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I hope you winter lovers are satisfied

Well, everybody wanted a white Christmas. There you go, if you live around here: White Christmas. So, Christmas is over now. It can all ... un-whiten up. Here, let me check the forecast.

Nope.

Some people out there say they like long, cold winters. We have a word for that: lunatic fringe. Okay, two words, and a few others I'd add if this wasn't a family column. Well, it looks like they're going to be getting their wish this time around.

I hope they're satisfied.

I hope they're freaking satisfied.

Because I just saw a nine day forecast that never hits twenty for high temps, but goes into minus territory for lows. That's Fahrenheit, people. I learned to spell it just for this.

For several years now, I've predicted that the next winter is going to be a particularly cold, snowy one here in northern Indiana, which used to be the very heart of cold, snowy winters. (Yeah, yeah, I know, Alaska and North Dakota for cold, Vermont and Main for snow, blah blah.) Being an eternal pessimist in the area of winter, my feeling has been that every mild winter gets us one year closer to an un-mild winter, and it's better to be pleasantly surprised compared to just being unpleasant. So every fall, I predict a horrible winter.

It just goes to prove rule #14 of weather forecasting, which is: If you forecast the same thing all the time, sooner or later you'll be right. (Rule #7 continues to be never invade Russia in the winter.)

I was enjoying global warning too much, that's the problem. What the heck, I'm a thousand feet above sea level. More, from my bedroom. We've been getting very mild winters, but the summers haven't seemed unusually hot at all ... or maybe we were just used to them. My wife thought our winters were still cold, but she's from southern Missouri, where the insect problem lessons in July because bugs burst spontaneously into flame. They literally have fireflies.

But I remember the early 80s, right after I became a volunteer firefighter. I joined up on my 18th birthday, which was in July; if I'd known what was coming in January, I'd probably have stayed home and taken up a solitaire hobby. Or a solitary hobby. Or a solitary solitaire hobby. I'm such a card.

I remember coming home from fires and standing my fire coat up, because I couldn't bend it to hang it up. It would be frozen solid. I had a reputation of fighting to be the guy on the nozzle, but it had nothing to do with being brave or some kind of action hero: The nozzle guy was closest to the flames. It was the only place on the fireground that was warm. My fire gloves once froze to a ladder. I had to leave them hanging, literally. Once, during the late stages of a mobile home fire, the regulator on my breathing air tank froze up while I was inside, which is to say it stopped flowing air to my mask. You'd think I wouldn't have minded, since the air was cold, but the whole experience just left me breathless.

But at least back then every joint in my body didn't hurt whenever the temperature fell below forty. I felt the snowstorm that led to this cold snap coming in, and by "felt" I mean I could barely move despite unsafe levels of ibuprofen. When did I become a human barometer? And what kind of a lame superpower is that?

I guess what I'm saying is, winter just isn't my season. But some of you people out there want it. Well, you're going to get a good, long, frozen taste of it this year, and I hope you put your tongue to it and get stuck there for months.

I also hope you're freaking satisfied.


"Well ... I like it."

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