Lemont & Marilyn

Lemont & Marilyn
Lemont & Marilyn -- Anniversary Picture 2010

Wednesday, February 23, 2011

Februrary 23 Update

We decided we wouldn't do any flagging this week.  We declined on Monday because Taylor was in labor and we didn't get called yesterday.  Mom is doing things around the house she wants to get done before Taylor and Tyler and Christianna come home today and we want to be here to help if they need us for the next few days. 

We did complete the renewal of the registration on the RL yesterday, so its all set for another year.

We also completed the sale of the white truck.  It is completely paid for and gone.

Monday, February 21, 2011

February 21 Update

We didn't do any flagging today, but it was a very eventful day.  We did get a call from Lori at PRC at 5:30 this morning to see if we could flag at 820 N in Provo again today, but we declined, since Taylor went into labor yesterday about noon and we wanted to be available when she had her baby.  We were back and forth to the hospital several times  to see how things were coming along.  Chrisianna Michelle Southworth was finally born around 5:44 pm after something like 31 hours of labor!  She weighted 6 lbs 9 oz and was 21" long.  Mother and baby (and father) are doing well.   We got to see Christianna through the window in the nursery and the pictures Tyler took right after her birth.  She is beautiful!

In between hospital trips we got a few needed things done around the place.  We sold the white truck  this morning.  Just in time, since I needed tires on the RL before it would pass safety inspection to renew the license that expires the end of this month.  I tried to get it all inspected and do the "on the spot" renewal, but apparently the battery is going bad and the on board computer had been cleared and I hadn't driven it enough to reset the codes needed by the emissions tests.  So I am putting the battery charger on it overnight and will then need to drive it 25 miles or so to reset the codes and then get it retested before I can get my renewal.  Hopefully I can get that done in the next day or so, depending on our flagging schedule.

I got some work done on the house today too.  The cover had blown off the swamp cooler a couple of days ago and I got it back on and re-tied back in place.  Mom also found a couple of shingles on the front lawn and when I went up to check out the roof found that 8 tabs had blown off and needed to be replaced so I spent the rest of the afternoon repairing the roof.  Two of the missing tabs were right under the base for the Internet dish antenna, so that made it particularly interesting to replace those.  But I got all 8 replaced and the roof is as good as it can be without being replaced, which it is pretty much in need of.  There are hundreds of shingles that are worn down to where there is almost no "grit" left on them at all, a sure sign that the roof is worn out.  Fortunately we don't have any leaks yet.

Thursday, February 17, 2011

February 17 Update

Got a confirmation call this morning for our 7:30 assignment at 820 North in Provo.  It was about 24F when we left this morning but by about 11:00 (half hour after our first break) it started warming up to where I needed to change out of my snowsuit.  Unfortunately, I didn't get another break until about 2:30.  By then I'd unzipped all the zippers, taken off my beanie, and was wearing just my glove liners instead of my gloves.  During my break I removed the snowsuit and put on my KTM jacket.  I was pretty comfortable the rest of the day, but around 4:00 I was wishing I had my beanie!  It was still probably around 38F when we got off around 5:30.  We logged 10 hours today.  They asked us to come back to the same location again tomorrow, but about the time we got home Mom got a call from Lori with a change of plans.  Turns out the workers have some big meeting tomorrow morning so they won't be doing any work.  We might get called in for 4 hours later in the day or we might get called for Saturday.  We'll just have to wait and see what happens.

We had an interesting thing happen.  Some guy in a pickup truck stopped and gave us each a back of chips.  He tried to toss me a bag across the road and it came open and about half it spilled out, so he walked across with another bag for me.  No logo or name on the truck, so we have no idea who our benefactor was.

No update from Steve on the tower job yet.  Last time he called he apologized for the "see-saw" of all the negotiations, but I appreciate him passing along what he can.  Still hopeful that one of these days soon I'll be off to Grand Junction or Moab to work on radio towers!

Mom and I were spread out about a quarter of a mile for most of today again, but they did let her move down near the driveway we're flagging for this afternoon and that made it a LOT easier.  With her so far away, it took forever for traffic to clear once she stopped it and there were several places in between where cars could come out when we had traffic stopped and that always makes for headaches.

It feels good to have the gals at PRC who schedule the flaggers setting things up with us directly again instead of having to wait for calls from the agencies.  And it is a pretty nice complement to be flagging at this particular site since it is one of the big PRC yards and we get a lot of foremen in and out all day so we're kind of in the limelight -- or under the microscope, depending on how you look at it.  Nice to know that they trust us to handle it.  Lori and Cynthia don't even come out to get us started in new locations anymore -- they know we can adjust to whatever needs to be done and will do a good job.  Flagging may not be the most glamorous or well paid job in the world, but, no matter what the job, its worth doing right!

Wednesday, February 16, 2011

February 16 Update

Got called about 7:30 this morning for another "ASAP" assignment, this time at 820 N in Provo.  That is an interesting place to work.  There is a main PRC yard right there and we were flagging for equipment and dump trucks in and out of the yard all day.  820 N is only a 2 lane road, but it is surprisingly busy.  The day went fairly quickly and the weather wasn't too bad.  It did get windy this afternoon so it felt a lot cooler than the 50F or so it really was.  Plus the wind takes it toll on arm and back muscles!  We've already been asked to come back to the same location at 7:30 tomorrow morning.

Still no further word from Steve about the tower job so we'll be off flagging again tomorrow.  Weatherbug predicts 90% chance of rain and snow tonight, with up to 3" accumulation by morning.  Then there's something like a 60% chance of another inch of snow tomorrow.  Brrrr!

Tuesday, February 15, 2011

February 15 Update

We got called at 5:00 last night to flag at 300 W in American Fork at 5:30!  No way we could make it that fast, but they said it would be OK for us to just get there was quickly as we could.  We managed to make it by 6:00 pm and flagged until 4:30 this morning, logging 10.5 hours.  Weather wasn't too bad.  It was close to 50F when we left home and only got down to about 30F by the time we left.  We had 6 flaggers when only 5 were really needed so we had a built in "breaker" and so we got two or three breaks during the night to warm up and grab a snack. 

Wildlife watch:  pretty much limited to one stray dog that was hanging around on Mom's side of the freeway.  She kept encouraging him to "go home", but I don't think he/she had one to go to.

Steve called to have me help him look up some stuff on the 'Net and said I should pack my bags.  He expected to have word by noon today about heading out, but since it is about 4:00 pm and I haven't heard from him, I guess he hasn't gotten word yet either.  He said they have confirmed they have 9 dish antennas to install, but that might not quite be enough to justify the extra crew.  At least it isn't completely dead -- yet.

We have no idea if we'll get called to flag again tonight.  It really seems to me they could and should provide more notice.  Last night we didn't have time to get any dinner so our Valentine's Day dinner consisted of a chocolate donut bar and a cup of hot chocolate around midnight.  Actually it hit the spot, even if it didn't meet RDA nutritional standards.

Sunday, February 13, 2011

February 13 Update

I got called to flag yesterday.  The call came in about 9:00 am and they wanted me there ASAP.  I got there at 10:00.  They only needed one flagger and Mom definitely didn't want to go, so I took it.  The assignment was at 300 W in American Fork.  We had 5 flaggers there most of the day.  The foreman for the main project released us all at 3:30 but one of the workers from another crew still working caught me to find out where all the flaggers went.  I told him we'd been released and offered to stay and help them if he needed me.  He called his foreman and they sent me on my way.  But I didn't even make it to the freeway before I got another call from Strategic saying our release was a mistake and to go back.  Four of the five of us that were there came back and we stayed until 5:30 so I got 7.5 hours in yesterday.  The weather was pretty comfortable.  It got up to about 50F in the afternoon.  I took off my snowsuit and just wore my KTM jacket the rest of the day.  I had on thermal garments plus a pair of long-john bottoms and Army fatigue pants so I was fairly comfortable all day. 

Still waiting on confirmation for the radio tower gig with Steve.  The company (a big outfit named Power Engineering) wants to make sure they have a full month of commitments and as of Thursday or Friday only and two weeks, so it looks like there may be some delay.  Darn it!

Mom and I got to chat briefly this afternoon with a BYU police officer from one of the other wards in our building.  I had heard the last part of a talk he gave in his ward a couple of weeks ago describing an experience he had providing protection for "Elder" Monson on a visit to BYU.  He said all of his PPS work has come through his job at BYU and doesn't know much about private contracts, but said he'd make some inquiries for us. 

Friday, February 11, 2011

February 11 Update

Well. we flagged from 8:30 last night until 5:00 this morning.  We started out at 400 N in Orem but it sure didn't seem like they even need 2 flaggers, let alone the 4 that were sent out.  The other pair were a father and son team.  Both teams had talked with Strategic twice so essentially we had 4 confirmations of the location.  We sat in the car until about 11:00 when a PRC foreman came by and said we were supposed to be at Center St and 1200 W, about 4 blocks away!  So we moved and having 4 flaggers made a whole lot more sense.  We had to cover all 4 approaches to the intersection at Center St and 1200W.  Eventually the changed the traffic light to flashing red.  Flaggers are not allowed by law to override a traffic signal.  We do override permanent STOP signs, but not active traffic signals.   Only a uniformed police officer can override an active traffic signal. The night went fairly smoothly once we got going.  Our breaker last night was a big surprise.  It was Kevin, who was one of the RoadSafe honchos when we started flagging last summer.  It was fun that he remembered  us.   Our fellow flaggers told us PRC wanted night flaggers dressed in the lime-green vest and pants instead of the normal orange reflective vest that I think is prescribed by law for all flaggers.  They said not to run out and buy the other vest and pants.  They paid nearly $100 each for theirs and said on one assignment a third flagger didn't have them and PRC gave him a set -- and that the set PRC gave him was better than the ones they bought.  Since no one has said anything to us about it, we'll keep using our Class III orange reflective vests until told otherwise.

Weather last night wasn't bad.  We could tell when the temperature dropped and our feet and fingers were getting cold toward the end of the shift, but it sure could have been a lot worse.  I can barely tell the toe warmers work at all except when they run out after about 5 hours or so and my toes start getting cold.  The hand warmers work better.  For one thing, you can take the packets out and shake them an re-expose them to the air to perk them  up periodically.  The only problem is they don't fit down into the fingers.  I figured the warmth to the palms or the back of the hand would warm the blood enough to keep our fingers warm, but I was wrong.  I suspect mittens would work better, but you lose dexterity wearing mittens and we still have to handle flashlight/wands and radios.

Guess it won't make much difference to me for at least a month since I'll be doing tower work.  Mom and I have talked it over a lot and agree that going with Steve on the tower job is the best thing to do right now.  I expect I'll still be out in the cold, perhaps even nastier conditions than we've faced flagging since the radio towers are located on mountain tops, but I will be more active instead of just standing around and Steve said when it gets really cold, they get back in the truck to warm up frequently.  When it was below zero he said they only worked outside about 10 minutes at a time.  I think having refined my cold weather preparation for flagging, I'll be in pretty good shape for the tower work.

I had some good news from my chiropractor when I went in this morning for an adjustment.  He said my lower back was moving 100% better.   He had planned to have me come in a twice a week until he got my upper spine straightened out, but that is going to  have to be postponed since I'll be out of town for a month.

Flagging has given us some activities that will help prepare us for PPS work.  Just standing on our feet for 8 to 14 hours is one.  Practicing radio procedures and hand signals is another.  Also maintaining a 360 sphere of observation and managing vehicle traffic.  A whole lot more relevant action than we got working at Walmart, although being out of the November and December weather was very nice.

The only update we have the PPS front is that our instructor, Tony Cox, said he had a surprise visit from Otis the other day.  Otis is the contact for the Nigeria contract.  Increasing unrest coupled with  changes in government over there have slowed things down a bit.  We don't have any kind of an ETA, but the fact that Otis contacted Tony is encouraging.  Given the situation over there, it might be a little scary, but we'll never go anywhere except as a group -- and an armed group at that and most likely equipped with bullet-proof vests.  We'll probably be carrying rifles, not  hand guns.  One benefit is that the worse things get over there, the more they're willing to pay.

Of course we're are anxious to hear from Omega about the St George detail they're bidding on, but so far nothing new.  I'd a lot rather do our initial tour of duty close to home and  have a chance to hone our skills and bolster our confidence before going into third world environments.  But at this point, we'll pretty much take whatever comes our way.

Thursday, February 10, 2011

February 10 Update

We didn't get any flagging on Tuesday or Wednesday bu we did get a call fairly early this afternoon for a change, to flag up at 400 N in Orem tonight at 8:30.  We went to 400 N once before, the day it snowed and we were sent home right away.  Vickie, at Strategic Staffing who called us, said there will be to other flaggers there tonight.  Based on what I saw the last time we were there I don't see where we'll use 4 flaggers, but she said it is a very busy spot.  Weatherbug forecasts lows near 20F, but shows it won't hit that until about 4:00 am so we shouldn't be in the really cold weather for all of the night.  Weatherbug hourly shows it will be about 26F at 8:00, so we certainly won't be experiencing a heat wave!  At least we have hours again and it is nice that is closer to home than the posts we got in American Fork and Lehi -- about half as far I think.

I got a call from Steve Dellos today and I have an opportunity to go work ground crew on towers with him for a month starting next week for about double what we make flagging.  I also talked with Tony about the property management job and it looks like that isn't going to  happen.  At least not anytime soon.  They didn't call me to start the last couple of days like they said they would because they were waiting to get some more clients.  Even so, I'd be starting out with only 2-3 clients, which would amount to about $120 or so a month until I could build up the client base.   That just won't cut it right now.   I plan to check back with him when I get back from the month on tower work.  The tower locations are from Grand Junction, Colorado to Filmore, Utah, so we'll be in areas that are a little milder climate than what Steve has been enduring in Montana.   The tower work might go longer than just one month, but this particular assignment will be a month long, with at least 40 hours a week paid whether we work or not.   During our off time Steve and I will be working on finding PPS work and, reviewing his TFT (Target Focus Training) videos and having him teach me.  Steve has already arranged with the tower company for us to disappear for a week or so if a PPS detail comes in, and then come back to work, so that is a good thing.  I expect we'll be working in snowy, freezing conditions most of the time, even being hundreds of miles south, because we'll be working on mountain tops.  I don't expect to be climbing towers, just doing rigging and other "grunt" work on the ground, but Steve is lending me a climbing harness just in case.  I'll have Mom run me up to Steve's parents' place in Ferron (where we went for his brother's funeral a year or so ago) and then I'll be able to ride with him so I won't have to drive.  This new job starts on Monday.  I plan to bring my old laptop along so I can update this blog while I'm "in the field" and keep up with email.

Tuesday, February 8, 2011

February 8 Update

We got called about 6:30 this morning to flag in Spanish Fork at 7:00.  We were a few minutes late, but not bad for having to get our winter gear on and drive 10-12 miles.  Good thing it wasn't in Lehi or American Fork!

Weather was pretty nice.  Sunny and calm all day, with temps getting up into the 30s again.  I think it was about 23F when we started out this morning. 

Our assignment was 300 W in Spanish Fork.  We'd flagged there once before.  It is a 3-way intersection right where 300 W goes under I-15.  They didn't have anything for us to do for an hour or so when we first got there so they said just to "keep warm".  We sat in the car until almost 10:00 when they blocked off one lane under the freeway bridge and moved a crane out into the lane to drive pilings.  Kind of interesting watching them drive the pilings from a farily good vantage point.  Some of them were doubled up.  That is, they drove one piling into the ground leaving about 4' above ground, then welded a second one on top and drove it in too.  We were all finished up and released about 4:00pm.  So we logged 8.5 hours.  We were only a couple of blocks from Taco Bell so we had a hot lunch for a change.  All in all, it wasn't a bad day.

Wildlife watch:  the neighborhood south and east of the freeway is mostly residential, except for the Nebo Animal Clinic.  Even with the animal clinic right there, the only "wildlife" I observed was one kitty cat crossing the street.  He/she was so nonchalant about it I was afraid it would get smashed before it got across, but fortunately there wasn't a lot of traffic on 300 W.  There was enough to help make the time go fairly fast without there being a lot of tension or worry.

I saw a Toyota pickup go by with an interesting customization of the Toyota Racing Division logo.  Usually it just says "TRD" but this one said "TURD".  Given the default pronunciation of "TRD", I don't think I would have chosen that for a logo.  Neither would I have chosen "SLT" that Dodge uses.  Driving a turd or a slut doesn't sound very appealing to me.  I guess I can't talk.  When we were naming computer program subroutines one one project there were functions like GET, PUT, and PUSH.  We had subroutines named GETIT, PUTIT, and PUSHIT, with the latter obviously lending itself to more than one pronunciation!

Did I tell you about my interview with Tony Dupres yesterday?  I kind of remember writing about it, but I'm not sure.  I was supposed to start today or tomorrow learning his property management business.  Obviously I didn't start today.  Don't know what will happen tomorrow.  If we get another early call for flagging, we'll probably take it and I'll just have to tell Tony I can start Thursday.   We can't really afford to turn down flagging assignments and I don't want Mom going out by herself if we can help it.

I may have another job alternative coming up too.  The company Steve Dellos works for doing towers is sending the crew back to Utah in about a week and Steve said there may be an opening in the ground crew.  It would be steady 40-hours a week, even when the weather shuts down the job site but I don't know what the hourly rate will be yet.  I would probably be rigging loads to be hoisted up the tower.  Interesting that Mom and I were both just certified in rigger signals.  I don't think the tower folks adhere to the rigger signals used by crane operators on construction sites but the signals may be helpful anyway.

We don't have any idea if PRC has any plans for us for tomorrow.  We are definitely encouraged that all of our recent assignments, including today, have come through Strategic.  It so much more convenient and a little more money than at Labor Ready.

Monday, February 7, 2011

February 7 Update

No flagging over the weekend nor today.  We  had left word on Strategic's on-call voicemail that we wouldn't be available today, so no surprise.  We did that because I had a meeting this afternoon about a new business opportunity.  Tony Dupres, the real estate agent friend of Mike's who sold us our house here in Payson, has invited me to take on a Property Manager position for him and his partner.  They have been developing a property management business for the last couple of years and it has gotten to the point where they need one or more full time property managers to handle the load.  It is strictly a commission based position so it will start off small, but has a lot of potential.  Someday they may even be able to franchise their unique property management model nationwide.  So, starting maybe tomorrow or Wednesday, I'll run up to his office in Pleasant Grove and start learning what to do.  The goal is that within six months I'll be handling 150 properties and making a pretty good pay.  The nice thing about it is that every "sale" generates recurring income every month for as long as the property is under management.

I drove past the Geneva Road construction site where we've been flagging and they had flaggers out there on my way up about 3:00 but they were gone when I came back a little before 5:00 so they got off earlier than we've been getting off.  Maybe because of a threatening storm that Mom and I ran into on the way home.  It is windy and cold and blowing snow and sleet, but not yielding much accumulation.  It was up to around 50 this afternoon and is still a bit above freezing now (7:00pm).   The wind has been wreaking havoc with the electricity.   We haven't lost power for any long period of time but have taken quick hits that knocked out the computer and the clocks several times this evening. 

Guess I'll wrap this up before we take another power hit and I lose what I've written.

Saturday, February 5, 2011

February 4 Update

Got called at 6:30 am for a 7:30 assignment back at Geneva Road.  Got there and found two other flaggers already on station.  They had crews working on both sides of the  bridge and each thought they needed their own flaggers, which they probably did.  However, Lori came by about 11:00 and sent the other team home.  For a long time Mom and I tried to cover both sides.  It doesn't work very well because there is too much of a delay in getting traffic stopped when one of the flaggers is nearly a block away from the action.  On top of that there is big steel plant in between and traffic comes out of there when we have the road blocked.  We had one guy come out of there while a big double belly-dumper was coming down off the construction site and the truck driver had to lock up his brakes coming down the dirt ramp to avoid hitting the interloper.  After that Mom checked with the crew on her side and found out they didn't really need her there anymore so she came back over where we worked before so we were standing just on either side of the ramp where the trucks come out.  The foreman on "our" side had pushed to keep the extra flaggers so we'd have people adjacent to the ramp but Lori over-ruled him.  PRC is over-budget on flagging so they're trying to cut back.  Sure won't save anything if there is an accident!

Weather wasn't too bad -- about 22F when we arrived and warmed up to 31F ,maybe even 32F in the afternoon before dropping off again.  Kind of interesting idea when it "gets up to freezing".  We got off at 6:00 pm so we logged 10.5 hours.  That gives us 27 hours for the week.  There is a slight chance we'll get called in again tonight, but I kind of doubt it. 

Thursday, February 3, 2011

February 3 Update

We didn't get called this morning until 7:30  and they needed us back at Geneva Road ASAP.  We managed to get there by about 8:30 and found the breakers were filling in for us until we could get there.  It was 11F when we arrived.  It topped out at 31F in the afternoon, then dropped back down to about 27F by the time we got released at 5:30.  It was an interesting and fairly busy day.  I got called to the other side of the freeway to flag for a second crew over there a couple of times.  That put me about a block away from where Mom was flagging.  We had several double dumpers coming down off the side of the freeway, some equipment movement, and lots of workers -- so much so that I was beginning to feel like a school crossing guard.  All in all it wasn't too bad a day.  Someone noticed Mom's snowboots so she had to change boots and the others weren't nearly as warm and they were too tight for extra socks.  She's going to pick up some new insulated steel toed boots at Walmart tonight so she'll be legal AND comfortable.

We had breakers today.  We got short bathroom break in the morning, then about 15 minutes for "lunch" between 11:00 and 12:00 -- and that was it!  Not much time to eat or to warm up.  Fortunately it was sunny today and even though it was below freezing all day -- and below 20F most of the day -- it didn't feel that cold with the sun on us.

We're not sure what is going to happen tomorrow yet.  Hopefully we'll be called back to the same location -- and, also hopefully, they'll call earlier so we don't hold anything  up.

So far we've logged only 16.5 hours this week, but that is sure better than nothing!

PPS Update:  Talked to Steve this evening.  We're still lined up for a Utah job through a Las Vegas company -- IF he gets the contract.  He also finally got confirmation that the Florida job is history (we pretty much figured that anyway).   Haven't heard anything from Frontline yet either.  Right now it looks like the Las Vegas deal is the most promising but so far it is still just talk.

Wednesday, February 2, 2011

February 2 Update

Well, nothing really new to report for today.  It is COLD outside, high of 20F predicted for day and low again around 0F for tonight.  No calls from either of our agencies for flagging today or tonight so far, but it is only about 2:30 so time-wise there is still a chance we could get called in tonight.  Those calls usually don't come until at least 5:30 or so.  However, since last night's previously scheduled assignment was canceled because of weather (0F low and breezy predicted), there probably won't be any work tonight either, since the forecast is essentially the same.  Not working is a mixed bag.  In a way, we're glad not be standing out in 0 degree weather all night, but we could use the hours.  So whether we work or not, it is a win!

Tuesday, February 1, 2011

February 1 Update

Our assignment at Geneva Road last night lasted from 9:00 pm until 4:00 am.  Temperatures started out around 31F and eventually dropped to 23F and it was quite breezy.  There was actually a Winter Storm Watch in effect from 2:00 am until 9:00 am this morning and a 50% chance of snow with up to 2" accumulation -- but all we got were some snow flurries.

We got an unexpected break about 10:30 and sat in the nice warm car until almost midnight.  We were told there were some vicious dogs loose in the neighborhood and to stay in our cars until they were controlled.  No details about the dog or dogs but I'm guessing it might have been a guard dog from Timpanogos Harley Davidson since the animal control and cops seemed to be focused right around there -- or maybe that just happened to be where the animals were spotted.

Our Hottie Toe Warmers worked pretty good for at least the 5 hours they are rated for, but by about 2:30 my toes were starting to get cold with it 23F outside.  It was around 23 most of the night.  The Hot Hands hand warmers we picked up at Walmart worked pretty well and stayed hot until after we got home.  One advantage to the hand warmers is you can take them out and re-expose them to fresh air and shake them and re-activate them.  Kind of tough to do that with toe warmers stuck to your socks inside your boots!  Another trick I used was to pull my thumbs and fingers out of the fingers of the gloves and just cradle the pad in my palms to warm my fingers and thumbs.  The pads don't fit well down into the fingers.  Guess I should look into getting some mittens.

The foreman was really glad to see us when we got there last night.  He already had both light stands set up, although he had to move one so I wouldn't be back-lighted.  He said they started their shift at 5:00 pm and could have used us there at 6:00.  Kind of hard for us to do when we didn't get called until 7:00 pm and given and ETA for 9:00 pm.  We have been asked to come back tonight at 6:00 pm.  The forecast for tonight is a low of 0F, so it is going to be a cold one!  The hourly forecast says it should be about 15F when we arrive at 6:00 and will drop to 9F by 10:00 or 11:00.  It is only 17F outside right now (at 11:30 AM!).  If the crew keeps working as long as they did last night we'll log about 10 hours tonight.

We are going to try using two Hotties on each foot tonight -- one on top of the toes and one underneath.  I wore mine on top last night, Mom put hers on the bottom.  I think she was able to "stir" hers with her toes and keep them working longer than mine did.  I know there was still heat available because mine warmed up when I took off my boots and was able to expose them to the air and mix up the stuff inside the packets a little bit.  Using two at the same time won't extend how long they last, but I'm hoping it will get our feet and our boots warmer so they'll stay warmer longer -- if nothing else, they should help against the colder temperatures tonight.

I did break down and put my ski mask on last night and it definitely kept my nose and cheeks warmer.  I'm thinking I may wear my beanie on top of my ski mask for extra insulation on my head and ears.  I figure a scarf will help with the chill on the back of my neck between the fur collar on my snowsuit and my ski mask.

I think we're going to pick up some body warmer packets to stuff inside our jackets or pants if necessary tonight.  Mom and I both didn't really feel cold (except for our feet again) but our backs did get a little cool in the breeze at 23F.  At this point I can only imagine what it will be like as it approaches 0F.  I think it is a good idea to have some options.  We're already dressed warm enough that we won't face frostbite or hypothermia, but it sure can get uncomfortable when you get cold and can't get in the car to get warm!  And then muscles start to tighten up and hurt too.  Not fun!  I noticed my back and shoulders were getting pretty tight and tired last night from constantly crunching my shoulders up.  Part of that was a deliberate attempt to keep my fur collar up around my neck but a lot of it was just an involuntary reaction to the cold.  Mom's back was hurting her too last night.  I figure a body warmer at the small of the back will not only warm our backs but warm the blood going down into our legs and feet too.  We'll get this figured out, just like we got the hot summer days figured out.

P.S.  PRC canceled all flagging assignments tonight, citing weather so we weren't stuck out in 0F cold.    We did get the body warmer paks so we'll be prepared for the next one.  I also got some mittens -- the kind hunters use that are made so you can open up the palms.  They are essentially a pair of gloves with cut-off fingers and a mitten that flips up over the naked fingers.  Unfortunately, it was the last pair at Sportsman's Warehouse so we'll have to keep looking to get some for Mom.  She has some knit mittens of the same design, but they won't be warm enough by themselves for flagging.  This style of mittens might be useful for PPS work in cold weather too.

 Latest weather forecast is showing 2F tonight instead of 0F and 2F tomorrow night instead of 7F.  If tomorrow night is going to be as cold as tonight there probably won't be any flagging tomorrow night.  We have let Labor Ready know we are available for flagging tomorrow during the day since we won't be up all night tonight.  We did get a call from them around 8:30 with a flagging opportunity in Spanish Fork, but since we'd been out until 4:00 this morning, we weren't able to take it.  So we don't have a clue what tomorrow will bring.