cold


I don’t have too much to say…it wasn’t nearly as bad as they made it seem like it was going to be. Anyone think that the Weather Channel likes to create drama to gain more viewers? I mean, who really wants to watch the Weather Channel when nothing is going on? Well…I do, but that doesn’t count. I’m a weather geek. But anyway, the wind wasn’t bad, we did get quite a bit of snow, but not nearly as much as predicted (woo hoo!!). And despite the forecast saying it was to be gloomy and dreary today, the sun is shining brightly…at least as I type at this moment. Here are a couple of pictures:

2007 Storm
(I took these out my window, by the way. There is no way in heck I’m going outside on a cold day like this!)
This one is of the front yard…you can see where the kids have already shoveled, and how high the banks are. We were blessed to have a neighbour (who takes care of the cemetery across the road from us) use his tractor to do the portion next to the road. That part was going to be difficult, since the snow plow compacted the snow and made drifts over 3 feet high. So we’re grateful (well, the KIDS are anyway) that he came over and pushed it all out of the way.

This one is the back porch…even though there wasn’t all that much wind, you can still see where the snow drifted. It’s kind of cool!

Snowy Porch

So, it’s over. The Blizzard that really wasn’t (and I’m glad it wasn’t!). But we did get quite a bit of snow…in some areas of the yard, it’s over 3 feet (so sayeth the child that walked around the house after his turn at shoveling this morning). We may not see the grass again until July, but at least all the snow keeps the kids busy, when they are shoveling, and happy, when they are playing in it. See? I can be positive, even when it comes to snow. 😉 Although, if we’re not careful, we might lose a couple in the higher drifts. That might prove to be interesting.

It’s only November! In my mind, the weather should still be balmy and warm. But this morning, as I took Mr Izz to school (story of my life these days…), it was cloudy, cold, and it was precipitating a mixed bag of goodies…first some rain, then some sleet, then some snow. SIGH! I really was hoping to get through at least until January 😛 . Yesterday, as I cooked the rice outside on the camp stove we have (don’t ask….really…you don’t want to know…), Victoria came out and asked if it was going to snow soon. I told her more than likely, but hopefully it will wait for another month or two…or three…. All of this despite the smell of snow on the chilly wind that was coming in from the north. Yes, snow really does have a smell. And it looks like I pegged it, as I always do (patting myself on the back, thank you very much). I’m just not ready. I know, I never will be, but my lack of readiness and general avarice to such things as snow and cold really ought to be taken into consideration before they are inflicted upon us all.

The other thing that’s annoying me today is the whole “holiday season” thing. Why on earth do we start with this madness so early? Do I really need to be thinking about Thanksgiving, let alone Christmas, before Halloween? I don’t think so. And yet, as I watch my telly or listen to my radio, I am bombarded with commercials laden with the sounds of sleigh bells and random “ho ho ho”‘s. I swear it gets earlier every year.

I think that if we banish snow and cold until around…hmmm, let’s see….the middle of December perhaps, then maybe we’ll be able to circumvent the whole “holiday season” garbage. It won’t be cold enough for sleighs, therefore no sleigh bells, and there won’t be snow, so no one will want to think about ho ho ho’ing. And I’ll get a bit of peace and quiet on the holiday front, along with good weather for longer. Sounds good, don’t you think? Unfortunately, given the fact that I live in the frozen tundra which is the North Country, neither of these things is going to happen any time soon. Which only means I’m going to have to find my boots, which are still packed away…somewhere in some box in some void which no one in their right mind would ever enter. Except me, of course. But only because I hate cold feet.

When we moved into this house, the landlords left an electric dryer and told us to feel free to utilize it. I’m used to a gas dryer (since that is what I have), but since we knew we were only going to be here for a short amount of time, we felt there was no reason to have a guy come out to install a propane tank and run the gas line to the laundry room just to put our dryer in the house. The electric one worked, and that was good enough for our brief stint here.

Despite the cost of running the darn thing (electricity is really expensive!), it has worked out well for the 6 months or so that we’ve been here. Until last week, when the thing died the death…I put a load of freshly washed sheets in, set the timer, pushed the on button…nothing. It didn’t even turn on for a split second. This was not a good thing…when you are running a household of 13, you need the means to launder, and then dry, copious amounts of laundry on a daily basis. Of course, there are alternatives to an electric (or even gas) dryer…one especially that I actually enjoy doing. When the weather is good (in other words, the sun is shining and it’s at least relatively warm), I utilize a clothesline on a constant basis. I very rarely dry the clothes in the dryer, because using the sun and wind is much more appealing to me. It’s better for the environment, and the clothes just smell so much nicer. Plus, I just love being outside in general, so any excuse I can muster to be out is a good one (at least to me). Unfortunately, it’s still Winter here in the North Country. There is no sun, and no warmth…there is plenty of wind, but it’s hardly the kind that beckons to you to come out and run through the fields with it…or to hang laundry out on the line in, since that is what we’re talking about (I did lose myself there for a second, didn’t I?). But the laundry must be done, so I put a load of towels into the washer, and waited patiently (HA! That’s only because I really didn’t want to do the next step) for it to be done it’s cycle. After the final spin, I grabbed the towels, put them into a basket, put on my really cool red hat and gloves, and proceeded to go outside. The snow was mid-boot, and the wind was making my longer skirt flap around in the wind (not a day for skirt wearing, that’s for sure), but I made the hike to the clothesline anyway. There were still diapers on there from right before the storm over the weekend…still wet, of course. I was losing hope that the towels would dry at all, to be honest, but they had to be put somewhere. So I hung them up…skirt still flapping around, my hair blowing into my face, and the towels flying up as the wind blew under them. They were beginning to get stiff as I put them onto the line too…I wonder if there is a possibility of their freeze drying? You know, like the strawberries you get in breakfast cereal now? No? Oh well…it was a thought anyway.

I’m sure I was quite a sight to the neighbors…that silly lady next door who hangs her laundry out in the freezing cold and snow. I know I would have laughed, had I been the one witnessing the scene. But there I was, be-gloved and be-hatted, trying to get the darn towels to stop blowing long enough to get them all onto the line. Which I did. And there they’ll stay until they dry. With the way the weather is looking, that might not be until next week, but at least I can say that I washed them, and then attempted to dry them. I’m actually hoping that the wind will help them along, despite the cold. If not, the next time someone takes a shower, they’re going to either air dry, or go out and get a wet towel before they jump in. I’m not really sure which one would be better, but I know I would prefer not to be the one to find out.

As of late, I feel I’ve been rather obsessed with winter. It’s hard not to be…I have 6 foot piles of snow in my yard from the snow taken out of the driveway; I wake up to a brisk –15F more mornings than I can count these days; and whenever I look out my window, I see a huge mound of snow and ice teetering on the edge of the roof, seemingly waiting for some innocent squirrel or bird to hop underneath to finally come crashing down. But despite my seeming obsession, I’ve been reminded quite a bit lately that this too shall pass.

While Winter is notorious for bringing ice, snow, and frigid temperatures, it also brings with it light (although I tend to think it does this begrudgingly). During Autumn, the days became dark and dreary, but with the Winter comes the lengthening of the days. Each day, as I look out onto the frozen tundra-esque landscape, I notice it staying lighter just a bit longer in the evenings, and the sun peeping up over the horizon a bit earlier in the morning. And each day, as I am noticing these changes, it’s almost if one can hear the ancient maples groaning and stretching their gigantic arm-like branches toward the sky, their internal alarm clocks ticking more loudly in anticipation of that awakening soon amidst the sun and warmth. Even they know it won’t be long.

The animals also seem to notice the abundance of light these days. The birds seem to fly a bit higher among the clouds, and sing a bit more joyfully in the treetops. The littler animals don’t scurry quite as quickly, in want of a warm nest to burrow in to. The wind, apparently wanting to get in on the action too, seems a bit less blustery at times, almost as if it’s getting itself ready to breeze through the fields, to tell the wildflowers it’s secrets.

Yesterday, I had to run some errands, and I noticed that since the temperatures had gone up a bit, the snow had started to melt in some areas. This tiny bit of thawing was enough to bring on just a touch of the smell of Spring…that smell of newness and life; of green fields, wild flowers and gentle rain.

I know we have some time until Winter is officially over here in the “North Country”. But these things have given me hope that it will be here sooner than we think. Soon, I’ll be able to walk without the trouble of a bulky winter jacket, feeling a warm breeze in my hair rather than the cold, blustery wind that bites my nose and cheeks. No more mittens, no more gloves or boots. Just think of how much time I’ll have on my hands! I may just end up having time for that book I was going to read through the Winter…

I hate cold weather. This is a fact that those who know me know all too well, for I tell them often enough. Once the cold, snow and ice have their strangle hold upon the land, I’m ready to fly south for the winter. Heck, even the thought of it coming is enough to prompt me to start wishing for Spring. Unfortunately, wishing does not make it so, and now here I am, in what I not so lovingly call the frozen tundra of the Northeastern US.

I have considered myself lucky this year, honestly. The cold came late. I admit I was hopeful that it wasn’t coming at all, until that ill fated day in early January when I realized it had. After putting on the coffee, I peered out the window at the thermometer, only to think there must be a mistake. It read –22˚ F. Yes, you did read that correctly. NEGATIVE 22˚ F. Without windchill. And to think I willingly moved here.

Of course, with the cold came the snow. With snow comes children with eyes aglow, asking their mother (which would be me) to help them find their snow boots, coats, mittens, and various other essentials, so they can venture outside into that vast white landscape. “I can’t wait to make a Snow Angel” exclaims one. “Just wait until my snow fort is done! I’ll put in a whole arsenal of snow balls to fight off intruders!” announces the next. Meanwhile, there I am on hands and knees, searching through the closet to find all of the things they need to make their snow dreams come true. Now, mind you, I seem to be the owner of the only closet on the face of the earth that has contained within it a black hole, the ending of which no earthly man can ever know. Searching within this endless vacuum is futile, for nothing lost within the confines of this closet will ever be found. I’m actually beginning to think that there is a correlation between it and my dryer, but that’s another story for another day.

Despite this, I still search, and miraculously I find enough gear to get them out the door and on their merry, snow filled way. After 30 minutes of sheer torture, I have gotten 6 children dressed in snow pants, boots, mittens, jackets, and hats…a record on my part! As I get up and breathe a sigh of relief (and congratulate myself on my speed and agility), I hear a very faint voice coming from somewhere behind me. As I whirl around, I see a small bundle, and this bundle seems to be talking. I crouch down in front of it, only to hear the dreaded words “Mommy, I have to go potty” come out from under the scarf over her mouth. At this point, I figure that I may as well make all of them go, so off comes all the gear, and into the bathroom go the kids. I deserve a medal after all of this.

Believe it or not, they attend to their business, get their gear back on and are out the door in a relatively short amount of time. The littlest ones are upstairs with their older siblings who didn’t want to go outside, and so things are……dare I say it?……QUIET. I go into the kitchen, put on water for tea, grab my book that I’ve been dying to start, and curl up on the couch.

Of course it’s too good to be true…not 2 minutes later, I hear a faint knocking on the door. When I open the door, a child waddles in (you have to understand that with that much “stuff” on, you cannot run or even walk. Waddle is the appropriate adjective). “Mommy…it’s too COLD to play outside!” “What about your snow fort, and the arsenal of snowballs?” I ask, hopefully. “But the snow is COLD!” comes the answer. Off comes the jacket, the hat and the mittens. The boots come off just in time for the baby to come back downstairs with his sister. He apparently likes how cold the snow is because he lays down on the floor to lick it off her boots. At least I won’t have to clean it up, I suppose.

Not too much longer, the rest of the troop makes their way in, each complaining about one thing or another. So as long as it took me to get everything on them, they’re back in, and all their stuff is piled onto the heater., in an attempt to dry what never had time to get wet in the first place.

“Yay! Mom put water on! Now we can have hot cocoa!”

SIGH! The hot cocoa is made; my tea long forgotten. As I sink into a chair, I hear that little voice again….

“Mom, may I go outside?”

Where did I put that brochure for Tahiti again?