On Christmas Stuff, Automated Lights, & Cold Weather Clothing…

Happy (?) Monday! I hope you all had a good weekend. Hubby and I pretty much stayed inside, due to the super-cold outside temps. Saturday I spent most of the day/night crocheting and knitting, and Sunday I cleaned house and started putting the Christmas decorations up. It took awhile to get everything clean enough to decorate – world’s best housekeeper I am certainly not – but I managed to get the tree put up and half-decorated, which is pretty darn good, all things considered. Thankfully, we switched from a 7ft floor tree to a 4ft tabletop tree several years back, so I don’t have to move the furniture anymore. Just relocate a lamp, some plants and a few Smurfs, and we’re good to go. I’ll finish the tree and put up a few Christmas-y things in the dining room tomorrow night, and that will be it for the year. Plenty, really, considering I’ll just have to take it all down again in three weeks. 

Our outdoor holiday lights are seriously messing with me this year. We have a very cool staked outlet with six places to plug stuff in, and a digital timer/programmable console in the center of it all. When I put the lights up a week ago, I *thought* I set it to come on around 6ish, and go off around midnight. They came on okay, but never turned off, so for the past week, I’ve been manually turning them on when I get home from work, and off whenever the dogs go outside for the last time. 

Saturday night, I looked outside around 11:30ish, and they’d turned off by themselves. It seemed so unlikely that I actually went out and manually hit the button to turn them on/off, just to make sure we didn’t blow a breaker or something. 
So tonight (Sunday), I went out to turn them on around 4:30 or so, and I kid you not – the second I walked out the door, the lights came on all by themselves. And now it’s nearly midnight, and they’re still on. They’re messing with me, I tell ya. It’s ironic, I suppose, that someone who spends a good chunk of every weekday programming web applications can’t program her own light timer, eh? 
It doesn’t help that it’s been bitterly cold here this past week with sub-zero temps for a few days in a row, so going out to turn those lights off isn’t really first on my list of “want-to-dos”. We’re supposed to warm up this week, a balmy 15 degrees (f) above zero today (it’s after midnight now), and up into the 30’s by the end of the week. I was chatting with my buddies on FB this weekend about cold-weather gear, and how people in different climates have completely different wardrobes and views on clothing. It’s interesting, don’t you think? After that convo, I laughed when a fellow Montana writer who lives up near the Canadian border posted this blog post about her cold-weather wardrobe, which is a few more layers than we need here in the city, but not by much (and I know people even down here in southern MT who still go with all those layers, depending on their job). Our laundry tonight consisted of three loads instead of our normal two, due to the extra layers needed in these frigid temps. Nearly everyone wears at least two shirts in this weather, and a lot of people wear long-johns/thermal underwear under their pants. Two pair of socks aren’t uncommon, and big, heavy coats, scarves, hats & mittens or gloves for outerwear. Boots that cover the ankles are pretty much necessities when the snow gets deep as it has been. 
This is why, when I visited Florida last year, I had a completely wrong wardrobe for the trip. I neglected to take any shorts with me, and I certainly didn’t need the sweatshirt or extra socks I’d packed. My perspective was skewed, since 80 degrees in late October never, ever ha
ppens here. Crazy, isn’t it? Much worse though for those people in areas that don’t normally get cold who are getting it now. At least up here, we’re ready for anything. In the south and pacific northwest on the coast, cold weather like they’re getting now shuts everything down, because they have no way to deal with it (and, I’d imagine, no good wardrobe for that either). 
Though when you get down to it, the best way to deal with cold weather is really pretty universal. A cozy couch, a blanket to snuggle in, something warm to drink and a good book to read is all any of us really need to ignore the weather and get lost in another world. Right? 
In any case, with a new week comes…well, stuff that needs to be done. I made decent progress last week, but I’m still behind, so this week, more of the same: 
– Write three serial scenes
– Work on the holiday serial installments
– Finish audio-proofing project
– More cover art, if I have time
– The BSB newsletter
– Finish Christmas decorations
– Christmas cards (?)
– More afghan squares
– More work on my scarves in progress
And with that, I’m off to turn those dang lights off again and get some sleep. Away we go – stay warm, wherever you are!

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One comment on “On Christmas Stuff, Automated Lights, & Cold Weather Clothing…

  1. Ardee Eichelmann

    Jamie, I love your Christmas lights timer story but I hate that you have had to go out in the bitterly cold weather to turn your lights off and on. That sounds like something that would happen to me minus the absurdly cold weather. I loved reading the blog about how the woman dresses for outdoors work in Northern Montana. My mother dresses in a similar style for 40 degree weather in Arkansas. No, I am not kidding.

    My mom was in Rochester, Minn. a few years ago in January. She dreaded what the cold would be like but she says that zero degrees in Rochester is not as cold as 40 degrees is in Little Rock because of the humidity. As cold natured as my mom is there has to be something to that.

    I don’t know about humidity in Montana. Isn’t it dry there or am I way off base? No matter what the humidity is like all those degrees below zero have to be too, too cold.