Sorry to disappoint, but this is not a post about any Northern romantic endeavours. This post is about static electricity... which has caused me to virtually electrocute myself every time I turn on a light.
It is dry this far north. Very dry. Fortunately I have managed not to suffer from dry skin, by keeping a bottle of lotion nearby at all times. But I'm still getting used to the static shocks. When I get up in the night and don't turn the lights on, I can still light my way by the electric sparks coming off my socks -- my very own fireworks display. And it hurts like the dickens, especially on your fingertips (which is, after all, what you usually touch things with). [If I could take a picture of those sparks, I would insert a photo here...for now, use your imagination.]
I have learned to do what people here do... constantly "de-charge" by touching metal objects every time you move. I was walking behind a girl down a hall last week and I wondered why she kept reaching out to the wall and touching metal door handles, light switches, etc. It's because the more frequently you zap yourself, the less it hurts in the end, because the charge doesn't have a chance to build up into one frazzling shock (I think I just made up a word).
Fortunately, there are other ways of reducing static. One is by avoiding fabrics that give off a charge -- I've found natural fabrics are better than synthetic (yet another reason to avoid polyester!). Sadly, one of my favourite fleece sweaters, which I wear all the time because it's so cozy, is a forcefield in itself ... when I pull it off, my hair sticks up like a science experiment.
The other way is to use a humidifier regularly. Last weekend I finally set up my humidifiers -- one downstairs in the living room, and one upstairs in my bedroom. I'm really happy that I found some at Sears that actually look kind of nice, with wood panelling (albeit fake wood)... not too industrial.
You know you need one when you approach the machine for the first time and touch the "on" button and your finger spark actually lights up the display with "88". That was alarming.
I still need to learn what % to set it at. The instructions say that the colder it is, the lower the % needs to be, but up here, I feel I should keep it around 30%, so we'll see how that goes. I'll need to fill up the water bottles every couple of days if I run it regularly.
I'm sure you've been wanting an update on my runaway cardboard boxes, even though it's not related to static. Today I tried to retrieve the biggest of the boxes that were jammed against the utilidor. After wading through snow up to my waist, it turns out that this one was filled with snow... consequently it was VERY heavy. So I spent about 20 minutes with my snow shovel emptying some of the snow out before I could drag it back under the stairs, hopefully not to blow away again.
Sadly, I couldn't get to this box, so it's going to be stuck there until some of the snow disappears... around May possibly! The third big box that I thought I saw in my neighbour's backyard was actually a small shed or dog kennel, so I didn't touch it.
One more thing I will say about the dryness and cold is that it makes for awesome snow! It's clean and white and fluffy, and squeaks when you walk. It stays soft virtually all winter. Such an improvement over the wet, slushy, dirty, hard, crusty, icy snow that we got in Ottawa. (I'm a glass-half-full kind of person -- looking on the positive side!).