Holy Hell It's Cold

It's hard for me to really fathom just how cold it is here in the Portland area right now. I mean, my thermostat currently says 14, but what does that even mean? When you get to a certain point, it's really just "too cold to go outside."

This is amazing to me, especially considering just a few short months ago I was whining about how freakin' hot it was (see the whines here and here).

No more of that whining now. I used to think it being super cold was better than it being oppressively hot because a person can always get warmer by throwing on another layer of clothes or something, but it's very, very hard to cool off.

Scratch that - at 14 minus some bunch of wind chill you really can't warm up.

It's so cold the dog doesn't want to walk out into the grass to use the facilities because the concrete she has to cross hurts her paws. I feel bad for her, but it's not like I really feel like teaching her to use the toilet at he moment. Or ever.

I was watching the news last night and they teased an upcoming story about how to keep your car protected in this extreme cold (and yes, I know extreme is relative - but this isn't Alaska). How about park your damn car in the garage?! It amazes me how many people - who have garages, not everyone does - leave their cars in the driveway or parked on the street. Why? Because they have too much crap filling up the garage! Seriously...you are never going to use it. I know it cost money and you hate to get rid of it because it would be admitting some kind of failure in your own head, but the garage is for parking your car!

Sorry, no sympathy if your car doesn't start because you can't put it in the garage due to too much junk.

I work in a building downtown for my day job. Regular office building, full of cubicles. I'm lucky enough to have a window cube, facing the Willamette River with what really is a spectacular view of Mt. Hood. If this was an apartment, they'd be charging me a pretty penny to wake up to this view every day. Anyway, the building was built in the 70's, I think, and it doesn't heat very well.

Yesterday afternoon I was typing emails with frozen fingers. My fingers literally hurt from the impact on the keys because they were so damn cold. How is that even acceptable? I mean, I can walk into the bathroom - about 20 feet to the interior of the building - and literally be hot.

I guess I could wear gloves, but have you ever tried to type in gloves? Yeah, that ain't happenin'.

And the wind - wow. I could probably handle the cold without the wind, but that East wind chills your bones. I used to think that was just a saying, but after these past few days I see the truth behind it.

I walked around downtown Portland and the Pearl District a bit on Saturday morning while Wifey got her hair did, going to The North Face store, Kenny and Zuke's (cheesecake and pastrami! - not together), and then the opposite direction up to Melt on 21st and Johnson. It was about 28-30 when I started, maybe 33 by the time I was done. I had on layers, four on top and two on bottom, as well as gloves and stocking cap, and I generally managed to stay warm. Walking helped, as did the occasional stop in warm stores, but when I was in full contact with that wind it was amazing how much it literally hurt to take it.

I have this Windstopper jacket from The North Face that kicks a ton of ass - it works, get one - but of course that only covers my torso and arms. The pants I was wearing did an okay job, and my stocking cap kept my head and ears warm enough, but the gloves felt the wind go right through them. Moving kept my fingers warm enough...but my face? Moving a lot doesn't do much for your nose, lips, and eyes when faced with a bitterly frigid east wind that apparently is coming straight from the Arctic Circle.

I wear glasses, and even that didn't help much. My eyeballs were in pain when that wind blew, and my nose was chilled numb in about 1.4 seconds.

I could handle all of that, except for the pain in my eyes. I have never felt anything like that - not skiing or snowboarding, or anywhere else. Of course, then I'm wearing goggles - maybe that's why. Should I have been wearing those around downtown Portland on Saturday? Quite possibly.

The whole point I want to make here is it's cold. The weather people tell me it's the coldest it's been in a long time. This is also the year of the hottest summer on record, when it hit 107 in July.

Seriously, what the hell is going on here?! These are epic temperatures in Portland, and they can't be blamed on something like El Nino or La Nina currents. How many other calendar years had 85 degree swings in the temperature within a few months?

Again, I don't know if this has to do with global warming, but no matter what anyone else tries to claim the temperatures in Portland are getting more extreme. It could be normal, it could be something that has always happened, but it clearly does not happen often and it's not something that can be explained away by 10-year currents like the Spanish girl and boy. This is something bigger.

Maybe we just haven't lived around here - the Portland area - for enough years to see the full cycle. I'd buy that, but there is literally no way to prove it (I suppose advanced scientific research can tell us these things by examining rocks and the like, but to my knowledge that hasn't been done).

Is this a natural cycle, one we just haven't been around for the full circle on? Or is it something more, perhaps being contributed to by man's love of creating greenhouse gases? Or is it literally a one-time aberration? Can we ever really, truly know?

The one thing I do know is it's really f-in cold. And we've got two more months - at least - of this crap to get through before it starts to really warm up. I so need to win the lottery and move to Maui.


  1. I'm with you on that one! I use my fingerless gloves at the office and I don't think I took my jacket off this morning until close to 11

  2. Nice. :)

    You know what I forgot to mention? The cold air that turns you into an icicle from the inside out when you take a deep breath. That's painful too.