Posts Tagged ‘Mt. Rainier’

No More Cold for Me

December 13, 2011

Frigid winds blew down snowcapped Mt. Rainier and swirled around the buildings of Puyallup, Washington, where my friend, Kurt Allen, and I were constructing a KinderCare day care facility. Although it wasn’t the furthest north I had ever built, it seemed like we were in Alaska or Siberia.

We began framing in late summer and by early fall had just finished siding the KinderCare structure when an artic front slammed down upon the windbreakless valley floor. For several shivering days, we each carried around a metal bucket full of coal embers to keep our faces and hands warm while we sawed and nailed the exterior trim at the windows and doors. It seemed to take forever, since we had to stop often and seek out the warming buckets that helped us survive in near-zero temperatures. There was no shelter from the relentless wind that penetrated every cubbyhole, sleeve, and crevice. The only thing that would have made it worse would have been any kind of precipitation – rain, snow, sleet, or ice. (I could go on, but you probably get that I DON’T LIKE THE COLD.)

I thought building in Puyallup, WA was a harrowing experience, but Kurt seemed to thrive on the harsh conditions and dreamt of being a mountain man, like Jeremiah Johnson. For me, I felt like one of Charles Dickens’ orphans abandoned in the cold of winter. My dreams were of southern climes; hence, my moves to Hawaii, southern California, and Texas.

Since that time, I have concentrated on building where, as the poet Fred Neil says, “weather suits my clothes” – shorts and t-shirts. The mostly temperate weather of central Texas – New Braunfels, San Marcos, Spring Branch, Bulverde, Wimberley, Seguin, and Canyon Lake – is just right.

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