Frigid [posted 12-21-08]

1 Jan

Today was the coldest day I can remember since I moved to Missouri in 2003. Does anyone remember a day when it’s been more glacial?  It was an even lower temperature then 2 years ago when we had the big blizzard that made Mizzou cancel classes for the 5th time in history.  The only other time I remember such biting weather was when I lived in Montana.  And I don’t REALLY remember that all too well, as I was a small child, and probably spent most of my time bundled up and indoors.

When I was growing up, Nevada was fairly temperate.  Sure, it got brisk when it got dark, but the super-bitter days were ones I could see my breath.  Even THAT didn’t happen often.  Back then, my winter clothes were jeans and a hoodie, so that’s what I wore to walk dogs in Missouri.  BIG mistake.  I thought I might actually die from the wintery weather the first year I was in Columbia.  I had no hats, gloves, scarves, or winter jacket.  I endured without, figuring no matter what I wore I would feel frosty in this new climate.

The next winter, I was Missouri-prepared!  I got Sampson boots with a liner, warm boots for inside, scarves, hats, leather gloves, and a Dickies outfit, which is like Carharts (sp?), but with long sleeves, zippers in the legs to make boots accessible, and zippered pockets—very fancy.  Sometimes when I lead dogs in my winter clothes, I’m actually sweating!  Not as warm as Nevada, but pretty comfortable for Missouri.

The funny thing is, I thought living in Nevada last year would give me a pleasant break from raw winters in Missouri.  Wrong!  Things had changed since I left.  I attribute it to global warming, but Nevada’s winter was just as arctic last year as the winters I had endured in Missouri—not what I had remembered from the 16 years I lived there at all!  No fair!

Back to my story:  I knew it was going to be nippy this morning when I woke up to the space heater running.  I sleep between 2 electric blankets, so I’m nice and toasty all night, and didn’t notice the draftiness.  The space heater is set to a low threshold so my pipes don’t freeze, and it only comes on if the temperature drops below that.  It had dropped waaay below my threshold—it was only 3 degrees outside when I got ready for work!

When I went out to warm up my (stupid, stupid) car, my key wouldn’t work in the door (too icy) even when dipped in boiling water.  People, thank your lucky stars for the automatic locks you probably take for granted.  When I finally got in the passenger side of my car, it didn’t want to start.  When it finally turned over (after about 100 tries) it kept making funny rrrr, rerrr sounds.  When I was at work, I was wearing my winter duds, and STILL chilly.  It was supposed to reach 18 degrees, but when I went to work the second time, it felt even sharper than it had in the morning!  The wind was gusting, making it wretched outside.

Cold weather makes me feel like a pioneer for some reason.  Does anyone else feel that way?  I feel robust and resourceful when I have to prepare for, and deal with miserably bad weather.  I feel clever when I put a sheet over my windshield so I don’t have to scrape in the morning.  I feel scrappy when I am bundled up and shoveling snow or walking dogs on the ice.  I feel like an Indian when I am optimistic even in tough weather conditions.  That’s not to say I want it to stay cold. . .  I look forward to summer, and am stoked to live in the Caribbean where it will be warm ALL the time!

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