Thursday, September 3, 2009

BRRRRRR! Plague!

This week we had the most heinous weather I have ever experienced in my life. Wednesday morning started cold and windy, and it got worse for about 48 hours. The worst wind was 52 MPH, and the worst cold was -51F. If those had happened at the same time, it would have been a wind chill of -104F. As it was, it got down to a WC of -95F. The wind chill stayed below -75F all day long, and was in the -80s for most of the day. Yikes. We were in severe weather condition two all day both days (meaning travel and work outdoors is limited, due to weather). In a typical trip just from my room to the galley, I would wear long john top and bottoms, fleece vest, huge "big red" parka, neck gaiter, big fur hat, warm glove and my hood up. I still froze in seconds, and all my gear would stay freezing cold for hours after taking it off. I put my big red back on after lunch, and it felt like I was taking it out of the freezer. The farthest I ever have to walk between buildings is about a quarter mile, but I froze badly out there. No real frostbite, but some painful frostnip. Any exposed skin will freeze almost instantaneously in those temps-- it's miserable. Today it has been around -25F, and the wind has stopped blowing (thank God!). I've been walking around town considering a t-shirt and flip-flops. Seriously, -25F feels like Florida after that weather.

Since the invasion of the Winfly workers, us winterovers have been dreading getting sick. We passed around any germs we had at the beginning of the winter, so it was literally impossible to catch a cold or flu for the last five months or so. The arriving people all just went through New Zealand, which is in the peak of their swine flu epidemic right now. It doesn't take a rocket scientist to figure out that we are in a perfect set-up to all get sick now. I imagine our immune systems are compromised, too. Bad food, no sun, no germs to keep us tough. We're sitting ducks. I know a lot of us have been keeping a sharp eye out for anybody coughing or sneezing. So far, nobody is obviously sick-- that's good. However, one of my coworkers went home to find his new roommate home sick with a sore throat. I dread what comes next. The management has been nagging us nonstop to wash our hands a lot, especially when entering the galley. Truth is, not everybody does it, so the managers decided to appoint some "hand washing cops". Departments must send four people at a time to stand between the hand-washing sinks and the galley entrance. They monitor who isn't washing, and nag them into doing it. Personally I don't mind someone watching me wash my hands if they feel like it, but I am infuriated to be "volunteered" to be a cop. Luckily, my manager took pity on us poor leftover winterovers and didn't put us through the humiliation. We've been through enough, he said. Grown adults nagging other grown adults to behave like grown adults against their will-- it rubs a lot of us wrong. I think the managers finally got that-- there haven't been any cops out for the last few meals.
Think I'll throw on some flip-flops and go for a stroll...

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