Sure, it’s been a rough winter. But hey, this is Chicago. If we can’t take a little cold and snow we should lose our residency permits. Poor Atlanta got hit with an inch and the world nearly ended. Here, an inch isn’t even noticeable.
“Oh, it snowed? Well, if you say so. I don’t see it.”
Anything under a foot is child’s play. The play of a child. Don’t speak to me of miniscule increments.
This winter season we’re already over average snowfall by more than 20 inches, last I heard. Now that we notice. It’s also been bitterly cold which, believe it or not, isn’t terribly common for us. And when it does get this cold it never lasts for more than a few days. In the twenty-plus years I’ve lived here, never have I encountered a winter like this. Not even close. Needless to say, I was thrilled to hear we’re expecting more snow over the weekend. It’s either 3 – 5 inches if you believe The Weather Channel, or 8 – 10 inches if you believe the old men hanging around Walmart. If the past is any indicator, we’ll either get no more than a dusting or three feet, meteorology being as inexact as sciences get.
I foresee a weekend spent holed up at home, possibly never leaving the warmth of our whirlpool tub. That thing is a lifesaver. Coming in from the brutal cold it’s the first thing I think about. Get me to the tub! Stat! The heater keeps it at temperature, the bubbling jets relax frozen muscles. Throw me a book and leave me alone. It’s heaven on earth.
Still and all, there’s no looking forward to this weekend. I’ve had enough. Much as I hate heat, I would crawl to Florida if I didn’t think I’d freeze solid on the journey. When I heard the forecast I could have burst into tears. And I don’t cry. Now that I’m in my 40s I know what older people mean when they say “I can feel the cold in my bones…” Never made sense before but it sure does now. Misery. Sheer misery. My joints hurt, my bones hurt, my hair’s so brittle it’s breaking off. I go through a barrel of hand lotion a day. It’s very not wonderful.
Abject misery… Flowers in the grocery store taunt me. I have to be restrained when tropical vacation commercials come on TV, lest I hurl a brick at the smiling and happy. They are WARM. WARM!
And I am FROZEN.
It’s said the best way to get through a horrible time is not to commit a crime but rather think of positives. In no case is there no positive, said no one, ever. Except the Dalai Lama. And I suspect a byproduct of poppies helps him get through his days with a smile. But never let it be said of me the weather could keep me down. If winter plans to hang on another couple months – BRING IT!
I know how to handle this mother.
Make sure you get out of the house, every day if at all possible. Nothing’s worse than that cooped up feeling, the claustrophobia beautifully rendered in The Shining. Your house has a door, so use it. Suit up warmly, throw on a scarf and gloves and get outside. Maybe take a walk. You have snow boots, right? Get yourself a fashionable pair and BOOM! You’ll be asking, “What winter? Where? I don’t feel it ’cause Uggs!”
In metro areas we have things called forest preserves. That’s so we know what trees look like. They have hiking paths and some people snowmobile. Others go cross-country skiing. If that’s not your thing, just take a walk in the “wilderness” of suburbia. What animals do you see? Write about them in a journal. Illustrate entries with your own drawings. In the spring you can look back and remember how special these walks really were. The magic of winter will become apparent in ways it never did while suffering through it. You won’t be the same person at all.
We call those “fond memories.”
Lose yourself, take new paths previously untrodden. There’s no predicting what you may find.
Should the idea of being outside feel unbearable, consider baking. It will fill your house with the aroma of yesteryear, before people had carryout food and disposable income. Have you used a recipe book before? I bet you have one somewhere! Dig it out. You’ll feel better after exercising those cooking muscles. And your family will appreciate your efforts. ENJOY.
Gosh, there’s so much you could do to take your mind off the cold. Curl up in front of the fire with a cup of tea and a good book. Watch movie marathons. If it’s your thing, start spring cleaning!
This has been a long, cruel winter. But, like everything else, it will eventually end. Not as soon as we’d like but ah well. When the crocuses pop up, just before the daffodils and the lilies the deer eat before you’ve even seen them, you’ll be that much happier.