Thursday, January 24, 2013

In the DEEP Freeze!

Looks like temps might rise up to a balmy 23 degrees by Sunday here in the cold New England area! Can't wait. Woke to a thermometer that read -2 degrees this morning with windchill significantly lower! And it is not just here, in the snowy north, where it is expected, but the plunging temps cover a large portion of the country.

So here are just a few of my observations/reflections on the cold from someone who prefers summer. I can however still appreciate the unpredictable nature and stellar beauty of winter, from the warmth of my home, heated car and layered protective outer wear of course!

My body feels like the moisture has been air vacuumed out of me: prickly, itchy and tight. So dry in fact that I am uncannily drawn to any skin care product right now that uses the words "intense, deep or penetrating hydration" in its advertising. And it goes without saying that my lips crave moisture too! Just bought a great one yesterday by Berts Bees, in case you are interested, infused with Kokum butter and comes in a tube. It is divine and keeps my lips well lubricated for a long time. Pucker up!

My son has been so restless and rather crabby upon his return from school each day which I suspect is due in part to the fact that the kids cannot go out to play if the temps are below 20. Outdoor play is so important, for kids and adults alike, but frigid temps are not safe. I get that, but it is hard sometimes! Very hard.

I always chuckle at the people, men in particular,  spotted wearing shorts in weather like this. Is it a NH or New England phenomenon? I see more scruffy guys, in baggy shorts, wearing them with aplomb and looking at us like we are the crazy ones and daring us to challenge their manhood. It is like some "rite of passage" and makes me think if they could unstick their frozen lips they might utter "ugh, me strong as ox and tough as bison" as they beat their chest and climb into their heated vehicle. I don't see them driving around with their windows open, beards blowing in the wind. Apparently the flash of leg  and exposure to the elements is just a teensy bit for our benefit and not their own perhaps.

Then there is the ice that cakes around the windows each night, especially the ones that are directly over a heat duct. Which happens to be a lot in in this house! So I run around with towels wiping down window sills before the water hits the floor. I try raising all the blinds part way each night but still the ice forms. I lower the humidity, but within reason as the brutality of dry, blowing hot air wrecks havoc on the sinuses.

The deer came traipsing through my yard last week, prior to the deep freeze, eating everything in sight. They are a family of five that have been coming here since the 3 youngest were fawns, so I have grown accustomed to their gentle presence. I am fairly generous with my shrubs and let them imbibe until I saw one munching on some heather that I nursed back to life after last winter. I rapped on the window, as 5 sets of ears all perked up in their attempt to determine if it signaled danger. Typically, this would be enough to make them move on, but it only gave them pause as they moved slowly over to other shrubs, but thankfully left the heather alone. Food clearly trumped danger as their uncanny and highly developed animal instincts sensed the impending cold approaching. Beefing up vital fat stores for energy and warmth took precedent. I could not blame them one bit!

Even our cats have been acting rather odd lately. Running amok each night in a frenzied chase that typically only happens once a month or so. But in this cold, it has become a nightly ritual of hilarity for us to watch! They zoom and sail over furniture and up and down the stairs as though something were in fierce pursuit of them. The chaos lasts about 5 minutes and in the end, with heaving chests the tired cats all hunker down on the sofa to curl up against us for further warmth.

There are other less significant signs of the cold. Light bulbs burning out all over the house. In fact we have changed 8 so far in the last few weeks. Loud snaps and pops that startle are heard from the roof as it settles in for the night bracing itself till dawn arrives. Water turns colder in the tap much quicker then usual, but hot water seems to take forever to heat up. Layering clothes is a must. I have had on my "oh so soft" flannel lined jeans and fleece sweaters for days now. (Fashion can take a back seat, warmth is key in my book!)

So while we all hunker down waiting for the thaw, it is comforting to know we live in a place where the weather does indeed change in more noticeable ways then others. This is not Siberia or Antarctica,  so we pause and we wait and it will all pass soon enough. At the very least it gives us something to talk about, right?

Warmest thoughts to everyone!

NEWS FLASH! A beautiful BARRED OWL has been warming up in the tree just outside my back slider window! A never before seen site it my yard. I often hear them calling at night to one another but this cold, blustery day has indeed brought even the owls out of their hiding in search of warmth. How wonderful to see!

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