Thursday, October 2, 2008

The Transition Coat

Change of Seasons

Weather Report: Sunny, 14 c
Wind Nil
Hazy from smoke

It has become necessary to change from my rain coat to my transition coat. Fall has fallen and winter cannot be far behind. The leaves are turning rapidly and beginning to collect in the streets. There is an added urgency to the brick layers' work across the street as they try to wind up before snow.

That change of coat will make more sense with a little explanation. Here in sunny Novosibirsk we have seasonal clothes to match . . . what else, THE SEASONS .

In the summer I often went coat-less. As it began to cool in late August, I began to wear my suit coat regularly. By the first of September we were having some pretty changeable weather, going from sun, to rain, to snow, back to rain, and sun with brisk winds. At that point I was wearing my rain coat with a scarf over my suit coat and I even wore my silks (long. silk bottoms) to ward off the chilly winds.

Well, that worked pretty well until the last part of September. The snow didn't make another appearance, but the winds and the ambient temperature made the raincoat too light for the weather, so I decided to bring out the "transition coat". This is a long (to the knees) black woolen coat that weighs a little over 7 pounds (according to my scale) and is supposed to be good to 20 below zero centigrade. I don't know who tested it and how they determined that it was not enough for 21 degrees below zero, but that is what the label said.

This is also my transition coat because I have another coat for minus 20 to minus 40 and below. Again, I don't know how the manufacturer determined this, but there it is. I can tell you that the 20 below coat cannot be worn more than a few minutes in the house. I broke out in a terrible sweat and felt absolutely smothered in that coat every time I put it on. I guess it works!

Back to my transition coat. When I bought it at SINAR's, on sale during late July, I thought it was a little big and very heavy. Now that I have lost 30 pounds, it is even bigger. To dress it up I have attached a black otter (I was told) collar that I got from a missionary who was going home and could not take it to the states; some law or something.

I thought it looked kinda cool, or warm, no, that doesn't work. Well, anyway, I wanted to look sort of sleak, like a seal or an otter with a nice fur coat. At first I thought I looked pretty good in it, but after seeing myself in these pictures, I think I look more like a gorilla than a sleek seal. See the resemblance?

Here I am trying to model the collar and scarf, but all it does is bunch up my sagging facial skin and make me look even more like a gorilla, or a cadaver prepared for a cold winter.

Anyway, I like my coat and regardless of how sleek or gorilla-like I look, it keeps me warm. Pardon me just a minute . . . . . . . . . . . .

The people here love to celebrate with skyrockets. Every night between 10 and midnight there is someone shooting off Fourth of July/New Years Eve outside one of our windows, usually the Cabo room, and we take time out to watch if we can get there in time. Sometimes they last 3-4 minutes. Sometimes 10-15 minutes. This one was about 12 minutes and was pretty good. I judge the quality by the number of car alarms the explosions set off. I'd say this was a 12 alarmer. Pretty up there on the car alarm scale. We saw one during the late summer, around midnight, that was a 20 I'm sure. It went on for over 15 minutes with some very big bangs. I have included some view footage of skyrockets on this blog. They didn't take place tonight, but they are typical of what we see nightly.

Well, I'm into my transition coat, weather or not. It was a little warm today because the temperature under a bright blue sky was 62 f and I almost had to unbutton it. We have the same problem with the heat. This building came on line with the heat on Monday I think. It started gradually and was fully on by Wednesday. That would have been great two weeks ago when the temperature was in single digits, but this week is a little warm for the heating system to be comfortable.

In defense of the central command, I must say that the guy that decides when to turn on the heat is much like the guy who decides how much water to let out of Folsom Dam every spring. If he is right, we have a full dam and enjoy a care-free summer. If he lets out too much, we have a drought. If he lets out too little, we have a flood. I don't know if the heat goes on by the calendar or by the weather, but in the fall, the temperature is up and down all the time until winter really sets in. I was cold two weeks ago. Now I'm sitting at my computer in front of an open window. I'm sure they do the best they can; don't they?

What a country


emily said...

Zoe and I didn't get to respond on the last post when you welcomed us.. I usually have my hands full when online as this little girl loves to be held- I sometimes have a finger free to point and click my mouse (read posts) but rarely have both hands free to type (comment) We enjoy your blog and makes me appreciate what we take for granted here. thanks! emily (and zoe)

Marilyn said...

If the "rockets red glare" go off each night, you must really feel that the Russians are welcoming you and happy that you came to teach them, and you must feel that each day you are there it is a holiday! How great is that?! Marilyn