Winter either bites with its teeth or lashes with its tail.
I’m sure you are incredibly tired of me talking about infertility. But in all honesty, this blog is about my life and right now, infertility is ruling my life. A year ago, my husbands patrols/deployments were ruling my life and that’s what I wrote about. Eventually, we’ll have children (whether they are biological or adopted remains to be seen) and they will probably dominate my blogging.
For today, I want to talk about winter. Winter in Washington is generally pretty mild. We do get snow from time to time and when we get it, it sucks because no one can drive in it, they don’t use salt and there aren’t many plows that can move the snow.
But, I grew up in Michigan. The northern part of the lower peninsula to be more precise (and yes, I can show you on my hand). When I was really young, I loved winter. We would get a ton of snow. Forget snowmen, we’d make snow forts just by tunneling into a snowbank. Sometimes, they were quite elaborate tunnels with multiple “rooms.”
I have a brother who is younger by three years. I would drive the three-wheeler (yes, at 7 years old) with him being towed behind on a rope attached to a saucer or sled. Oh yeah… I learned how to whip that baby around and fling my little brother off. Of course, I wasn’t allowed to do that to him until he was about seven himself, but still… tons of fun.
Until it came to the winter during my sixth grade year. That winter, there were three days that hit -20 as a real temp and -60 as a windchill. To say it was bitter doesn’t even begin to describe the hell that was. School was closed for those three days because not only wouldn’t the buses run, but they didn’t want any kids outside. Any skin that was exposed would have frostbite starting to set in in just five minutes. It was horrible.
But guess what? We had horses. And they needed to be fed. And given water. I clearly remember I had “inside” chore duty that week (my brother and I alternated inside and outside chores) but because my brother was only 8, my mom didn’t feel he was old enough to be out in that weather. So I had to help my dad do the horse chores. The horses were locked up in a big run-in (meaning no stalls) barn with tons of straw.
Our water tank had water heater, but it couldn’t keep up with the cold. And all the outdoor faucets were frozen. So we had to haul two five-gallon buckets each from inside the house out to the horse barn. We had to make several trips back and forth (three or so) twice a day. It was so cold we couldn’t make it all the way there without stopping at the horse trailer, which was about halfway between the house and the barn. We’d jump in for a few minutes to “warm up.”
When we’d return to the house, my mom would unwrap our scarves, which were completely ice-encrusted across our mouth and nose thanks to our breath. Our snot was frozen to our face. She’d hand each of us two more piping hot buckets of water, wrap a scarf fresh from the dryer on our face/neck and send us back out again.
It was then that I started hating winter. I still hate it. I think snow is pretty but if it comes with cold, I’d prefer no snow. No way, no how. Due to the inevitable frostbite that started to set in my toes that winter, I now have one toe that–if it starts getting cold–will feel the temperatures before any other one. If it’s too cold, it’ll start tingling and go completely numb. Luckily, that hasn’t happened since I moved to Washington.
What was your worst winter?