heat is overrated
Friday, March 25 2022
location: rural Hurley Township, Ulster County, NY
I had a lax day in the remote workplace, and most of my brain space was occupied with thoughts of the cabin. At noon, I drove out to the abandoned bluestone mine and found some nice big pieces to add to the load of heavy things I'd be taking to the Adirondacks. The other heavy things included three APC uninterruptible power supplies I'd plundered from the Red Hook office. These were beefier than the consumer grade ones I'd amassed earlier. Those could maybe supply 200 to 350 watts. But these recent acquisitions could supply anywhere from 750 to 1500 watts, enough to run a microwave oven. Even if their batteries don't work, their inverters are worth a lot, and I can use them to supplement the whole-house inverter on specific circuits in the cabin's electrical system. This wouldn't be necessary, but the installed solar inverter and battery haven't been working for months, and if the chuckleheadedness of the solar installers continue, I'm going to need work-arounds for the many glitches I expect to be presenting themselves.
Just before 5:00pm, I loaded the dogs into the Chevy Bolt and headed off. This was to be my first attempt to drive to the cabin in the Bolt since late December, the time I'd gotten hopelessly stuck and required a tow.
On the way there, I stopped at the Johnstown Price Chopper to get provisions for the next few days: a block of extra-firm organic tofu, mushrooms, Ronzoni Jumbo Shells (a pasta), vegan bacon, a french bread, a bag of romaine lettuce, and a four pack of Burly Beard Oatmeal Stout in pint-sized cans. I wore a mask in the Price Chopper, but only a smattering of others were doing the same. People are so over this pandemic, and that's going to ensure we just keep having waves of it.
I also stopped at the Burger King across from the Gloversville Walmart to get an Impossible Whopper without mayonnaise and two large orders of fries (one of which was entirely for the dogs). I as I waited in the drive-through for this order, I was listening to a religious station, something I often do just as an effort to understand the mindset of authoritarian religious kooks. I say "authoritarian," because the bulk of religious observation is spent "praising" and worshipping an all-powerful deity who presumably could go through a good fraction of eternity just fine without the praises of Pam from accounts receivable. It occurred to me that modern technology has exposed a huge problem with the supposed benefits of heaven. That problem is one of communication. We're told that heaven is a flawless place where we can be completely fulfilled forever. But one thing it clearly lacks is internet, one of just a handful of things most Americans can no longer do without. How do we know? When people die, their internet persona remains frozen at that moment (unless, say, a boyfriend keeps adding to it, as is the case with my late college friend Miranda Ballou). Back when heaven was invented, it was time when it was expected for loved ones far away in some amazing place to be cut off from us. But the lack of internet in heaven exposes a fundamental problem with that model of overpromise/don't-have-to-deliver.
At the cabin, the temperature upstairs was 43 degrees and the temperature in the basement was 37. I had a extremes-recording thermometer in the basement, and, examining those records, I learned that 37 degrees was as cold as it had gotten there since I'd cleared the extremes a week before. I fired up the woodstove and turned on the generator, but temperatures never ended up rising out of the 40s in the cabin tonight. Interestingly, though, this wasn't much of a problem. I covered the dogs with blankets on one couch while I covered myself with a comforter on the other, and I could comfortably work my laptop and drink booze this way despite the chill. Back before central heating, people in northern climates routinely did stuff in rooms where temperatures were less than 50 degree Fahrenheit, and I can say after tonight's experience that there are ways for coping with this, and one can be perfectly happy in such an environment.
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