Friday, August 8, 2008

frolicking in the sun

Someone commented in a previous post, muscles, that office dwellers are often envious of us outdoorsy types because we get to work outside. My working environment is better than that of an office about 75% of the time. Positives:

1.I prefer to be outside when possible.

2. I have evolved a fairly high tolerance for weather extremes and dress appropriately. I'm not wearing a flimsy skirt under an overcoat that's more fashionable than warm, so it doesn't feel as cold to me as it does to my coworkers who are running from the car to the office.

The negative is that I work in all kinds of weather. When I told my doctor what I do, she thought I had a terrific job because I wouldn't work when it was raining. Ah ha ha! I've suffered through 105 degree weather (with high humidity!), 0-degree weather (with wind chill) and monsoon-like rainstorms. In all the winters I've worked and been a grad student, I've only stopped working because it was too cold once, and that was because we couldn't keep samples from freezing solid within a minute of collection. When I was consulting, I stopped working midday because of incipient blizzard conditions exactly once.

The #1 suggestion I have to alleviate weather issues is to buy one of those portable pavilion thingies at home depot or walmart or whatever, and always take it with you. You should be able to get one for about $100. When I started working, we used to bring tarps along and try to string them to fences or trees. Don't bother. Take the real thing. It provides shade when it's scorching hot and protection against some rain/snow. Trying to take notes sucks when it's raining, and that "waterproof paper" isn't as helpful as it sounds, especially when pens won't work. Also, weather can be unpredictable. Put up the pavilion first thing in the morning, and you won't be running around getting stuff wet when you get a mid-afternoon thunderstorm.

A ten-second search for "pop-up gazebo" gives me a million hits, but this is the one I use.


human said...

Not that it happens that I'm outside in subfreezing weather TERRIBLY often, but what do you do when your pens freeze? Besides just keep one clutched in your fist to keep it warm at all times? Are there non-freezing pens?

Short Geologist said...

I haven't had many problems with pens freezing, honestly. El cheapo ballpoints cause problems (they also stop working the second they get moist), but bics are usually fine. Extra fine-point sharpies will survive any conditions as long as you don't damage the point. Fountain (liquid ink)pens are a mess.