Thursday, December 6, 2007

winter wishes to all my southern friends and family

Today when I woke up and drug my tired and frozen buns out of my toasty bed to see that it was a balmy 16 degrees outside. Despite the want to run back under the covers and play hooky, I got dressed.

When it was time to head out the door I had to begin the process of putting on my gloves, scarf, ear muffs (because I refuse to wear a hat when I have to be presentable at work) heavy winter coat and thermal snow boots. I have to have a pair of dress shoes in a bag to change into at work. You don't dare try to navigate the icy parking lot and walkways with 3 inch heels!

I grab my bags and keys and head outside in the frigid air. We have had snow for a couple of days now and while it is maybe 2 inches, it is frozen solid and crunches as I walk in it to the van. I can't drive the mustang in this weather because it is rear wheel drive, lacking traction control and abs.

I open and start it while grabbing my ice scraper to clear my windows. My windshield wipers are frozen to the window and I can't climb up to reach them in my suit I am wearing so I do the best I can to try and break them free. I wipe the snow off the windows as my feet are starting to go numb and my fingers begin to feel like icicles. I get back in the van and watch my breath as I rev the engine in hopes of it warming up faster. It finally gets warm in the van just as I am 2 exits on the interstate from my destination. About this time I see traffic slowing down because someone took the turn too fast and spun out.

I finally get to work and pull into the still unplowed parking lot. Only the head cheeses get the spaces close to the building so that leaves us peons to park in the back lot. With my boots on I get good traction and my feet stay relatively warm and dry. What digs into my bones is the wind whipping up from the canal and lake nearby. The buildings create almost a valley between them, making the wind even stronger. It reminds me of living in Chicago years ago. That feeling lets you know it is winter in the north.

Once inside the building there is slop from everyone's winter footwear, so you have to tread carefully so you don't slip on the slick tile floors. By the time I trudge up to my office on the 3rd floor I am sweating from all the winter gear. I unlock the door and begin to peel it all off. I swap out the boots for a pair of pumps and quickly go make some hot coffee. It warms me on the way down.

When it is this cold outside I avoid going back out until it is time to leave. I have to begin the dress process again as well as the painfully cold walk to the parking lot. I also have to scrape off of the window, warm the car and attempt to not get frost bitten while the van's engine warms. To add insult to injury, it is also dark out when I leave at 5:00 p.m. I then begin my trek to my second job (teaching 3 nights a week) 20 minutes away. The roads are very steep and I often see cars spun out along the way.

I get to school, teach and have to head home again, only now it is 10:00 p.m. and 9 degrees. Luckily there isn't any new snow fall on the car, but the wipers are yet again frozen to my windshield. I warm up the car and head home 40 minutes away.

I go inside, try to unwind for bed as quick as possible because I know the toastiness of my bed will be short lived when the alarm goes off again for another round of dressing, scraping, warming, slopping, etc. This pattern generally occurs from December through March (and sometimes until late April) with some days better (and worse) then others.

Sure it can be easy to become bitter and cranky during this time of year, but the beauty of fresh fallen snow, the fun of snowball fights and the joy in children (both big and small) at the prospect of sledding down the big hill at a near by park out weighs all the bad ten fold.

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