Tuesday, January 7, 2014

Polar Vortex

When winter began, I wrote a blog about how I can't stand it, how the darkness and cold get to me. I always have a little hope, though, that maybe the winter won't be so bad, maybe we will get lucky.

Not this year. This year we've been hit, hard. I mean, like, right now it is a windchill of -36 degrees outside, with about 9 inches of snow. You know what happens to snow when it's that cold? It freezes. You can't salt the roads below 15 degrees. So basically? We're screwed. We are going to be living in an icy, frozen snow globe for the next few days. Before today, I could not have possibly imagined what -30 degrees would feel like. I can now. It feels like your blood is getting sucked out of your veins. Your nose hairs freeze. Your breath is taken away and you begin to cough. Your eyes water. Your cheeks ache, burn from the cold. Any inch of skin exposed to the cold feels like it is going to fall right off. It's not a good feeling.

If I was a kid, this might be kinda fun. Eating warm meals, chugging hot chocolate, laying around watching tv and coloring all day because of no school. But now, I'm anxious. I did a lot of work from home, but if I get stuck much longer I will run out of the things to do, and will need to get back to the office to continue. Our company has sent out emails stating our safety comes first, and that they expect us to make the right decision, but at the same time, work piles up. Patients need to be seen. When you work for a hospice, the need to work is constant. It's not easy to just take a few days off or be away from your work. Our patients still need us. 

This is one of the worst winters we've had, at least in the last few years. The cold temperatures are hitting records. I guess we were due for it. And I know, it's Michigan, we should expect this kind of weather. But that doesn't mean I have to like it. 

This winter is a real test for me. I could curl up in a ball in my hoodie and sweatpants and stay locked up in my room for a few days, not doing a darn thing except worrying, and obsessing. But I know that, very simply, I can't do that. Doing that means letting winter/darkness win. I've come this far, I will continue to fight through this storm (literally) to get to the sunshine. I have, instead, continued to do as many work projects as I can. I've taken shoveling snow as my task, trying to clear the way for a few of us. I write- this 500 words challenge has been a savior, allowing me to let my mind wander. And I've been cooking. Soups, mostly, because what else tastes as good as soup when it's -36 degrees outside? 

So it's not all bad. It's difficult, and a little annoying, but I am blessed in that I have a warm home, a job that cares about my safety, food in my pantry and fridge, and the health to shovel. 

This will come to an end. We will see warmer temps and sunnier skies soon. I will rejoice the day I put the shovel back in the garage, knowing I won't see it again until next year. Until then, I will tiptoe on the ice, carefully paving my way.

PS: Saturday is supposed to be 40 degrees. A heat wave for us. The snow will melt, and we'll get ready for the next storm.


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