heading that way. The town was completely abandoned, all of the residents were dead or gone.

I think my bike was either out of gas or busted. I wasn't worried or upset. I was warm. The sun was shining, it was a beautiful June day. I had my gear off of the bike and was setting up a campsite. I had food, water, and I was warm. In fact, I was sweating a bit. Ok, I was stranded an unknown number of miles from help, but I was freakin' warm. It felt so good to be warm that being stranded didn't seem like much of an inconvenience.

I may wear my new heated vest around the house until June.


Anonymous said...


Can’t believe you haven’t had a vest. Hey, get with the 90s.

A vest transforms everything. You will see. It’s even bigger than that.


Anonymous said...

I used to want to ride to Churchill, on Hudson's Bay. Then I went to the races and, mentally at least, stayed.

My parents went to Alaska for the summer of 1952. We flew through the Brooks Range in a Cessna 170 on floats, and we fished for anaklik in the Colville River delta. There is no emptiness more profound than looking shoreward past a long succession of high arctic beaches, created long ago at higher sea levels. All is flatness. Dwarf willows grow 6" high, and the ptarmigan are everywhere. And mosquitos.


T.W. Day said...

Ok, I'm cheap. Get over it. My ancestors managed to sail ships across the ocean, ride horses or walk across the continents, and drive open cars in blinding snowstorms without any form of external heat. It seemed to me that I should do no less, but it turns out that I'm just cheap, not brave. When the right price came along, I blinked and bought.

I missed Churchill, but I did see a bit of Hudson's Bay this past summer. You should do it. It's worth the discomfort.