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I live in Edmonton, Canada, and technically we're used to winter blasts, but the one that's been gripping us since Saturday is a doozy, even by our standards. High wind chills yesterday kept the temperature hovering at around -42 (celcius) or so most of the day, and the high today is expected to be only -31. Just as a point of reference, at this temperature, exposed skin will freeze in thirty seconds or less if there's any breeze at all. In short, it's freezing up here.

But a story in our local newspaper made me realize just how lucky I am. The bit told us of the plight of one homeless man in our city, forced to sleep under someone's porch to get enough warmth not to freeze to death overnight. The mere fact that he's managed to stay alive in a climate as brutal as ours can be is a testament to his resilience. Like everyone else around here, I'm moaning about the weather. I'm cold. As an asthmatic, it's hard for me to breathe at this temperature. My fingers and toes begin to ache after just a few minutes out in the elements. But I have a house to go to -- one that's properly heated with the latest natural gas furnace and has enough insulation to ensure it doesn't stay on constantly. I can boil some water and enjoy some nice hot tea or coffee whenever I feel chilly, and I can curl up under any one of numerous blankets.

I can ignore the weather if I really feel like it. The homeless can't. I am cold for a few minutes a day. The homeless are cold 24 hours a day, seven days a week, and in weather like this are in constant danger of literally freezing to death. I have a warm house, food, and proper clothing to keep me warm. There are so many others who have nothing of the kind.

So the next time I start complaining about how cold it is, I'll try to stop and think about how lucky I actually am. And I think that when I get home, I'll dig out a few old blankets that we don't use any more and take them over to a homeless shelter. It's at times like this that the poor and destitute really need a helping hand from those of us who can afford it.

Cheers, and think warm thoughts!

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The following comments are for "Holy Hannah, but it's cold up here!"
by DeanPowell

damn that's cold
Yes Dean, it is cold up north here, but bite the bullet and smile. The clearer it gets the colder it gets, so pray for some cloud. I don't like brain freeze myself ;) Remember spring is only how many months away...

It is sad to see the homeless out there in this kind of cold. I don't know how they survive it.

Take care.


( Posted by: kimberly bird [Member] On: January 27, 2004 )

If it hit zero in Melbourne it would be a rare occurance. It makes one wonder what possessed England & France to colonise Canada as it wasn't the Penal Colony Australia was.

( Posted by: ozpink [Member] On: January 27, 2004 )

We hit -51C with the wind chill today in Saskatoon, Saskabush. Coldest I've ever been is in the -60's. I just wear a snowmobile suit, muffler and goggles when the ice fog and frostbite thing is on. You'll probably hate me for saying this, but I love the cold. Which is why I moved here from the Sunshine Coast in British Columbia.

My psychiatric revue is up soon . . .

( Posted by: gsmonks [Member] On: January 27, 2004 )

This morning, Wednesday January 28, I woke up to -59C with the wind chill. It's so cold out right now that you can't see across the street for the ice fog. There's a warning to stay indoors because skin soon freezes. The postal service is suspended and the schools are closed.

H'm. Doesn't stop me from working outside, welding. All the city workers are still on the job, too.

( Posted by: gsmonks [Member] On: January 28, 2004 )

-59! Yikes! gsmonks you have my undying admiration. So does Penelope for having been a Postie in our climate.

We have a boy from Cologne, Germany staying with us for the semester, and up to now he's been pretty accepting of the weather. This week has been a little too much for him, though. He's finally put aside the "grin and bear it" attitude and admitted that it's just too cold for him. He goes home on Saturday to a balmy -1.

I've heard the old rumour that the Turks & Caicos Islands in the Caribbean are looking to join Canada. Quick show of hands -- who's in favour? Count me in!

( Posted by: DeanPowell [Member] On: January 28, 2004 )

balmy weather . . .
We're up to a balmy -18C today, today being Wednesday, February 4, 2004. I just weld occasionally. It's outdoor MIG welding, so I put up barriers first to stop the wind.

Calgary gets the best of both worlds, with its Chinooks. My youngest sister lives there. They were up to +6C in the last few days.

There's no justice.

( Posted by: gsmonks [Member] On: February 4, 2004 )

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