Sunday, December 31, 2017

The Last Week

The last week of 2017 has been cold.

That statement, at first glance, may seem to state the obvious. Isn't the last week of every year, at least in the northern hemisphere, always cold? But when I say cold, I mean colder than usual. Only last week, I was complaining about not getting my money's worth of low temperatures and snowfalls here in Chicagoland. Soon after that post was written, we had a snowfall on Christmas Eve and another one a few days later. The highest temperature that we've seen since then was -7 degrees Celsius and the lowest -19. Today, we are expecting the mercury to go down to -22.

Outside our house on Christmas Eve
We haven't been stepping outside our house at all except for the most immediate needs, such as attending parties, and shopping for throwing parties. We had planned to go and see Christmas decorations in Chicago one of these days but scrapped that plan in view of the cold. The other day I lost feeling in my hands and ears and had a whole body ache when I cleaned snow off my car before I went shopping. I can only imagine what would have happened if I was out photographing the streets of the Windy City.

Not that the inside of the house is all good. Here's a photo of the windowsill near the head of our bed in our bedroom. I'll let that sink in for a moment.

That windowsill, a few inches from our bed (seen on the left), has a layer of ice (seen on the right) frozen below it inside the room. Let me explain. In winter, the air inside heated houses tends to become terribly dry. This causes a lot of inconveniences such as itchy skin and bleeding noses. To prevent that, we run a humidifier in our bedroom which pours water vapour into the atmosphere throughout the night. This water vapour condenses as water droplets when it comes in contact with the glass window panes. These water drops flow down the pane and accumulate as a thin layer on the windowsill just below the shutter. The house, being an old "heritage" house built in 1938, does not have airtight windows, so there is a (very tiny) gap on this windowsill where this water enters by capillary effect and comes in contact with the outside air which, as I mentioned before, is colder than -7 degrees Celsius. So this water freezes and forms an airtight seal of ice on the windows. In the end, this ice keeps us warm in the room.

I went out on Christmas Day an hour before sunset to take a walk around our campus and take some photos of the freshly fallen snow. Here are a few photos from that day.

The Music department

My office

The Art department

Our house
The parties that I mentioned earlier have been fun. Between tasting food and exchanging gifts from several different countries, life has been good. But now, I must end this blog post and go prepare for a New Year's party this evening. In the meantime, here's a photo of Bengali style egg devils that Poulami made for the last party at our house. I wish every one of you a very happy and prosperous new year 2018.

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