The Cold

I’ve talked about weather at cafes, at work and even funerals. It is
the “go-to” subject of the bored and uncomfortable. The recent
session of cold has made the weather more than suitable coffee-talk;
it is has become the visitor, already given the elbow, who will not

I can’t remember cold like this, so early, so long-ever. I believe we
spent 19 days under zero in January of 1997 but December is normally
a bit more charming than January. This is a cold that reveals
weakness in humans, cars and houses. It is the reason you avoid
plumbing in exterior walls and spend the $100 bucks to have a
frost-plug heater installed. This is game-changing cold in that the
emerald ash-borers who went for a pleasant nap under ash bark are now
destined to be nothing more than an empty space at the end of the
tunnel they once bored. This cold is reason enough to keep the kids
from driving snowmobiles over the septic tank drain field.

I love national news reporting of the cold weather, it is so silly.
They act as though the cold is beyond our experience or is an invader
from outer space. While it has been inordinately cold, it really is
nothing new to the Midwest. Some of the warmer states go into a
full-on paralysis when they get even two inches of snow. It’s as
though they totally shut-down until the weather becomes more
familiar. Now, when Minnesota receives 100 degree temperatures with
100 percent humidity, typical in the warmer states, do we go fetal
and hide in our homes?

I guess we did hide on Monday, at least we hid the children. Governor
Dayton decided to close all schools in Minnesota, an act modeled on
prior Governor’s actions. I suppose he decided to err on the side of
safety, which is good. It seems though that we already have school
administration and school boards to guide our schools and make
decisions. I think the end result would have been the same, I just
prefer the overseeing authority of my local school to be, local and

Winter weather means winter driving, hopefully safe winter driving.
So many accidents are caused by the tail-gater. The tail-gater
follows his/her fellow drivers too-closely for reasons…well, for no
good reason. I think the tail-gater is either punishing those who do
not speed as they do or else they are preparing to pass, neither a
legal reason to tail-gate. Here is a good rule of thumb for a car
driver; for every ten miles of speed you should have one second (NOT
ONE CAR LENGTH) between you and the person you are following. If you
drive a tractor/trailer unit, you may make it 1 ½ seconds for every
ten miles of speed. If you run into a vehicle you are following, you
will be at fault. If you are a tail-gater, you should vow to never do
it again and make amends with your higher power. I’m sure most
tail-gaters have an reason for their actions; there exists, however,
no excuse.

The cold also begs for daily remedies. I mean, we need to be
comfortable as possible even in these bitter conditions. I have an
idea, “cat snuggies.” Snuggies are those blankets that have arms sewn
into them and are suitable for everyday living. A cat snuggie would
have individual pockets sewn in which would be suitable to hold one
cat. There would be a synergistic benefit of warmth to both human and
cat and keep at least some of the cat hair sequestered in the pocket.
I just re-read that last sentence, perhaps I’ve become a little nuts;
the cold may be getting to me.

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