Thursday, January 29, 2015

It's !@#$%! Cold.



Ah, winter in Ottawa.

I am not a lover of high summer.  In fact, each year during July and August I usually look forward to these winter months when the heat and humidity don't cause my MS symptoms to worsen temporarily and I can be comfortably cool when out and about.  However, I must suffer from situational amnesia because I seem to forget how brutally cold January and February can be.

This year, the cold has been relentless.  From the end of the Christmas Holidays, the kids and I were walking to school each day in -18 to -25 degree Celsius temperatures, and lets not even talk about Windchill.  Frostbite Alerts have been an almost daily occurrence.  The kids have almost forgotten what it's like to have an outdoor recess.  We've had the occasional let-up over the past couple of weeks, but I still had to walk my kids to the main doors this morning to get them in out of the cold as no Duty teacher was brave enough to hang out on the playground.  The forecast for next Monday and Tuesday is -22.

We are a family that is proud to get by using only one car.  My husband needs it to get to work each day and is gone by 7-7:15 so he can be home in time to make supper.  So the kids and I have no option but to walk the 7-10 minutes to school no matter what the weather.  It's good daily exercise for all of us but walking into 20-40km winds on a freezing cold day is downright painful.  The kids wear snowpants, jackets, neckwarmers, hats, mitts, and outer scarves and we walk as fast as we can.  I don't have snowpants so I wear a pair of sweat pants inside my jeans, or my legs are painfully numb by the time I return home.  On really cold mornings I go inside the school to warm up for a few minutes before walking home.

One day in early January I kept the kids home from school because of the cold.  I think it was -20 degrees Celsius with a windchill, and forcasted to be -25 by the time the school day ended.  I also had a dental appointment that I'd confirmed twice.  I simply couldn't bear having to go out walking three times on the coldest !@#$%! day of the year.  So the kids stayed home and I went to the dentist, a 10 minute walk in the other direction, for my appointment.  I felt kind of lame for keeping them home but, honestly, wtf?  The temperature is supposed to get warmer through the day not colder.  Right?

January is almost over, with February looking to be just as cold, at least for the first week.  We have our annual Winter Party planned for February 7th and are hoping for something in the range of -5 to -12 temperatures.  We plan to banish the darkness and cold of the Ottawa season with snowshoe treks and an outdoor firepit, hot food indoors and much merriment with friends and family.

What I do really enjoy this time of year is the coziness and warmth of our small town home; drinking hot beverages (mostly coffee); lighting candles and turning on the electric fireplace when the sky darkens in the late afternoon; the way the bright blue sky contrasts against the white snow, and knowing that next summer when the temperature is +30 with a humidex, I'll be praying for cold weather.

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