Mark vs Cancer

Thursday, January 24, 2008

Going to Extremes

Ten days ago, I boarded a plane in frigid Salt Lake City with my young family. It was ten degrees and snowing as we took off and punched through low gray clouds into a brilliant blue sky. We zoomed through the icy atmosphere,but as we headed southwest, the clouds dissipated, revealing thinning snow cover melting into expansive deserts. After a shockingly incident-free flight (only one spilled drink, no crying baby), we began our approach into San Diego, which shimmered in vibrant greens, pinks, yellows and blues before us.

As we disembarked, we felt the warm sea breeze fluttering through the causeway. We scampered for our bags, then walked outside to catch our shuttle. The sunshine splashed in our eyes (Grant, Justin and I all sneezed in unison--ACHOO syndrome, our genetic affliction. Ask me about it sometime); the light and warmth quite literally took our breath away. Elizabeth and I couldn't stop laughing, gushing about how wonderful it felt. I danced a few joyous steps as I pulled our bags along, garnering suspicious glares from parked taxi drivers.

We then enjoyed a spectacular winter getaway in San Diego: the beach, SeaWorld, Legoland, In-N-Out Burger and mostly five consecutive days of blessed sunshine. Against my medical judgment, I allowed myself to get sunburnt, wanting a lasting mark from the sun before we trudged back to Siberia.

That's what Worland feels like these days: Siberia, or maybe some remote glacial plain in Antarctica where the penguins huddle together to survive the bitterest weather on earth, and if the father penguin lets the egg drop, then boom!, you've got a dead egg, just like that. (This is, sadly, an accurate analogy, as our poor chickens on the Gilman's Ranch continue to lay eggs that freeze solid and crack before we can retrieve them; I threw away twenty two cracked eggs today.)


Two days ago, Worland received the ignominious distinction on Good Morning America of being the coldest spot in America. We had reached 28 below that night, the same night a power line in town literally snapped from contracting in the cold and left half the town powerless for an hour an a half. In that ninety-minute span, our house temperature plummeted from 68 to 58 degrees, getting colder by the second, frozen air knifing through our ancient single-pane windows, which provide about the same degree of insulation as a sandwich bag. We had piled all of our blankets onto our bed and planned on having a family snuggle session to make sure we kept warm, and then the lights and furnace finally kicked back on. (The kids were disappointed.)

Today the temperature reached a balmy 12 degrees, which, if you think about it, is a 40 degree temperature swing from 2 days ago--the same contrast you'd notice if it went from 30 degrees to 70 degrees.

But we have actually done the extreme reverse of that, going from 72 degrees in San Diego to -28 in Worland within 4 days, making a perfectly round 100 degree change in weather. A week ago, I was wearing shorts and building sand castles. Today when I opened the door to fetch the paper, my nose hairs instantaneously froze and my lungs wheezed and seized like a cow dipped in a vat of liquid nitrogen.

So it's been very, very, very cold. It's amazing that we live in a day where travel technology allows us to experience such extremes of weather in such short periods of time. Evolutionarily, the human body isn't built to process such abrupt changes. We're accustomed to the gradual ebbs and tides of seasons, not the shock therapy of San Diego to Worland.

I think it's bad for my health. So I'm writing a doctor's order for myself to take another trip to San Diego . . . until sometime in April.

54 comments:

Rappster said...

Holy cow! Get out of there! Why are you living there?! That's crazy cold. You should move immediately. Take your chicks to a warmer coop!

Dang. -28. Take a second to really contemplate it. -28 degrees.

Hopefully, you moved while you were contemplating it. -28 degrees? Are you serious. I'm not even feeling good about +28 degrees. Dang.

Oh! THE HUMANITY!!
hmmmm, a humanatee. (part human, part manatee).

Not even a humanatee would live in -28 degrees.

Ouch! I'm out of here

Kristen said...

I can't believe it is that cold. What were you thinking when Good Morning America named it the coldest spot in America? Have you seen any polar bears?

Danalin said...

And I was feeling badly today about the fact that my jacket doesn't reach around my belly and I got a little chill walking into and out of Church today. My word. I forgot to tell you at the wedding, but I noticed your tan and it looked great on you! Way to forego your own medical judgment.

Tankfos said...

I love the imagery of comparing yourself to a fat cow being dipped into a vat of liquid nitrogen!

However, I am not sure what your are complaining about. At a young age I was trained by my older brother to withstand extreme temperature changes by laying in a bathtub while he would random turn the water from burning out and freezing cold! Maybe now you are just getting a little taste of your own medicine!

Lisa said...

Wow--sounds like you guys enjoyed a much-needed repreive from the snowy tundra! What a fun trip that must have been--I'll check Liz's blog for the travel log and pics :)

Matthew said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
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