Saturday, January 8, 2011

Treacherous Temperatures

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Sometimes lately I get the feeling that my life – and with that, my blog! – has turned into a weather report. Lucky for me, there still seems to be a few people out in the world who like to look at a bit of snow; just as I like to sigh over their barefoot beach photos and abundance of colourful flowers... (with a nod to Pauline and GB in New Zealand).

The weather since New Year has continued to be a roller-coaster between minus and plus. I.e. temperatures below versus above o° Celsius. Sorry – I can’t understand why the Americans insist on keeping the Fahrenheit scale, when it makes SO much more sense to have “0” as the balancing point between freezing and non-freezing temperatures. Winking smile

I’m not quite sure why Celsius (Anders Celsius, Swedish astronomer, 1701-1744)  is getting all the credit though, because his original scale was upside down! It was another Swede, the botanist Carl von Linné (Carl Linnaeus, 1707-1778), who reversed Celsius’ scale to the one we now use, with “0” representing the melting point of ice and 100 representing the boiling point of water. (Well done, Linné!)

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From now on, you will find this thermometer (copied from the Wikipedia Farenheit article) in the sidebar of my blog. It has the Fahrenheit units on the outer scale and Celsius units on the inner scale. I’ll stick to °C in my weather reports, and if that gives anyone a headache, you can just look at my sidebar thermometer for a quick reference!

Aaaanyway… I’ve hardly been out this week, except for a brief expedition on Wednesday to the nearest convenience store to stock up some more supplies before the next snowstorm was to hit us on Thursday. (Which it did.)

Today, it was my plan to take the bus into town around 11 am. However, this was not to be, because Murphy turned up in my bathroom, causing trouble:

"Anything that can go wrong, will go wrong". (Murphy’s Law)

In this case, attempts at flushing things down in one place made the water rise in another.

At first, last night, I thought the problem was “only” with the drain in the shower. This morning however, it turned out to be worse than that… so I had to call an emergency number. And then of course I could not go into town but had to stay home and wait for the emergency guy to turn up. No complaints about slowness of service: a man in overalls armed with two giant plungers turned up within a couple of hours, and the problem was fixed in no time. Well – seems to be, anyway…! (Somehow I think I would have felt more reassured if he had come with the full equipment of pumps and hoses, but I guess I have to trust that he knew what he was doing…)

By the time the knight-in-not-so-shining-armour left, it had started raining outside, at +0,8°. (Now go look at that thermometer!) And I had had time in between to read the morning paper. Which had Icicle Warning all over the front page! Because in this temperature, the thick layers of snow on the roofs will be melting, and getting heavier, and turning into icicles; and heavy slabs of snow as well as big sharp icicles are likely to drop down and hit you in the head.

So you have to look up, all the time. But you also have to watch your feet, all the time, because the snow on the ground will be melting as well, and the grit that was on top will be sinking down, but the rain falling on the cold snow will freeze into ice, and… Well, in short: It’s a Very Dangerous World Out There.

So  I think I’ll just remain indoors for another day, being thankful that I have a certain freedom of choice in that respect. Eventually, of course, I shall have to go out… But not today, I think!

Monica

5 comments:

  1. Wow! what a story. do hope the drains stay draining and hope it did not cost to much. whatever we use, cold is cold and freezing is freezing and you have freezing for sure. sorry murphy messed up your day.

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  2. So far so good. It did not cost me anything; that's the advantage of a leasehold flat...

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  3. Danger of falling icicles, that's a scary thought.
    You're right about the two temperature scales, ours makes little sense, 32 being freezing and 212 boiling, but most of our measurements make little sense, I can remember when they tried to switch us to metric. We're a very contrary people!

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  4. that is a good thing on the leased apartment. i came back to say I love love love that tree, that tall skinny wonderful tree. I meant to say it the first time, but my mind ran away with my fingers and i forgot, had not thought about falling icicles.

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  5. Yikes, what horrid weather! I would be scared to leave the house till everything is totally gone!! I LOVE, LOVE, LOVE your side bar thermometer!! Now whenever I want to know the celsius for any reason, I can come here. You are so right! The celsius makes so much more sense. I wish they had taught it to us here. But now that all I know is farenheit, I can't adjust to what the other means. I hope your drains stay clear and that you don't run out of stuff till you can venture out again. You seem to live very close to most things, do you have a car?

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