A Heartfelt Plea

Despite my aforementioned raging hangover headache, yes, my non-alcohol related headache, I’m working frantically to get my weekend chores completed. While ferrying trash and recyclables (hey, I’m nothing if not environmentally conscious) from my inner sanctum to the appropriate cans outside, I can’t help but notice the temperature has taken a serious nose-dive from the pleasantly balmy weather we had yesterday, but, in retrospect, not unlike the wintry weather we had just last week.

To which I say, for the love of god(dess?), Mother Nature, pick a season and stick with it! Please. I’m begging you.

 

 

 

Life at the North Pole

As I sit here listening to the wind raging outside, with the temps having once again fallen to an ungodly low, I think I’ve had enough. Why do I live somewhere where the air hurts my face and my feet remain frozen no matter how many wool socks I put on? And to think, I’ve recently considered moving to upstate New York or Michigan. I’m not sure what’s wrong with me. Okay, don’t answer that.

I’m not crazy about Summer…it’s too hot and humid here (not like Phoenix hot, but still…). I’ve always liked Winter, if there’s snow – but only with the caveat that I don’t have to go anywhere or do anything…not exactly a do-able lifestyle in my current situation. And I have to be able to get – and stay – warm…also annoyingly elusive these days. All things considered, Winter is just no longer at the top of my list. Spring and Fall? Those are my go-to seasons.

It seems as though freezing weather, bringing blizzards and ice storms, has been happening more and more lately.  Not only are the temperatures more frigid, normally warm parts of the country are now experiencing the deep freeze.  As I step outside into the arctic blast that is currently my backyard (dogs – gotta love ‘em, don’t always love walking ‘em), I realized that many of us have no idea what kind of havoc below freezing temperatures can do to us. Here are a few things to consider before you venture out onto the frozen tundra.

Bodily Fluids

Yes, bodily fluids.  Gross, I know. But, they are not immune to the ravages of the freezing cold. Let’s start with mucous. OK, I said it. Believe it or not, mucous is our friend. It lubricates us.  It acts as nasal flypaper, trapping bad things that try to get into our lungs.  It is, however, composed largely of water. Exposing your nose to sub-freezing temperatures for more than a few minutes means that everything in your nose becomes a solid. Your nose now contains sheets of frozen mucous.

Here’s my advice for you.  Don’t sneeze! Sneezes travel at approximately 100 mph. Because the mucous is frozen, the frozen shards can become flying pieces of shrapnel, meaning that you could blow the front of your face off. Or at the least, injure the person in front of you. Not a pretty sight either way.

Another danger comes from simply breathing. If you don’t have a mustache, don’t worry about this one. As you exhale, your 98.6-degree breath hits the 20-degree air. The water vapor in your breath instantly transforms into minuscule ice crystals. If you have a mustache, the ice crystals collect on it.  In a few minutes time, your mustache is festooned in icicles, making you look like a Game of Thrones White Walker. No matter how cool that may look, I can’t imagine it’s fun…in fact, it sounds painful. Not having a mustache, myself, I couldn’t say with any accuracy, just guessing here.

Cruel and Inhumane

Believe it or not, snow is cruel. It’s beautiful on a postcard or an ad for breath mints, but the stuff has to be moved so we can get around. Blech. Personally, I think adults need snow days more than kids do – we should start a petition or something. No work when it snows. As it stands, snow is often just a frustrating chore impeding us from getting to a place we really don’t want to be in the first place.

Depending on humidity, snow can weigh from 20 to 40 pounds per cubic foot. To give that some dimension, two feet of snow on a 15 x 25-foot driveway can weigh over 15,000 pounds!  That’s why over 100 people per year die from shoveling snow.

Another devilish trick of snow is that people can put it in your way.  Although I’m not sure if this can really be blamed on snow or people – and if it’s people, it’s just one more reason why they annoy me so.  After risking your life and heart by shoveling out your driveway, you run back inside to have a few Irish coffees to get your blood flowing again (because of course, right? I mean, don’t we all?).  Then you hear the sound that makes your blood turn to ice.  They’re plowing the streets.

The snowplow doesn’t care that you’ve just risked your life shoveling a gazillion pounds of snow. By clearing the street, the snowplow has now created a three-foot tall wall of snow across the entrance of your driveway – or in my case, completely trap my car in a mountain of snow…higher than the one I just spent five hours and 5,000 curse words removing.

This is when you consider topping off your Irish coffee, calling in sick, and just waiting for Spring.

The Chesapeake Bay near my town — the whitecaps are frozen

 

I’m not sure how deep the ice goes, but there was no movement in some spots — just ice. Seagulls were walking across it.

Oh Mr. Sun, Mr. Golden Sun

Here is a poem I adapted for you all today from a beloved children’s song:

Oh Mr. Sun, Sun
Mr. Golden Sun
For the love of everything that is holy, please stop shining down on me quite so brightly!

I need to move to a land of breezy weather that never gets over 75 degrees, but soon! This heat that melts your face off is strictly for the birds.

 

 

 

Sunday Musings

Well, considering we were struck with a mid-March snowstorm (in between bouts of warm weather no less) — a late season f**k you from Mother Nature — I guess rain isn’t all that bad. I mean, it could be worse. Friends of mine in Nevada are under several inches of snow as we speak. In April. You have to admit, Mother Nature is nothing if not sarcastic. Gotta love that in a deity.

 

the look on her face in the rain is just perfect

Respectful Rebuke

Oh, Mother Nature, Mother Nature, you know I have such reverence and admiration for you. You are awe-inspiring and well, simply stated, amazing. But…come on! You had weeks and weeks to send Winter this way and you waited until NOW? A snowstorm? Seriously!? Right in time for Spring?? What the hell!? I’m sorry, with all due respect…this is such bullshit!

Winter Games

Now that the holidays are over and the first real “winter event” having happened (in my area at least), the only thing facing us is a bleak, grey, block of time until spring.  Don’t despair, though!  This is the time for fun and frolic in the fresh, cool air of the winter time.  Let the Winter Olympic Games begin!  In fact, here are some of the games we regular folks can play this winter:

Guess that Frozen Lump:  Is it leaves?  Mud?  Dog poop?  What IS that mysterious brown lump frozen to your sidewalk? Players will pick up mysterious objects and attempt to identify them, feeling protected because they are wearing gloves.

Slip and Slide Pride Recovery:  As you walk down the sidewalk and slip on that tiny patch of ice, you must recover quickly and gracefully.  Points are awarded for stylish arm waving and flapping, catching your bags before they hit the ground, and doing the soft shoe shuffle.  If you hit the ground, points are lost.  Extra points are awarded for trying to pretend it never happened to the bystanders recording you for YouTube.

How Deep is the Snow?:  This fun little game is played when you step off a paved surface into a pile of snow without realizing there is a hole under the pile or simply misjudging Mother Nature’s (or the snow plow’s) ability to heap up the white stuff.  Points are tallied based on how long you stand in the snowbank looking confused, how caked the snow is onto your pants, and how much snow went down the inside of your boot. Points are lost if you actually require help to remove yourself from said pile.

Dodge That Salt Truck:  We know salt trucks are a necessary evil on the roads in the winter.  Nothing, however, is as frustrating as being in the vicinity of one as it spews dusty white granules at your car.  To qualify for this game, you must have had your car washed three days prior to the ice event, at most.  You may drive three lanes over and up to two miles behind the salt truck.  Points are deducted from an opening score of 100 in increments of 10 points per inch of dust on your car.  Someone writing “Wash Me” in the dust while you are in a store qualifies you to win this round instantly.

Bread Dash 2017:  Players will meet at a supermarket immediately upon hearing there is potential for snow in the next week.  From the front doors, contestants will glare at each other and begin the sprint for bread, toilet paper, and milk.  The proper way to collect these items will be store brand, generic, and finally when all the cheap items are gone, name brand products.  Points are deducted for browsing and collecting unapproved items such as laundry detergent and pasta noodles.

Radio Stalking for Kids:  Children will earn points for how frequently they change the TV and radio stations hoping for cancellation updates beginning at midnight the night before a forecast winter event.  Player is disqualified if an entire song, commercial, or news cast is completed before the station is switched.

Ice Sculpting:  In the morning, players will report to their vehicles.  They will not be told of any ice or weather event prior to the morning the game is played.  They will need to scramble for brooms and ice scrapers to remove the elements from their vehicles in enough time to make it to work before being considered “late.”  Points are lost if players attempt a “quick ice fix” they read about on Facebook and it fails.  Points can be added, however, if the player’s arm is encrusted in snow that melts down the sleeve of their coat as they are driving to work.

Jamming to Traffic: In this fun game, players stuck in traffic jams repeatedly attempt to find stations on their car radio with music or coverage of anything other than the winter weather event.  No one has ever won this game in the history of radio forecasting, so no points are awarded.  Ever.

Guess Why These Idiots are on the Road:  Players invent fun stories of why there are so many drivers on the road during a winter weather event.  They are awarded points for cursing at the other drivers for being dumb enough to be on the road.  More points are awarded if you can adequately justify why you, yourself, are on the road and why you should not be called an idiot as well.

Winter Cookbook:  Players must utilize whatever food they have on hand in their kitchens to feed their families and pets.  Not to be confused with feeding your family WITH your pets; this is a different game entirely, people. No pets are ever harmed in the Winter Olympics for Regular People.  In this game, players are told that there is only a light dusting of snow expected.  Accordingly, the players will scoff and refuse to go to the store.  On the following morning, they will find their door completely covered in eighteen feet of snow.  Now, these players must use whatever food they have in the kitchen to feed everyone.  Some suggestions: hot dog and rice soup, spoiled ground beef delight, and “that should still be good, it only expired two days ago” surprise. Extra points awarded to those who can create a palatable dish from canned green beans with a sketchy expiration date and old cake mix.

Facebook Beach Picture Collecting: Players earn points based on how many of their friends share pictures of the beach and post about how warm it is in Florida or Mexico.  Players lose massive amounts of points for sharing these photos or in any way confessing to a bout of envy.

As you can see, the winter is full of fun games that anyone can enjoy!  I personally want to enjoy them in Florida or Costa Rica. Or anywhere the cold does not hurt my face. Now, where did I put those damned chains for the tires? Ahhh…let the games begin.

Want Ice With That?

We’ve been having some truly frigid weather here lately on the East Coast topped off with a nice freezing rain yesterday that turned to a lovely sheet of ice overnight. It’s been fun slip-sliding away down the steps and across the sidewalk to my car. Just ask my daughter — she’s the one who can be seen looking out the bay window, surrounded by animals, warm and snug in the house, howling with laughter as I do my herky-jerky “ice dance” across the yard.

I’m not a photographer — but I hope that you’ll appreciate my attempts anyway, as I couldn’t resist snapping the below pics of the tree in my front yard. I thought the ice made it look beautiful.  The larger trees in the back may look like they’re blooming for spring but in fact are completely encased in ice.  When the temps warmed up later in the day, it looked and felt like we were being bombarded with millions of icicles.  Just try walking dogs in that!

ice berries 2

 

ice berries

 

Ice tree with berries 3

 

blooming with ice