When I lived in Central Illinois, I got accustomed to cold temperatures. Really cold temperatures. Air temperatures in the single digits. Wind chills down to -30. By the end of an Illinois winter, temps in the 30’s felt positively balmy. When it hit the mid-40’s, you put on shorts and played touch football. In short, your body got used to being in ridiculously cold weather.

However, living in a temperate climate, such as occurs in the verdant Pacific Northwest, your blood thins out. In a few short years, you start saying things like “It’s supposed to get down to freezing tonight. By Golly that’s cold!” or “Look at the frost on the grass! Kids, make sure you wear your coats to school.” After a decade or more, you become unable to tolerate truly cold weather.

I ran to Costco last night after dinner. The wind was pretty stiff, and it was cold, so I wore my winter coat, gloves, and hat. I was going to Costco after 7:00 pm, because it is dramatically less crowded at that time. When we lived in Eugene, I hated going to Costco because it was so crowded, I felt like a cow in a stockyard. I had no idea how good I had it, because the worst day at the Eugene Costco is still less crowded than the best day at the Tigard Costco. Going to our Costco in the middle of the day on the weekend is much like descending to the fifth plane of Hell, only the people aren’t as friendly. Going after dinner is a piece of cake in comparison. But I digress.

I left the store and began pushing my cart across the parking lot. I noticed it was cold. Then I noticed it was damn cold. Then I realized I could feel the wind through my sweatpants as if I was wearing a pair of Speedos. By the time I got to the car, I was frantically digging in my pockets for my gloves, and pulling the earflaps down out of the inside of my hat. I mean, it was cold. The actual air temperature was probably around 30 F, but of course, the culprit was the wind chill. I’m glad I had my winter gear on me. But there was a part of me, the part that remembered trudging across campus into a thirty mph headwind, into air that had come directly from the Arctic Circle without stopping to pick up even an iota of heat. That part of me considered my discomfort and said “Wuss.”

My daughter took her birthday money and bought a Lego/Bionicle set: “LEGO Bionicle: The Battle of Metru Nui”. Here’s what it looks like (click for larger pic):

Unfortunately, she found it a little challenging. After all, it has 885 individual pieces, and seven substructures. So, could you work on it, Dad?

It took me two full evenings to get it assembled. The next time you think to yourself “That PAgent. He’s a lousy father. No patience. No sympathy for his kid’s feelings”. You remember this:

885 pieces.

Two. Full. Evenings.