Saturday, November 13, 2010

Ready for the Groundhog

We have had some fantastic weather this week. It is the middle of November and it has been in the mid-70’s all week. I have enjoyed walking across town to escort my daughter home from school. The windows have been open in the apartment and a nice breeze has been flowing through. I could hear the sound of children playing outside. This morning, however, I woke up to an overcast sky and a temperature of 38 degrees. I checked the Weather Channel website and it forecasts the high for today at only 52 degrees. The 10-day forecast predicts 62 degrees for one day next week, but 40’s and 50’s the rest of the time. This can only mean one thing, but I really don’t want to admit it. I think winter is coming.

I hate winter. Actually, the word 'hate' may not capture what I want to say; I loathe winter. Despise. Abhor. Deprecate. Detest. You can pick your favorite verb here, I really do not care for winter. I don’t like the icy roads, the constant and very real danger of slipping and breaking a bone, the extra preparation and supplies to keep in the car, the increased utility bills, the snow shoveling, the snow getting tracked into the house, the salt build-up on my vehicle, the need for extra clothing, the increased commute time, and the COLD.

Fresh Snowfall in So. IL (2001)
Many people claim that winter is pretty; that the snow covering everything is beautiful.  I will argue that it is not.  When I lived in Puerto Rico, my brother sent me a picture of his backyard so I could see what I was missing. I don't know what feeling this was supposed to give me, but I don't think it worked.  I really didn't miss it at all.  It didn't bother me in the least that I wasn't there to see it.  While he was having to dig his car out of his driveway and spend money on tire chains, I was less than a mile from the beach and eating mangoes on my front porch.  Can you see the difference?  Do you really think I was upset that I had missed the scenery of the backyard?

Laiya Beach in San Juan (2001)


DO NOT ENTER - TOO PRETTY
Let's make a snowman!
While I can give some (although limited) appreciation for the beauty of fresh, fallen snow; it has some serious limitations.  The beautiful places are generally uninterrupted by people (i.e. open fields, mountains, Antarctica, Zac Efron movies).  However, those are also not places in which people have to function.  When the snow falls where we have to live and work it is not nearly as breath-taking.  It is much more than just not pretty, it is a real hassle to have to contend with.  How many times in the winter have you gone out to your car to leave for work or school just to discover it will take an extra 20 minutes to get out of the driveway because of the previous night's weather?  Or maybe you planned ahead and dug a path in the driveway the night before, but woke up the next morning to find that snowplows clearing the roads had buried the last six feet of your driveway under two feet of snow and rock that is now frozen. Or maybe you are running late for work because your car door was frozen shut.  After fighting Jack Frost for half an hour (or longer) you now have to brave the condition of the roads caused by this beautiful landscape.

NO THANK YOU!!

As if walking in this treacherous, slippery landscape wasn't enough, you must do it with limited mobility due to the extra weight and restrictive clothing required to survive.  To get through the winter we have to wear coats, thermal underwear, nonskid (and waterproof) boots, scarves, stocking caps, earmuffs, gloves and other various miscellaneous items.  A family of four has to get up an extra 90 minutes early in the morning just to get everyone dressed.  

Winter clothing choices cannot be taken lightly.  For example, when choosing gloves you have 2 choices: you can either (a) keep you hands warm, or (b) move your fingers.  It is up to you to decide which is more important.

There is still the worst part of winter to contend with: the COLD.  Some days it is so bad it takes your breath away as soon as you step out the door.  You must dress appropriately if you want to survive your excursion out of the house.  If you go overboard and dress too warmly you will start to sweat.  The perspiration could then freeze and crack your face exposing your brain to the elements.  If you do not wear enough clothing (or choose something that doesn't break the wind, isn't waterproof, or gives easy access for bathroom breaks) then you run the risk of various winter ailments.  You could get hypothermia, pneumonia, frostbite, or Mad Cow Disease.  Midwestern Mothers are always warning their children to wear a hat over their ears because if the ears get too cold they could freeze solid causing them to break off if the child turns his head too quickly.  Every winter numerous fingers and toes are lost to frostbite, not to be found again until the early spring thaw.  Unfortunately, by then they are too soggy to do anything with.

As much as I hate this season, I think I am ready.  I have stocked up on soup and coffee and have signed up for all online courses for my college classes.  I am not leaving this apartment until March.  And that will only be to get umbrellas, raincoats, and a canoe, because it will then be time for the torrential spring rains.  I hate spring.

5 comments:

  1. Don't count on leaving by March. We had snow on Easter a couple years ago.

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  2. It is better than winter, but it is a sad reminder of what is to come.

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  3. LOL, I'm with you on almost all your points - I just don't hate it quite so vociferously. Of course, this year standing at the bus stop with my Kindergartener in 8 degree weather has been FAR worse than last year when I didn't really have to leave the house at all if I didn't want to - and then it was only house to car. Pre-heated car.

    It's really the wind that kills me.

    Thanks for linking up to the Pity Party - this was a great piece!

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    1. Thank you for hosting the Pity Party, I think it's a great idea. As soon as I read your post, I knew exactly which post I wanted to use.

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