January 14th, 2005

Brr...

CWB says it'll be cold and possibly rainy today through Monday, getting down to 7C at night. I always get told I'm a little sissy boy to be complaining about such weather, but there's several factors which make it more miserable in Taiwan when it gets below 10C. The main factor is the humidity. Most places don't have 90% humidity when it is this cold. The next is that houses here have crappy windows and little or no insulation, and mostly concrete or brick walls with no carpeting. And finally, most houses don't have heaters. We actually ended up buying an oil-filled electric radiator (Made in Germany) this winter, but that's just for the living room. All in all, if it is 7C outside, it'll be close to that inside as well. This is not too bad for sleeping since we have enough thick comforters, that it's fine there under the covers. But when actually up and about, it's pretty cold. With the high humidity you have to be careful to wear just the right amount of clothes, because if you wear too many you'll start sweating and then you'll get damp and miserable.

Not much to report on yesterday since scrungew00t was out with relations, so I got caught up on email and cleaning up my disk a bit. Today is his last day here, but he leaves almost at midnight, so still have time to do some more stuff.

cold shower on a cold day

As if it is not bad enough that the weather is cold and miserable, the battery in the water heater up and died just after I started showering. And it had beautifully cruel timing too, cutting out just after I'd gotten all wet, but before I had shampooed and soaped up. The only thing worse would have been if it had cut out while I shampooed and before rinsing. So I had to dry off, get dressed again, find a battery, go outside on the back balcony to change it and poke it until it would work again, then back to take a shower again. Grr.

Americans are probably used to the kind of water heater where you have a big tank in a closet or garage somewhere, and the water heater keeps a nice 30 gallons or so of nice hot water on hand for whenever you need it. These usually have an always-on pilot light and do not need electricity to operate. In Taiwan we have small tank-less heaters that are also gas powered, but do not have an always-on pilot light. They are a small box about 2.5 feet high, 1.5 feet wide and 8 inches deep. You need to put in a D size battery to fire the pilot light and control the logic. When the battery fails, the heater stops working. And since there is no tank to hold the nice hot water, it is a very abrupt and sudden failure.

And as an update to my last entry, the other factor it is so miserable when it is cold here is that my dear wife insists on opening windows for fresh air even when it is cold. :(

scrungew00t goes home, Emily gets upset

Today was scrungew00t's last day in Taiwan, just dropped him off at the bus to the airport. He ended up with so much crud that he didn't have enough luggage space, so I lent him one of my suitcases. Even with that extra one it was pretty tight. That actually works out fine for me, because my suitcases are usually nearly empty on the way to the US but I bring back two full suitcases of crud. So effectively I'm getting him to take the suitcase back for me.

Unfortunately when Emily saw me walk out the door carrying my suitcase, she burst into tears saying "Daddy, don't leave!" No matter how much I explained to her, she thought I was going on a trip somewhere. So when I came back 20 minutes later, she was surprised and said "Daddy, you're back!" She's been going to daycare for the first time this week, so she's kinda stressed out about a lot of things and she was in an especially bad mood today. Poor baby.