Wednesday, January 29, 2014

January 29, 2014

Even we hardy, snow-loving Canadians are sick of winter already. This has been the coldest and the snowiest winter in recent memory. I would have to go back and look at the official records to tell you exactly when we had it this bad, but I do know it is somewhere in the vicinity of 20 years ago. I keep recalling that winter a few years back when it was in the 50s in January and I saw one brave soul who went grocery shopping, wearing shorts.

I feel particularly bad for all my southern friends who have been hit pretty hard with the cold temperatures—and some of them even having to endure snow! Please don’t blame Canada. Apparently it’s the arctic that is sending all these deep freezing, polar vortex type temps your way.

This coming Sunday is Groundhog Day. I live in hope that the little varmint will not see his shadow and that we will get an early spring. I, myself, am blessed because I have the freedom to pretty much stay indoors. I can turn up the heat, layer on clothes, cover up with a blanket. In other words, the cold is inconvenient, but not devastating.

There was a time when it was exactly that, and I remember all the things we did to help our old drafty house stay warm. We tacked six mil plastic to the inside of nearly every window. We stuffed towels at the bottom of the front and back doors. We kept alert to the possibility of power outages. Since in those days we had a well for water with an electric pump that meant filling the bathtub with water for flushing the toilet and two large pots of water on the stove for other needs. On the occasions when the outages came without warning, we were able to melt snow in pots on our wood stove for the basic necessities.

I can remember filling mason jars with boiling water and then wrapping them in a towel and setting them in the children’s beds an hour before bedtime. I’d replace them before I went to bed, and again first thing in the morning, an hour or so before they got up. We loved rural living, but it was not without its challenges.

These days, although we have had two instances of furnace malfunction in the last couple of months, it was no real hardship. Like I said, extra layers, a couple of electric heaters and the oven on for a few minutes here and there, and we were fine. Too, once you’ve been through really tough times, for extended periods, you discover that nothing can really shake you that badly again. As I always say, sometimes bad things come our way, but they don’t come to stay, they come to pass.

Time moves too quickly as it is, so I know that before long, this winter will pass, and spring and then summer will be here. We joke now that the first person we hear complaining about how hot it is this summer is going to get a smack – but face it, we’re humans—fickle, and imperfect.

The first heat wave that hits us, we’re all going to complain about the heat. I think it’s inevitable.

There isn’t anything we can do, really, about the weather except to try and simply cope with it. We can work on keeping the best attitude possible. For those who have to work out of doors, I salute you and I know what you’re going through. My beloved drives a truck now at the quarry where he’s been employed for more than 35 years. But that is a recent development.

Not that many years ago he would be outside all day, and when the quarry was a family owned operation, and before “safety first” became a way of life, he even used to climb up 100 foot conveyor belts when they would jam with ice and snow—no matter the winds or the blowing snow at the time.

That was in the years when we lived next door to the place, and he would come home each day for a hot lunch—and clean, warmed socks waiting for him by the stove.

It’s amazing looking back at what we endured, together and separately, when we were younger. Older has its own adjustments, but it has its rewards, too.

Stay warm, keep smiling, and we’ll get through this nasty winter.


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