Tuesday, January 25, 2011

Baby It's Cold Outside

This has been an unusually cold January.  It was down to 12F outside this week.  I know it's winter and it's supposed to be cold, not balmy, but this is different. I do not like such intense, bone chilling cold. It's too cold to go out, it's difficult to get this drafty house warm, and at some point I'm as layered up as I can tolerate.

Growing up in Iowa, you would think I would be more nonchalant about winter temperatures, WV is much milder, winter-wise than Iowa was. I remember, as a girl, multiple consecutive days where the thermometer never got close to zero. Where the windchill meant temperatures of -15 or -20F and we had to go out in it because they did NOT call school off for frigid temperatures. We had a trusty woodstove that we used to heat the house, falling back on the furnace only when necessary, so that meant the big woodbox would require refilling, cold outside or not.

Perhaps it's the yucky feeling of waking up with my teeth literally chattering, soaked to the skin (from hot flashes, but I'm only 44 for Pete's sake!) and freezing while I change pajamas I'm getting older and wiser, because I'm starting to sympathize with my Mother who hated Iowa winters.  Driving was precarious, keeping that woodstove going was a full time job and the snow sometimes started as early as October and lasted until Easter.  By February driving on country roads felt like driving through a tunnel, a blinding white tunnel, with the snow piled up on either side of the road and the plowman at a loss as to where to put any more.  On top of all that, Mom also suffered mightily from arthritis.  Her poor joints felt every Canadian front and nasty precipitation pattern that found their way to our little corner of the world.  She and Dad eventually moved to Arkansas where Mom said it never got really cold and the hot, humid summers made her aching joints feel even better.  In fact, she said she loved the heat.

Now, I am the one who can predict weather with my left knee.  I'm like those old folks in front of the general store, "ah yup, storm's a comin' - my knee's all stoved up" as I limp down the steps in search of aspirin and a hot shower.  Was it from an old cross country injury?  My brief career as a 7th and 8th grade cheerleader?  Those years as a soldier hefting who-knows-how many pounds of rucksack on endless death road marches?  Carrying my babies around long after they should have just been allowed to walk, fussy or not?  I don't know.  Given how much it bothers me, I'm grateful it doesn't show up in both knees.  I also think there must be a hereditary factor - Dad and my sister K both are on a first name basis with "Arthur" as the unwelcome guest is known.  Grandma C suffered horribly from arthritis, was nearly crippled by it.

Eldest son told me it was the barometric pressure change that caused my knee to hurt.  He went into all kinds of scientific detail about it.  Turns out there is even an Aches and Pains Map.  Somehow, having that map seems to make it all more legitimate and less old folks complaining anecdotal.  More snow is expected tonight.  I've got plenty of aspirin and ibuprofen.

 And a comfy bed dressed in flannel sheets and a down comforter to get that long winter's nap.

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