Friday, December 30, 2011

How to De-Wuss-ify yourself

J- I just finished reading about the Shackleton Expedition to the South Pole. If you are not familiar with this expedition I would suggest you read one of the many books about it. Basically it began around 1915, an expedition attempt to reach the south pole. Unfortunately the expedition got stuck in ice and over the course of a few months their boat was crushed and sank by the ice flows. The crew then went on to survive almost a year and a half floating on ice flows, through the Antarctic winter in sub zero temperatures with little more than the wool clothes on their backs and reindeer hide sleeping bags. They survived on what few rations they were able to save and a diet of penguins and sea lions. They eventually had to take to the water as their ice began melting into the sea the following summer. They crossed hundreds of miles in open life boats in the worst ocean in the world. They landed on a remote uninhabited island of rock and ice where most of the crew remained while 6 men boarded one life boat and continued 800 more miles crossing the Antarctic ocean finally reaching a Whaling station where they organized and later rescued the rest of the party.

So over the last few years I have come to slowly slip into the pit of being a Wuss. For those of you who do not know, a "Wuss" as I see it is a weak, lazy, or cowardly person. You see in the last 6 years or so I have been focused on things like building a house (now 2), work (the never ending, go so you can get a paycheck kind of work), family medical issues, and general laziness(not that the first 3 items listed are not important). In fact even though we have chosen for personal reasons not to have television/cable in our home, I somehow convinced L to let me buy a flat screen TV which I told her would be great for SKYPE but really it was for the MOVIES I like to watch on almost a daily basis.

Well to get to the point, a good friend called me last week inviting me to go dig ice caves and go camping in them. I declined the invitation knowing with the holidays I could not get time off work. I declined saying I wanted to but couldn't, due to my work schedule. As I got off the phone I asked myself if that was true, not the work part but the "wanted to but" part, and I took comfort in thinking about my warm bed and flat screen TV (for SKYPE right?).

It was at this point I realized I had hit the bottom of the Wuss Pit. 6 years ago this was not the case, a person would haft to be careful what they invited me to do.

So my decision came slowly, I have not been sleeping well for the last couple years. Not-so-much insomnia just never seeming to get enough sleep, and always waking up tired and sore. I asked myself, J when and where have you had the best sleep of your life? To myself I replied, while camping duh! For some unknown reason regardless of the sleeping conditions, when I go camping I sleep better than anywhere else. This does not mean I don"t wake up sore while camping, but I cannot remember a time I went camping and at least didn't sleep well.

Why is this? Any Ideas? Why is sleep that much better when your camping?

So I decided to give it a try and experiment. Also this would serve to De-Wuss-ify myself.

This morning I woke up to -8 F, my second night sleeping outside.

Night 1 - 6 hours, sleep woke up to -2 degrees F, sleep was good, slightly sore muscles/stiff no more stiffness than sleeping in the house in bed. Need face mask or cover for head, thick frost built up around head of sleeping bag. Didn't know we had SO much traffic in our dead end neighborhood late at night.

Night 2 - 8 hours sleep woke up to -8 degrees F, Sleep good, again stiff and a little sore, probably because I try not to move all night cause when I do I discover new parts of the sleeping bag not kept warm by my body heat. Found a use for old baby blankets! used one to cover the head opening to my sleeping bag, this worked well tempering the air for ease of breathing, only down side, the baby blanket gets heavy as frost condensed from my breath, the blanket then drips, only a few drops, but very cold drops on my face.

Not sure how long I want to keep this up. I believe the better sleep derives from cool crisp clean air, and maybe the body focuses on keeping warm and may allow a deeper sleep(better sleep) so it can focus on just staying warm. Not-Sure, I believe more experimentation is necessary, furthermore, I need to know if it is just the "new bed phenomenon". To rule the "new bed phenomenon" out I need to do it a while longer until the sleeping conditions are not "new".

I am welcome to suggestions or theories. At this point the sleep is nice.

Just to clarify for those who might have seen how long this post was and skipped parts, essential parts required to understand the main plot......

L & J are not having marital problems, L thinks J is crazy but L knew this when she married J and therefore says she will support J in this sleep study experiment.