Sunday, December 6, 2009

"Baby it's cold outside!"

I'm gradually adjusting to life again in Yellowstone.  I'm here at Mammoth Hot Springs for training until Thursday when we'll all move to Old Faithful.  Mammoth is still on the edge of civilization so it is a nice way to ease into the season.  Here is an assortment of observations from the last few days:
- I am so very grateful to birds who willingly (or unwillingly) gave their feathers to keep me warm.  I would happily hug and kiss whoever figured out bird feathers belong in coats.
- New skill: judging the temperature +/- a few degrees by how my nose hairs freeze. 
- The employee cafeteria is called the Employee Dining Room (EDR).  I didn't miss it and it hasn't improved since I've been gone.  I ate oatmeal for the first three meals in a row.  There is a disease called EDR-dia (say it out loud and it will make sense).  Beware the day they serve "Chinese".
- Getting my work uniform was an ordeal.  Filling out the uniform request was a cinch until they asked what size pants I needed--in waist and inseam inches, which isn't how women's pants come.  I don't know my measurements and they had no tape measure.  I finally, through trial and error, got my size down (while all the other drivers waited in line for me to figure this out) and learned the uniform office didn't have it.  Correction, they had pants my size, but they weren't insulated, is that okay?  I quickly responded I would be happy to wear bigger pants.  In my mind fashion is optional, but insulation is an absolute essential.  So I held the pants up while a lady marked the hem.  I decided to add a belt to the list of my requested uniform pieces.  Good news--they have my size!
- What is that noise?  The fellow in the room on the floor below snores. 
- Last night my roommate Kristine and I wanted some ice cream after the guide pizza party in Gardiner.  The only place open at 7 pm was the grocery store.  We were met by containers there that were much larger than we needed.  What to do?  We couldn't eat that much ice cream and don't have a refrigerator in our room.  However, given the temperature rating taking with my nose hairs, we decided to store it outside without any danger of it thawing.  We came back to the room and ate it out of my titanium cup with sporks and put the rest out on the railing.
- We drove two hours today through a snow storm to the Wal-Mart at Bozeman.  It took four Wal-Mart employees to help me find a shower caddy.  One woman also offered us some dating advice while her boss was far enough away to not hear, "I would never date a man like that.  Look at how high he wears his pants!  Girls, don't date guys like that." 
- Had CPR training yesterday.  I did a little sociology during the training.  Of the men in the room 75% had some kind of facial hair (9 of 12).  Picture for a moment our instructor Dave: about six feet tall, solid build and a stomach that hung over his jeans.  Now, from the bottom up: Sorel boots, dark blue Wranglers, long sleeved long johns sticking out from underneath a Sesame Street T-shirt reading "I was raised on the street", bright red suspenders, and a Yellowstone baseball cap.  Under the hat was a head of curly blackish-brown hair.  Most impressive, however, was Dave's beard.  He must have had two hair follicles where most men have one.  He had a full, bushy beard that covered his face, under his chin, and down most of his neck without losing any of its thickness. 
- My Jiffy Lube sticker that tells me when to get my oil changed won't stick to the windshield when it is this cold.  It falls right off.
- I went to the Gardiner Branch today.  There is something special about branches.  They were excited to see me there and quickly offered to transfer my records to the branch just so the Ward Clerk would have something to do, they invited me to dinner, invited me to pray, and really made me feel at home.  It was a really wonderful testimony meeting.
- The Chapel in Gardiner has frosted windows, but it didn't used to.  Once the Relief Society made beautiful silk floral arrangements at an Enrichment activity.  On Sunday the arrangements were in the small chapel.  A bison wandered by (I think it was winter) and really wanted at those flowers.  He started sucking on the window and apparently a bison can make very loud sucking noises.  The congregation and the speaker all turned and just watched the bison suck at the window trying to get in and eat the flowers.  So now the church has frosted windows.  That is the story told to me by the Branch President and his wife and they were there or else I wouldn't even believe it.
- I'm giving the Branch President's son a trumpet lesson tomorrow night since there's no one in the area that knows anything about trumpet.

Driving to church: Can't the elk read?  This area is only for sheep!

Driving home from church

A Sunday morning walk when the temperature is 0

Sunrise over Mammoth Hot Springs


Jacque said...

Okay, the bison story made my day and I am still laughing. I'm not surprised at the facial hair--biology majors always favored them and your own comments about the cold--well if you could grow one to keep your face warm you'd probably consider it. Loved the pictures. Keep posting!

evieperkins said...

Wow, that bison story is the best laugh I've had in days. I am so reading Nick your blog. :)

fm7 said...

Great descriptions. I'm there except for the ski hill.