I love January! Said no one, ever.
Okay, some people actually do love winter, which just goes to show you: Northern Indiana needs better mental health screening. I used to take part in winter activities, but I was young then, and young people just haven’t learned that being miserable isn’t an adventure.
When I was a kid, I loved sledding, snowball fights, and not having to pay the utility bills. Well, I liked them … I never did warm up all that much to winter. Then, one day when I was about fourteen, I came in from building a snow block fort to discover my hands and toes had themselves become snow blocks. My cheeks had taken on a white, Frosty-like sheen.
My face cheeks. Get your mind out of my insulated underwear.
Thawing out involved a process not unlike being stabbed with a thousand white-hot pins and needles, and from that time on I couldn’t stay in cold weather for long before the affected parts started to feel like they’d been shotgunned full of rock salt. It took all the fun out of it.
Today, my favorite wintertime activities involve a book and a cup of hot chocolate. So January does have an advantage: I can catch up on my reading. But that doesn’t really make up for the gas bill.
Last year, here in Indiana, we had a return to real Indiana winters. You know, the kind of stuff that leads on The Weather Channel. The kind of weather only snow plow drivers and ice fisherman like, and see above about mental health. For many previous years, our weather has largely just been miserable, instead of awful. But now we’ve returned to the kind of weather that led to the sale of T-shirts proclaiming “I survived the Blizzard of ‘78” … and if you had one of those shirts, you know “survived” wasn’t an exaggeration.
So the big question people have today is, will this winter be as bad as last winter?
Now, this is my January column, but because of other deadlines I’m writing this early—way early. It’s December 3rd, and at the moment it’s a balmy thirty degrees and technically late fall. We’ve only had one snowstorm, so far. By the time you read this it will be mid to late January, so you’ll know whether my prediction is correct, or whether I’m blowing cold air.
I will be right, and I know this because it will be my fault.
Several weeks ago, I opened my garage door to take out the lawn mower. I know, hard to imagine mowing the lawn now, isn’t it? At the moment you’re looking at a field of white, or a sea of icy brown, dead grass in between snowstorms. But there was a time when things were green and I was out in it, enjoying my allergies.
Okay, “enjoying” might be a stretch, but I’d rather have hay fever than frostbite.
Now, a note about my garage: It’s old. As in, originally a carriage house old, with a hay loft above it. At some point it was turned into a garage big enough for, say, three quarters of a car, and I assume it was at that point that the garage door was installed. At some point after that, but before I moved in, the roof burned off. Somebody nailed tin sheets over the charred rafters.
In short, my garage has been through a lot.
Just the same, I could still park the car inside during bad weather, as long as I let the passenger side brush up against the wall so I had enough room to squeeze out of the driver’s side.
Or at least, I could park inside until the moment I started to pull the garage door shut, and the springs broke.
Suddenly, instead of me shutting the door, the door shut me. I was slammed onto the concrete at just over the speed of sound, which fortunately kept me from hearing my high pitched screech. Eventually I crawled into the house, where I decided I was done mowing for the year.
Not long after that I lost my part time job, which meant I didn’t have the money to repair the afore-mentioned door. Now, add that to the fact that I haven’t had time to winterize the house this year—winterizing in this case means putting plastic over every window, pumping caulk into every other opening, and cleaning the garage so the car can fit in. That last would have been a wasted effort, as it turns out.
In other words, I am more completely unprepared for winter than I’ve been at any point in my adult life. And that, dear readers, covers at least two or three Murphy’s Laws, guaranteeing that we are going to have one of the coldest, snowiest winters since the early eighties.
You’re welcome, snow plow drivers and ice fishermen. Make sure to wear gloves.
|Caption: My garage in better days … well, before I got a better car, anyway. Notice the door is already tired.|