You know it's cold when.... Sounds like the beginning of a list of one-liners. The horse had icicles hanging from his whiskers this morning as the moisture from his breath froze on them. The dogs were very anxious to get into the barn for breakfast, and the chickens didn't move until at least 7:00. The thermometer registered -17 F. Yes, you read that correctly - that's 17 below. Actually, I think that's kind of a heat wave for this time of year when temps can dip to -40 for weeks, reaching a daytime high of -20. So we're having a mild winter comparatively speaking.
Of course any time we hit a cold spell folks always remember a time when.... take your pick of things from their life's experiences that happened at one time or another. My memory goes to a time when it was -40. I was in my bathrobe and slippers, opened the back door and stepped out to put a bag of trash in the garbage can. The door closed behind me. I hadn't turned the little doohickey on the inside that unlocks the door. So I was locked out. In the -40 cold. In my bathrobe and slippers.
A number of things went through my mind which were quickly dismissed - like walking to my neighbors house 1/2 mile away, like hotwiring the truck to drive to my neighbor's house 1/2 mile away, like breaking a window to get inside. That last idea seemed to be the only viable solution, although I envisioned hours spent cleaning up the broken glass, sealing up the window so all the heat wasn't sucked out of the house, and taking the door off in the spring to have the window repaired, not to mention the expense of a double pane thermal door window. I knew I wouldn't last long out in that cold so I hurried to the workshop, retrieved a hammer, and just before smashing out the window I looked heavenward and pleaded with the almighty, "OK, I'm about to break a window. If you have any better ideas please let me know now." In an instant a voice inside my head said, "Hit the door handle." "OK," I thought, "can't hurt to try."
Do you have any idea what metal is like at -40? It smashed into a hundred pieces with the first hit. The second hit popped out the latch. And voila! I was inside. I don't think I've had many times in my life that I was so appreciative of warmth, or of divine inspiration. And all it cost was a door handle.
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