Wednesday, January 28, 2009

Past Deadline: Old Man Winter Will You Please Go Home

Grumpy about weather? Me, too. Here's my grump about it in the latest "Past Deadline" in The Perth Courier, published on Wednesday, Jan. 28/09.

Old Man Winter will you please go home

Old Man Winter and I are having a bit of a tiff.

Usually we get along fine. He’s not my favourite in the family of seasons, but I don’t loathe him. In fact, I get really annoyed when people make a big stink about the mere existence of Old Man Winter, as if it is some sort of surprise when it snows. When the lead story on the national news is that we might get (gasp!) 10 centimetres of snow and that it will surely cause Chaos and Mayhem and Anarchy, I find it a bit silly.

That whole “Snowmaggedon” thing (the snowstorm that really didn’t amount to much) was really nauseating. Come ON people! This is Canada! We get rain in summer and snow in winter and when it does snow we don’t need to lock down our homes, wring our hands and weep. Not every snowfall is a Storm of Epic Proportion and Misery.

That all said I am Canadian, which entitles me to complain about the weather.

It’s not that this has been a particularly difficult winter. After all, last year was a doozy with that 1,472 metres of snow and all. It’s just that, well, I wasn’t really mentally ready for it this year.

Think of Old Man Winter as a houseguest who comes every year and stays for a few months. You expect him and you make room for him and you do his laundry and cook his meals and you’re used to his quirks and outbursts, but eventually you’re ready for him to go home.

Well, that houseguest came last year in November, got drunk, wrecked the place and then lay around on the couch until about April before finally slouching off home. To make matters worse, as he was leaving he invited his unwanted cousin, Endless Rain, to come and stay for most of the spring and summer and part of the fall.

So, yeah. Old Man Winter and I have had our spats in the past, but this year I just wasn’t looking forward to his arrival. Even though he has behaved better this year, he’s still making me a bit grouchy.

Generally we make the best of the cold, snowy weather. Usually the kids like to get outside and shovel and play in the snow, but even they need to be coaxed this year. It doesn’t help that Mom Ineeda is being completely lazy about “winter fun.” Sure we’ve done some sledding and we’ve been to the rink a few times and we’ve collected icicles and made snow angels, but our snowshoes sit idle and nary a snowman nor fort has been constructed. In fact, much of our family outdoor activity this season has consisted of the twice-daily walk to Boychild’s school. (I know, I know.)

Most years I have looked forward to these daily outings. Girlchild is at an awkward stage, though. It’s a bit far for her to walk the whole way and back, and with snowpants on we’d probably have to set out at 6 a.m. to get Boychild to school on time. So for now she still rides in the stroller or I pull her in the sled. She’s heavier than last year, though, so despite there being less snow the struggle is, sometimes, just as great. Even with our big wheels, slush or haphazard piles of snow along the way make for a rather intense upper body workout. This is good, right?


On a number of days I have withered in the face of too much snow or overly frigid temperatures and have arranged to drive Boychild to school. On those days I feel for Lloyd, our crossing guard at Wilson and Isabella, standing in that achey cold to keep the hardier walkers safe.

Although I’m glad Old Man Winter is being more gracious this year – providing a rather typical winter complete with cold snaps, a decent amount of snow for those who want to play in it and an occasional blizzard to send the national news media into orbit – I’ll still be glad to help him pack his bags.

If it’s not too much to ask, do you suppose we could have a little more sunshine this year?


momma's heart said...

You are so cleaver. A simple post about winter blues made into a masterpiece of humor. I really love your work! :)

I too am lazy about winter fun. My toes and fingers get so cold. Someday, I'll find just the right mittens and socks.

Karen said...

Hi Steph! I love your blog. You are so funny, just as I remember. I'm sorry to hear that your DH was laid off from the paper, but admire your attitude in facing this new chapter. Look forward to reading more of your blog! xo

Steph said...

Thanks, ladies!
The good thing is DH had the choice about leaving the paper - it was part of a voluntary departure program and it is a good package. This gives him time to think about his next move. And for the last two days I have had help with dishes and laundry! Yay! Still, these economic times are a bit spooky....