I have a touch of claustrophobia. More like cabin fever than a panicky feeling of unlighted closets. I try to get out of the house at least once a day.
Most days, I’m sitting here in the dungeon with my trusty space heater at my side. I work at home as a telecom engineer. That means I design, order and project manage the installation and disconnenction of circuits used internally by my company.
My usual day is be tied to a hot keyboard, wearing a headset for conference calls with an occasional IM chat on the side. Comes noontime, I’m getting a bit twitchy.
It’s not too bad during the summer. I can always walk out the back door, watch the birds or squirrels, take some photos of weapons and stuff, al’a Brigid and others, or just sit in an old rocker on the patio. I can’t do that during the winter.
Today, my wife left before noon to visit a friend for lunch. I was on my own, so I decided to visit the local greasy spoon to see what their special fare for today might be. I visit there a lot, know most of the waitresses. I soon as I sit down, they appear with a cup of coffee and take my order. I frequently get a cup of soup on the side.
Today was no different. I had a cup of Clam Chowder, a hot roast beef sandwich, a cup (OK, several cups) of coffee and a paperback. Perfection.
I sit with my right side towards the wall. I carry a S&W 442 in a pocket holster if I know I’ll be taking off my jacket while I’m out. No one appears to have noticed the bulge in my front jeans pocket. At one visit, I sat with with left side to the wall and one of the local cops who had stopped for lunch gave me a once over—several times. I think he finally decided I was carrying, but didn’t do more than look. I now sit with my right to the wall if possible.
Yesterday, we had a 46 degree temperature drop. It was 60 around 9:00AM yesterday morning. By nightfall, it had dropped to 14. This morning when I got up, it was 4. At noontime the temperature had risen all the way up to 10.
On the way home, I stopped to top off my tank. During cold weather, I try not to let the tank get below 1/3 full. If there is room in the tank, you can get condensation inside the tank and if the car is left out for long, such as in a parking lot, you could get a frozen fuel line.
That happened to me once when I was flying a Piper Cherokee 140. I was doing the preflight and got interrupted. I forgot to check the fuel sumps. In a Cherokee, each wing tank has a sump and drain. There is another in the engine compartment. I checked the right drain and the engine drain and when I returned, I started with the stall warning flap and missed the drain. POINT: use a check-list and check off each item. I discovered the frozen fuel line when I switched tanks prior to the mag-check run-up. Glad it quit then than a few moments later at an altitude of only a few hundred feet. Your options are limited at that point.
Anyway, I’ve digressed.
I stopped for gas, got out, ran the card through the pump and grasped the pump handle. I think I left most of my palm on it. I’d neglected to put on gloves. So, I standing there, watching the dollars ring off and the wind starts. IT’S BLOODY, BLEEDIN’ COLD!
No hat. My ears hurt. I’ve a leather jacket that blocks some of the wind, but my hands are freezing. I have to hold the pump because the auto-release isn’t working. The pistol in my jeans feels like I’ve stored it in the freezer overnight. My eyes are watering. I think my eyes are frozen open.
Oh, man. I miss summer.