2008.10.29 The Dorks vs. the weather

Written by David Green.

By DAVID GREEN

I’m really looking forward to Halloween. I don’t think I’ve been this excited about it since I was a kid.

I haven’t thought about a costume. I’ll probably just sit on the porch in weird clothing with my little ceramic dog and toss candy into bags. The dog enjoys licking the candy before it goes in each visitor’s bag. Some kids don’t like that and of course that’s when I score a point.

Thinking about Halloween gives me a warm feeling. I really don’t care about trick-or-treating. It’s heat.

My wife came up with the crazy notion of seeing if we could last until Halloween without turning on the furnace. We’re getting daytime highs outside in the 50s—well, until Saturday when it reached only 49—and I’m sure the hot water heater and appliances are giving off some heat, so we survive.

Between work demands and...well, other work demands, it seems as though we’re seldom here except to eat and sleep. And run in place every so often.

This is kind of fun in one way. I think I’m considered a wacko more often than Colleen, but this is her idea. She describes it as a game. A cruel game, perhaps.

Looking at the forecast, I’m not so sure we’ll make it through the heart of the week. It’s going to warm up into the upper 50s by the weekend—perhaps a balmy 59° for my time on the porch Friday—but by then we might have consumed all the Halloween candy for fuel.

I was thinking recently about the training I’ve had for this experience. It’s more than just the winter camping trip with Scoutmaster John Hay.

When I was growing up in the big house on Cawley Road, I wanted a bedroom of my own so I took over the small “sewing room” as the previous owners called it. I loved the place, but it had no heating duct.

I used a sleeping bag in the winter and that went fine until that one fateful night when the bag’s zipper came into contact with the prongs of an electrical plug that wasn’t snugly pushed into place. A rather shocking episode.

I made it through college in warm abodes, but then came a drafty room in Saginaw and the daily commute to work by bicycle in a Michigan winter.

After that was the little school house in rural Maine. It had a wood stove that did a good job of heating as long as the fire didn’t go out in the night. There were extremely cold mornings, and if I recall, the shower never got really hot, either. That cold Maine winter surely contributed to my hardiness this morning.

Next came a series of rooms and apartments in Portland, Oregon. Two were good; the middle one was not.

I had a short stay in an apartment near the downtown during a winter when Portland had some ice. I described the kitchen of my place as the only walk-in freezer with a view of Mt. Hood. What a luxury to glance out the window and see Hoody miles away to the east. What a mountain.

But I couldn’t look for long because it was literally freezing. The exterior wall of the room was all drafty windows. Through those windows I could hear the screaming next door, the threats of murder, as if they were standing right in my freezer.

After a couple of chilly weeks, I gave up my damage deposit and got out of there. I’ll bet the landlord used the money to fix the windows.

I guess I’ve stayed fairly warm in the subsequent years back home in Morenci. Winter mornings have always been a challenge since Colleen turns the thermostat way down when she goes to bed, then doesn’t get up until I’ve come down and raised it back up.

A friend of ours was doing the same “How long can we go without heat?” thing until a week or so ago when a friend of her kids came over to visit and she gave in.

No one has entered our home so we continue to tough it out alone. Colleen even mentioned Laura Ingalls Wilder last night and “The Long Winter” book. I reminded her that Laura at least had warm stones placed in her bed.

If we do make it to Halloween, I’m afraid that’s only going to encourage Ms. Leddy.

“Let’s go ‘til your birthday.”

“Let’s see if we can make it to Thanksgiving.”

I gotta go. I’m going outside to warm up.

  • Front.train
    WRECKAGE—Morenci Fire Department member Taylor Schisler walks past the smoking wreckage of a semi-truck tractor on the north side of the Norfolk and Southern Railroad tracks on Ranger Highway. The truck trailer was on the south side of the tracks
  • Front.sculpta
    SCULPTORS—Morenci third grade students Emersyn Thompson (left) and Marissa Lawrence turn spaghetti sticks into mini sculptures Friday during a class visit to Stair District Library. All Morenci Elementary School classes recently visited the library to experience the creative construction toys purchased through the “Sculptamania!” project, funded by a Disney Curiosity Creates grant. The grant is administered by the Association for Library Services to Children, a division of the American Library Association.
  • Funcolor
    LEONIE LEAHY was one of three local hair stylists who volunteered time Friday at the Morenci PTO Fun Night. Her customer, Aubrey Sandusky, looks up at her mother while her hair takes on a perfect match to her outfit. Leahy said she had a great time at the event—nothing but happy clients.
  • Shadow.salon
    LEARNING THE ROPES—Kristy Castillo (left), co-owner of Mane Street Salon, works with Kendal Kuhn as Sierra Orner takes a phone call. The two Morenci Area High School juniors spent Friday at the salon as part of a job shadowing experience.
  • KayseInField
    IN THE FIELD—2004 Morenci graduate Kayse Onweller works in a test plot of wheat in Texas. She’s part of Bayer CropScience’s North American wheat breeding program based in Nebraska, where she completed post-graduate work in plant breeding and genetics.
  • Front.winner
    REFEREE Camden Miller raises the hand of Morenci Jr. Dawgs wrestler Ryder Ryan as his opponent leaves the mat in disappointment. Morenci’s youth wrestling program served as host for a tournament Saturday morning to raise money for the club. Additional photos are on the back page.
  • Front.bank.2
    SHERWOOD STATE Bank opened its Fayette office at a grand opening Friday morning, drawing a large crowd to view the renovated building. Above, Burt Blue talks to teller Cindy Funk, while his wife, Jackie, looks around the new office. The Blues missed the opening and took a quick tour on Tuesday. Few traces remain of the former grocery store and theater, however, part of the original brick wall still shows in the hallway leading to the back of the building. The drive-through window should be ready for customers later in the month.
  • Front.make.three
    FROM THE LEFT, Landon Wilkins, Ryan White and Logan Blaker try out their artistic skills Saturday afternoon at the Morenci PTO’s first Date to Create event. More than 50 people showed up to create decorated planks of wood to hang from rope. The event served as a fund-raiser for miscellaneous PTO projects. Additional photos are on the back of this week’s Observer.

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