Baby, it’s cold outside.

10 Jan

Screen Shot 2014-01-10 at 7.25.16 AM

Perhaps you’ve noticed: it’s been COLD lately. I know, you may have missed it. I can see how – if you live in Florida, don’t have a Facebook account or avoid television – this newsflash may have completely passed you by.

Let me bring you up to speed. Apparently there’s a “polar vortex” hovering somewhere over the Great Lakes. As a result, the Midwest is getting buried with snow and temperatures have been stalled below zero. Even in DC, where anything below freezing is cause for angst (we ARE southern, after all), we’ve been in the single digits. When combined with some wicked winds, the windchill here has been as low as -15.

From the human reaction to these temperatures, you might believe that hell was, in fact, freezing over. My Facebook newsfeed has featured no fewer than a dozen photographs of cars’ instrument panels, prominently displaying temperatures. It’s like a pissing contest, but with low temps.

My friends who are parents seem to be split on the matter of snow days. Some (mainly those who are teachers) are rejoicing along with their children that school is canceled. Others seem to be running on fumes as their two-week holiday break gets extended – and extended – and they face their third week cooped up inside with hyper, stir-crazy children.

I think my sister is in the latter camp. She’s started sharing (and trademarking) somewhat mundane activities on Facebook that she’s creating to keep her kids occupied. And she’s referring to herself in the third person – never a good sign. For example:

On day 18 of extended break I took the kids to the basement for Alicia’s 20 Minutes of Fitness™. It ended up lasting 30 minutes and I lost (winner got an oreo).

UPDATE: It was a Double Stuff… and there was a chance earlier to win another one in Alicia’s World Series of Poker™.

I suppose I should be glad she’s creating activities for them to do inside. The other day she told me that after shoveling for twenty minutes, her oldest son returned inside and began complaining about his hands hurting. She looked at them and found that his fingertips were swollen like little balloons.  At the time I laughed, imagining him with sausage-like balloon-animal fingers.

But then just yesterday one of my high school classmates (who also still lives in Michigan) posted these photos of HIS fingers after shoveling for an extended period of time.


Yep, that’s frostbite all right. Call me naïve, but somehow I thought the only people to actually get frostbite were arctic explorers, plane crash survivors stranded in the Himalayas, and anyone who lost consciousness and was later discovered in a snowbank. Shoveling snow in Michigan with gloves on???

So if you haven’t shoveled a foot of snow, almost lost a finger to frostbite, or been cooped up with children for three weeks without respite, I think you should consider this year off to a great start.

As for the rest of America? It might be worth investing in some very thermal outerwear. Or bumping up your insurance plans.

18 Responses to “Baby, it’s cold outside.”

  1. Tua January 10, 2014 at 8:56 am #

    Oh dear…that does look scary. I can say my year is off to a really good start with Europe having a rather mild winter.

    • pithypants January 21, 2014 at 9:14 pm #

      I think anyone whose hand hasn’t morphed into something resembling and untreated STD is having a good year.

  2. thesisterslice January 10, 2014 at 11:30 am #

    Yikes….I can’t like this….

  3. Scritch January 10, 2014 at 12:26 pm #


    i had no idea it looked like that! – did he lose his finger??

    • thesinglecell January 10, 2014 at 7:11 pm #

      In fairness, I don’t think it USUALLY looks like that…

      • Scritch January 13, 2014 at 4:32 am #

        oh thank god. scary!

      • pithypants January 21, 2014 at 9:09 pm #

        Right? That photo didn’t even look like a FINGER when I first saw it.

    • pithypants January 21, 2014 at 9:12 pm #

      According to his FB post, the hospital sent him home “with a BandAid.” That doesn’t sound right to me though…

      • Scritch January 22, 2014 at 4:41 am #

        maybe there is nothing you can do about it. its a puzzle. but those sausagy lumps freak me out

  4. dianeskitchentable January 10, 2014 at 4:22 pm #

    Ewww, that is one ugly finger. I can understand a kid not knowing enough to come in from the cold, but an adult not realizing? You lose fingers that way. As for a pissing contest in this weather, I wouldn’t recommend it.
    One good thing with the cold we’ve had in the Boston area – I don’t have to pluck my nose hairs out – they froze & just broke off.

    • pithypants January 21, 2014 at 9:12 pm #

      So maybe if you step out in shorts you can save yourself some time shaving?

      • dianeskitchentable January 22, 2014 at 8:29 am #

        That’s a possibility but if I did that today I’m guessing my neighbors would see a half naked frozen statue of Diane which wouldn’t be pretty.

  5. thesinglecell January 10, 2014 at 7:11 pm #

    My car does not have a thermometer. I feel so alone.

    • pithypants January 21, 2014 at 9:10 pm #

      Your car sounds like a hipster, willfully breaking from the norms. Just don’t try to make it a fixie – I hear that doesn’t work so well on cars.

  6. Jan Moyer February 1, 2014 at 9:45 am #

    I don’t even use a weather app any more – I just open up Facebook.

    • pithypants February 2, 2014 at 8:04 am #

      So true… between photos of car dashboards and comments about snow, there’s really no need to check with TWC.

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