As I write this it’s 4 degrees outside.
4 degrees is stupid cold. Almost surface of Uranus cold. And you know how cold Uranus is.
(NewWifey(tm), looking over my shoulder as I typed that, said “Will you stop with that stupid Uranus joke already? Nobody thinks it’s funny any more.” Tough. I do.)
Anyway, it’s 4 degrees out.
Of course as I write this it’s also 4:30am, the coldest part of the day. Yesterday during the day it was a relatively balmy 7.
Which is why NewWifey(tm) and I decided to see the holiday display at the Orange County Arboretum then.
Let me qualify that: as usual, when I say “we decided” I actually mean “she decided”. I almost always write “we” though, so I don’t feel quite so emasculated.
So, yes. “We” decided when I got home exhausted from work yesterday that we would drive an hour up Rt. 207, past Goshen, all the way to Montgomery, New York to see a bunch of trees strung with lights. Just like the ones we have in our yard. Less than 5 seconds away.
I did put up some token resistance when the idea was first floated, but as usual it booted nothing.
“Honey, I -”
“I can’t wait to see the new additions this year! Hurry up, I wanna get there before they run out of hot cocoa!”
(One of the arboretum’s big selling points is that every year they add a new bug, flower, or cartoon character display to the pile. It’s always a Big! Surprise! that everyone for miles around drives in to see. They also have a corner table with paper cups, a kettle of hot water, and a basket of Walmart imitation Swiss Miss brand instant cocoa flavored beverage for revelers to enjoy. Along with a donation basket. “Suggested Gift: $5 Adults, $4.50 Kids Under 10“).
“Honey, I -”
“I said, hurry up!”
Did I mention it was 7 degrees out? When we got in the Nissan we (or rather, I) had to sit and let it idle long enough for the steering fluid to warm to the point where I could turn the wheel again. Then I beeped and NewWifey(tm) joined me. She was carrying the camera case.
“I want you to take pictures” she said. “My wussy friends think it’s too cold to go, and I want to show them what they missed.”
NewWifey(tm), forged from generations of hearty midwestern stock who regularly trudged out to the north forty in the middle of a South Dakota (ie: Uranus) blizzard to patch that barbed wire fence “because the cows ain’t gonna do it themselves now, are they“, will without hesitation venture out into conditions that would stop an Emperor Penguin in order to Get Shit Done. Ten years ago I posted this pic, and nothing has changed since. Witness this past November’s storm:
I’m telling you, she would hands-down win the Hunger Games if it were held at the Casey Station. It wouldn’t even be close.
Going to a local park to look at Christmas lights strung in the shape of insects and orchids when it was 7 degrees out was nothing, therefor. That’s practically thong and flip-flop weather for her.
So off we went in 7 degree weather to take pictures of holiday bug displays and drink envelopes of imitation hot cocoa. Again.
Speaking of taking pictures….
You know how in my previous post I mentioned that I got NewWifey(tm) an Epilady (with upper lip wand!) for Christmas? Well, er, I may have neglected to add that I also got her a speedlight and a zoom lens for her new camera, too. Both used, but…she doesn’t have to know that. Ok?
Another Christmas present I neglected to mention was the cloth face shields. These are small tube tops that you pull over your head and are supposed to keep everything between your eyebrows and your sternum warm while you struggle to find your way back to the cabin in a blinding snow storm.
NewWifey(tm) got us each one, and in true NewWifey(tm) fashion they each had a funny pattern. Mine was some monster with gaping maw and teeth dripping with blood.
Behold the Abominable Wifey!
Hmmm. An improvement. In fact, one might say one of her 2017 favorite looks.
Hideous artificial visages in place, we set out on the icy paths to gawk at –
who’s about to be eaten by this bird with the bleeding legs:
Audrey II from “Little Shop of Horrors”:
a beehive hairdo:
a racoon that swallowed a dancing sunflower:
a frozen spider:
and a small intestine:
BTW, all of the above shots were taken in my camera’s “Program” mode. I set it to what I hoped was an appropriate ISO (12,000) and let its little computer brain figure the rest. Not because I’m too stupid to do it myself (*cough*), but because…7 degrees, remember? I couldn’t feel my fingers, let alone the tiny knobs they were supposed to manipulate. I fired the shutter button half the time by mashing a fist down onto the camera and hoping it was in the right general area.
I really needed to warm up.
But when I suggested to NewWifey(tm) that thawing out for an hour in the arboretum’s public hall might be in order, or maybe even calling it a day and retiring back to Dangerhouse, I got this:
Uh-oh. I know that look.
We forged ahead.
being stalked by two herons:
“It’s a hedgehog!” said NewWifey(tm). Uh-huh. Sure it is, honey.
a pink tree:
a Vegas showgirl:
and a family of soon-to-be venison:
Finally, finally, NewWifey(tm) had her fill and we started back. There were a ton of other displays along the way, but honestly my hands were just too cold to work the camera. I did grab one or two on the loop back though, like this hot underage sprite:
I woulda made a move on her, but this whole sexual harassment hysteria has really crimped my style lately. Plus, a pat on her ass would probably result in a 30,000-volt response. I’ll stick to harassing NewWifey(tm)’s unplugged ass.
Nearby that electric Lolita we also spotted:
Uh…a kingfisher attacking an orc? A winged Martian asking a bunny and his feathered headpiece to take him to their leader? Not sure.
One last thing. As we came around a curve at the far end of the grounds there was a statue of Pan, unlit, that you could barely see in the dark. I snapped a pic with a few lights in the back just to see how the Nikon’s 24 megapixels decided to balance it. This is it, no flash, just program mode. Waddaya think:
I’m pretty sure I could have done better on my own…but not by much. I mean, depth of field obviously. But it’s good to know at least that when I’m sporting 10 Good Humor Bomb Pops at the end of each paw instead of fingers, the Nikon will at least give me something serviceable.
And with that, we turned and made for the clubhouse:
I’ve never been so happy to gulp down a paper cup of Walmart brand imitation hot cocoa flavored drink in my life. I had two.
When I could finally feel my feet again, and after peeing out two cups of Walmart brand imitation hot cocoa flavored drink, we made for the Nissan. Another 5 minutes of warming up was needed again before the wheel would turn, and then we were off.
An hour later we were back at Dangerhouse, for some real hot cocoa (the recipe on the back of the Hershey’s cocoa powder box is actually really good) and an assortment of liquors to enhance the proceedings. We popped a Perry Como Christmas album in the Wollensak, hooked the Nikon up to the TV, and kicked back in the recliner to watch a slideshow of the pics I took.
NewWifey(tm) was really impressed. “I can’t believe how much better that Nikon is than your Nintendo DSi!” She snuggled closer, and I poured more cocoa. She spiked hers with Amaretto, I went with Cointreau. Then we had another. She snuggled closer.
When we finally got the the end of the shoot she sighed. “That was really nice. Thanks for bringing me out there. I know cold really isn’t your thing. But maybe I can make it up to you” and she reached up a hand to pull me towards her.
“You know, a nice view of Uranus really would warm me up” I said.
The hand reaching up turned into a fist, and she clocked me right above the ear with it. “I told you I hated that stupid joke!” And she stormed off to the bedroom.
Dammit. Overplayed my hand again. I pressed my cup of cocoa to the lump that was forming on the side of my head.
Oh well, at least not all was lost. That electric Lolita is still set up at least through the New Year….
Speaking of, I wish all of you much happiness, real cocoa, and warm companionship in 2018.
And please, this coming year let’s all try to be a little nicer to the environment, shall we?