Sunday, January 25, 2009

Winter, Begone!

This has been a very, very, very long winter, starting with a snowstorm October 10, a melt and a little respite, and then the day after Thanksgiving wham, it has been cold, snowing, blizzardy, nasty and evil since then. I'm always highly amused when the weatherman on CNN talks about the "brutal cold" when it's 2 degrees in New York City, when here it is -30 and then add a wind chill to that. We haven't had 10 days above freezing between Thanksgiving and now, and that's a long cold spell. And February is usually the ICKY month! My aging scottish terrier has decided he wants to go for a walk so he can do his stuff outside of the yard (which is de riguer in the summer and fall and spring), but the problem is we get half a block away and his feet are so cold I have to carry him. Yes I have those darling boots, but when I put them on him he stands in one spot and shakes, paralyzed. So I get to take him out every hour until he finally relents and will go in the auxillary magic poop spot. I also take care of a group of feral cats and they get watered at least once a day, and I have to portage food in to them as well. This is the first winter I have really had to drag myself to take care of those cats, but I do. And they eat commensurately more just to sustain their body temperature.

Frigid weather takes planning. I have to take 2 of my cats to be neutered tomorrow and they need to be there at 8 in the morning. This is very early for me. Appallingly early. Its dark. Its cold. I will have to go start my car at least half an hour before I dare take off across the tundra - my pampered darlings might catch a chill. In my car I have a goosedown sleeping bag, a couple of blankets, extra clothes and socks, a shovel, a couple of candles and a tin can to burn them in, matches, toilet paper (!) and a deck of cards or a book. If you get stalled on the road or stuck in the snow and can't get yourself out, you hunker down and wait. People who leave their stalled vehicles in the winter in North Dakota die, or lose parts of their bodies they'd prefer to keep. A cell phone will not keep you warm if it is storming too badly for help to get to you. My car always has a heavy-duty battery in it so it starts in all but the very coldest weather, so if I didn't, I'd have to go start my car every couple of hours or so just to keep the engine limbered up. I don't drive after dark if I can help it. But I'm old and not as adventurous as I used to be. Sometimes I even wear socks.

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