Anyone that knows me, knows I don’t like winter.
I think it stems from when I was first married and my husband moved us to West Virginia (reverse culture shock for this DC beltway girl) for his job. Only thing was, in the West Virginia winter, work dried up for a brick mason and money got scarce. I was busy having babies (three in seven years) which gave me rights to the saying “barefoot and pregnant,” but the barefoot part didn’t go very far in the winter months. I was a stay-at-home mom and I’d find myself snowed in for a week at a time. It didn’t do much for my sense of humor.
Years later, we moved to the Eastern Shore of Maryland near the beaches of Assateague. Jeff told me it was his way of making up for West Virginia. It took me years to overcome the fear of fall, knowing that winter was on its heels and we’d be broke. Eventually, we both had careers that were not tied to the weather and boy, was I grateful.
But, I still go into the fetal position when I have to put my flip flops away for the season. It’s usually right around my birthday. Go figure. It just proves that God does indeed have a sense of humor. The older I get, the more the ironies pop up. You think you can dodge them, but you can’t.
I spend lots of time on my porch writing. I love being outdoors, but don’t like cold toes. First thing you know, I’ve got my blanket thrown over my lap to keep warm. But when my fingers get cold and I can’t type, all bets are off and I head inside. I’ve learned to enjoy writing in my mother’s rocker in front of the blazing wood stove. There’s an upside to everything, most of the time.
So, rather than continue blabbing about my woes, here is my list of “Things I love about winter (nobody ever said):”
• Sitting on a cold toilet seat
• Feeling the goose bumps show up. Mine show up from the top of my head to my feet. How did they ever come up with that term anyway? Well, thanks to Google you will soon know. Have you ever seen a goose after the feathers have been plucked? Me neither, but the feathers come out of a follicle that is raised once plucked, resembling our cold weather goose bumps. And if you’re wondering about “goose pimples,” that’s what the British call them.
• Cold hands and feet – I must have poor circulations, ‘cause mine are always cold once the temps dip below 40 degrees. Exercise can help with that, but I have to get out of this rocker to make that happen.
• Cold car – The only way to avoid this is to run out and freeze for a minute and start it up early or invest in a remote car starter. My late husband had one installed on my car for my birthday one year. It was great except that I traveled a lot and the car was never close enough to my hotel room to use it. Mr. Irony is a constant in my life, it seems.
• The flowers die. Sigh…there’s no explanation for this and it’s a definite question for me to ask God when the time comes. Come to think of it, I should pack up this blog and take it with me when I hit the pearly gates.
• The birds leave. Every year when I hear the first flock of geese fly overhead and head south, I holler at them to “Go back. Don’t leave!” They don’t listen.
• Leaves fall off the trees. Yes, they’re gorgeous in the fall, but why can’t they just hang around till spring before falling off?
• Frozen pipes – You haven’t lived until you experience this. No water means no flushing toilets, you can’t wash a dish, and forget taking a bath. One year in West Virginia, it got so cold that if your pipes were only buried to the normal fourteen inches underground, they froze. That year, the freeze line was 40 inches. When my husband brought a 55-gallon drum of water into the living room with a hand pump, I packed up three kids, the oldest of which was five, and left on the Amtrak train for my parents’ house in the DC area. I told my husband to call me when things thawed out. The joke was on me. Two days after I arrived, DC had the blizzard of a lifetime that managed to cancel Valentine’s Day. Evidently, Mr. Irony had jumped inside my diaper bag.
• Driving in the snow – That was one thing West Virginia did teach me, but I learned the hard way to shift into low gear instead of riding the brakes. Doing a 360 on the four-lane (term the locals used) was enough to make that a learned lesson. I have countless stories, one of which when I was nine months pregnant, trying to get home from my baby shower in an ice storm. I think that’s a blog in itself. Stay tuned.
• Then there’s the weight gain because when you’re snowed in for a week, what else is there to do besides cook comfort food and then get comfy and eat it? Richard Simmons’ tv show couldn’t burn up enough of the calories. If you don’t know who Richard Simmons is, I’ll let you Google him for yourself.
• But you can go snow skiing, right? Not when your pregnant, you can’t. That’s when my husband and his family took up the sport, of course. So, that ship has sailed and it took my skis with it. Thankfully.
I know God has a good reason for all of the above. What doesn’t kill you, does indeed make you stronger. Wish I’d coined that phrase, but it was Friedrich Nietzsche, German philosopher, back in 1888. I’ll bet he was talking about winter.