Saturday, February 28, 2015

50 Shades of White

I don't want to turn the page to March without posting at least one post to remind me just how interesting this February has been.  Most everything coming out of my mouth these days is a semi-rant or semi-whine, so apologies in advance to those with sensibilities where their love for winter is concerned.

Oh February!  The shortest, longest, cruelest month.  It's been viciously cold since what feels like forever.   It was -22C (-6F) this morning, again.  I never thought I'd say it, but this year I actually find myself getting used to the cold.  I made my quarterly trek to Costco today and picked up another 100 lbs of cat litter, and I might or might not have been vocal about my discontent as I pushed my cart to my car.

You haven't lived until you've pushed a full shopping cart through snow or slush.  To those people who say, "oh, look, pretty snow", I have news for you.   Pretty wore off sometime in January.  Pretty wore off when we opened our latest Hydro bill ($493 for 63 days of bitter cold hell, in case you're interested).  Remember, we don't even heat with hydro, we heat primarily with wood.  Pretty wore off when I got my car stuck in a snowbank during a whiteout with a -30C windchill in the fiercest, coldest windstorm I have ever experienced.  Pretty wore off when I needed air in a front tire.  It was -26C that morning, and you haven't had winter fun until you've fumbled with a tire and air hose at -26C and watched the innards of your tire pressure gauge fly out over the vast frozen tundra of the parking lot, just because it was TOO COLD for even the gauge to function normally.

Cold is the common denominator of every equation these days.  It takes forever to get dressed in the morning, adding layer after layer after layer.  We have different hats, gloves, coats and boots for different snow conditions and temperatures.  We even have a selection of different shovels to chose from, depending on what version of the white crap has fallen.  The car seats - they've been frozen for months now, and they're hard as rock.  Cold has permeated the house, and the novelty of winter and fond memories of the first snow has been filed deep into the recesses of our gray matter.

Oh, it's all just so much fun, fun, fun!  I know, I know, let's do this FOR A FEW MONTHS MORE!  WHEEEE!!!  Cue the sound of crazy spinning wheels!

Let's just say we're due for a nice, long thaw, preferably one that lasts all summer.  We know Mother Nature isn't done messing with us until at least some time in April, if we're lucky.  The cats are stir-crazy,  housebound and clingy, Odin poops balancing on two alternating legs (he's getting quite agile at it), and we're both board-certified lunatics as well, weather notwithstanding.

I've been knitting on two interminable black projects (why oh why do I do this to myself?) and just the other day, my prime February occupation of playing Freecell (I swear I need therapy) kicked in.  I was good until last week, when I told myself I'll play one game, just for old time's sake.  Well, my serotonin levels must have gone up a few notches, because I find myself spending an inordinate amount of time shuffling virtual cards from one column to another.  Thus Seasonal Affective Disorder has been officially diagnosed.  This year, I think there are millions and millions of us suffering from it.  It's been a hard one, and we're all in the same boat.

Eric flew to Vancouver and London for close to a week this month, and I asked him what impressed him the most about the sudden change in climate, and his answer surprised me.  He said it was the colour of the surroundings.  I'd never thought about it until he mentioned it, but everything outside is drab and gray and dirty.  Snow doesn't stay white for very long.  Everything on the horizon is bare and lifeless.  I haven't even heard a bird chirp in months now.  It's little things like that we take for granted the rest of the year, the greenery and life and sounds of seasons that aren't winter.

On a different note, we have quite a few Snowy Owls around.  They are fabulous birds, huge as anything, and love to sit on light standards and hydro poles, so they are easy to observe if you're looking out for them.  I had one fly alongside my car the other day, and their little heads are round and their wingspans huge.  A formidable bird and a pleasure to watch.

Eric is also busy tackling the drywall upstairs.  We might actually end up with a finished house after all...

And a 12-year dream has finally been fulfilled.  We installed a central vacuum the other day, and little Miss Whiny February actually has a smile on her face as she pushes the vacuum around the house.  (Have I mentioned just how much cats and dogs shed in winter?)

So, with February counting down, I wish everyone warmth and patience and pretty sunsets.


Claudia said...

I feel for you, really I do. Even though I am so much farther south than you, we've had some very cold temps, and even a little snow. It's starting to feel old, and we've only been dealing with it a fraction of the time you have been! All I can say is, Hang in there. Spring will come. But I don't blame you for feeling grumpy.

I did enjoy this post. Your writing has a great touch of humor! Love the title, too.

Stephen Andrew said...

Ahhhh it's that time of year, isn't it? We're all starting to lose it. This morning I had to hitch a ride with my neighbor to get my Tim's. On snowy mornings she texts me: "I drive-you buy? Be there in 5?" Bless her! So wish Odin and Barbie could play! She goes nuts for it. Stay sane! I'll try too. Or as sane as I can be.

Shim Farm said...

Hi Claudia, Hi Stephen! Just alone turning the calendar page to March has done so much for our morale! It's also 36F outside which is the mildest day we've had in the last 8 weeks. February ended up being the coldest month in 60 years, so I think my complaints were all valid!

Humour is a necessary coping tool for winters like these. And like Stephen said, we're all starting to lose it! That just about sums things up.

I woke to the sounds of crows crowing, and the horses in the field beside ours have decided to come out of hiding. It's a sure sign that spring is on it's way.

Thanks to you both for your kind comments and support! Every little bit of encouragement is appreciated!

Robin said...

That sounds so miserable. We didn't get any snow this year but I wouldn't want to put up with your low temps every week to get it. Lee hated the dirty gray winter when he lived in Indiana. I've never lived anywhere like that. I hate being cold. Your post made me feel bad for you but at least spring is coming and drywall is arriving and central vacuuming is your life now. :D

Shim Farm said...

Robin, haha, yes, my new central vac is the bright spot in my life right now! It's going down to -2F tonight, so we're still struggling with the weather. Everyone is so down it's unbelievable. I think when it finally warms up we're all going to just flip out.

Eric finished priming most of the drywall upstairs. Now we need to work on putting up more pine boards - and shimming the crooked ceiling. There is end in sight. The only spot we haven't installed drywall is the corner that will get the AC split. We need to get the wiring diagram for the unit we'll be installing, and then we can hopefully finish up that corner too. If I have AC this summer (hard to fathom right now) I will...I will...I dunno...cry for happiness.

Hope your renos are coming along, and that you'll be living in a finished home before long.

knitigatingcircumstances said...

Oh man, that sounds cold! I don't think I would ever venture outside if it was that cold. I am so impressed with your fortitude. When I was a kid, I loved the Laura Ingalls Wilder book, The Long Winter. Everyone else loved the cheerier books but I thought that endless winter was romantic. Shows how much I knew! My advice - stop knitting black things. Knit something orange and spring will arrive!

Shim Farm said...

Kelly, it was MINUS SEVENTEEN this morning, with a wind-chill clocking in at -28C. We've given up!

I've got a pair of green socks on the needles, and a cotton cardigan next in line. Every little bit of spring/summer inspiration helps!

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