Tuesday, January 5, 2010

Ground Watching

Monday morning, time to leave the house and head back to work. My Christmas break was now a thing of the past. I was about to turn off the radio, when the newscaster informed me that it was -15degrees outside!! That is minus 15 Fahrenheit which translates to minus 26 Celsius. The same newscaster stressed to cover all exposed skin, in an effort to avoid frostbite. With a shudder I turned off the radio and headed to the mudroom/utility room. For the next five minutes, literally 5 minutes, I proceeded to pile on layers of clothes. There was the scarf to go under the coat. Next the woolen socks and fur lined boots. Then came the extra sweater, the hat, another scarf over the hat, the down filled ankle length coat, the tinsulated gloves followed by fur lined mittens. By this time I was breathless and exhausted! Not mention twice the width!

I stood looking out the glass pane of my back door, pondering the pros and cons of actually venturing out to brave the elements. To be honest the cons outweighed the pros…I don’t think there is a job that pays enough to entice the likes of me, with my thin Irish blood to endure such arctic conditions. I firmly believe even polar bears would shiver in this piercing weather. But that annoying little voice in my head insisted, since it was my first day back after the Christmas holidays, it would be very bad form not make the extreme effort. According to the long term forecast the temperatures are going to deteriorate as the week progresses. How long could I justify staying home. Annoying that voice!!!

I only live two blocks from my campus office and so I walk to work. A beautiful walk that is too short on late spring and autumn days. This same walk becomes a tortuous endless slog against the harshness of the winter wind. Often bringing me to tears with the pain and sting of the cold. I made my way down the street, head down, not only for added protection to the face, but to watch my step. Fearing I would take another spill, which I have a tendency to do on a regular basis this time of year. Looking up only to avoid collision when passing another eejit walking about in this weather. This is when it occurred to me that maybe I was not the only one who spends January looking at the footpath. I made a mental note to watch and see if this was the norm. I was surprised to notice, every person braving the footpath was looking down at their feet. Watching as they gingerly attempted to avoid ice patches and landing on their backsides. I passed a young couple walking on campus, conversing but not looking at one another. They too were looking down. I surmised this must be the standard posture for Wisconsin winters. I made a mental note to pay attention and observe when people began to look up and at one another again while walking about. Winter lasts for approximately six months here. So I guess it will be awhile before looking ahead is the norm. Till then there’s a lot of ground watching going on!!

14 comments:

Barbara Scully said...

omg that sounds freezing. last time i was out here - it was lots of ground watching too... but not quite as cold. anyway i am now staying in!

Ann said...

Another inch of snow so far this morning, and still snowing. Big freeze predicted for next few days. Liam got a spike attachment for my boots! Once I get home this evening I am battening down the hatches, until Monday morn. Stay warm on your side of the Atlantic!

Susannah said...

Oooh that is cold!! I had to laugh when you said that by the time you were ready to brave the cold you were breathless and twice the width!

We have just ventured out in our unexpected icy temperatures and with my jogging bottoms on under my jeans for warmth, plus two pairs of socks I ended up walking like John Wayne! lol

Keep warm!

Ann said...

I know the feeling Susannah!

Patricia Stoltey said...

We're feeling the cold in Northern Colorado, too. I'm trying to work in my upstairs office with a space heater that says the temp is 69 (sure, maybe in the two inches surrounding the thing).

Thanks for dropping by my blog -- I love new visitors!

Ann said...

Weatherman promises the temps will reach a balmy 23 degrees on Monday! Break out the bikini's! Hope you are all warming up too!
Thanks for stopping by Patricia, and becoming a follower! I am really chuffed!!! :)

Crystal Jigsaw said...

I can so relate to your weather, we are currently having it worse than ever over here on the Scottish borders. The only consolation is that they're having it down south too..!!

Stay warm, great blog.
CJ xx

Suzyhayze said...

So cold the earth might crack. Hot baths and a lot of remembering how lucky we are. that's what I've been doing. And avoiding my real job. Syalabus time. Yikes.

Ann said...

Thanks Crystal. I really enjoyed your blog too! Hope you are keeping warm and cozy there on the Scottish border. I understand it should be over soon. We can dream anyway.

Hi Suzy, Hot baths have been part of coping mechanism this past week. Hot water bottles and multiple hot toddy's. Unable to avoid my real job, but this is Wisconsin and that kind of thing is just not done here. Crazy, I know!

Catherine said...

Hi Ann - and we go into national emergency mode at -6C!!! No wonder people like the Poles look askance at us! We are really a bunch of wimps here in Waterford - all the lovely snow is turning to slush and we have still got snow in the uplands of Old Parish and Strikeshill - had to venture out to Old Parish to my office and get my stuff but cancelled appointments in Strikeshill and other upland areas. My Focus need 4X4 wheels! I will reply to your comment on my post over at Deise Dispatches. Happy snow days - do you work on a uni campus?

Ann said...

Hi Catherine, its all relative really! Down south they can't deal with the white stuff either.4x4 drivers here think they are invincible, they tend to make up the majority found in ditches. Yes I do work on a university campus. UWEC to be exact. Admin. not teaching. Though I could teach some here a thing or two, in the nicest sense of course! :)

Rebecca Knight said...

Hi, Ann :). I'm popping in from Nicola's party, and this post cracked me up! The coldest it's ever been here in my part of the northwest is 14 degrees... and I almost died.

Good luck, and stay warm!

fairyhedgehog said...

Thanks for visiting my blog!

I think it's cold here when the weather drops below freezing at all. -26C is colder than I've ever experienced and sounds frightening.

Ann said...

I was told today we are heading for a heat wave!!! Temps going up into the 30's. That is still below 0 for those who deal in Celsius.:o But I might be able to retire a scarf or two. So that has got to be good.