It feels like it has been a while since we had to contend with negative wind chill temperatures and actual accumulations of snow. Olivia Wigglebothum brought the Polar Vortex in 2014 which was exciting. However last winter was so mild that my parsley overwintered. Fucking parsley.
This winter, I have to figure out how to dress like I’m harnessing my cat sled team for tundra travel, but spending the majority of my day inside at work looking “professional.” Mostly I want to go into hibernation mode. According to people who live in REALLY cold areas, “there is no bad weather, only bad clothing” and Ohioans should figure out how to dress for the weather and get over it. I feel like these people don’t get punched in the crotch enough.
Because I seem to advocate for crotch punching and profanity, a friend shared this app with me: What The Forecast?!! I set it on “obscene” and proceeded to share my forecast and freezing giggles with everyone. It was free fun!
The same friend and I signed on for our metro parks‘ winter hikes series. We did it last year, but last year was parsley-growing mild! What seemed like a good idea a month or two ago now seemed like a bad dare when Saturday morning’s forecast looked like this:
Unfortunately, we know that, unlike hibernating bears, we are not living off our body fat so much as adding to it during the winter. So we layered up like the little brother from A Christmas Story and chose the two mile option for the first hike of the season.
It was so cold that my phone died.
Given, I did have Pokemon Go open (we were in a metro park there were balls to get!), was trying to take a photo, AND got a text message at that exact moment which was more than my phone could take. Solution: tuck it into my ample bosom to warm it up.
It’s nice to be in the woods even if it is on a march with a hundred other people, and the sound of squeaking snow under boots is the equivalent of nails on chalkboard to me. Somehow I could still hear the birds, mostly blue jays, over the squeaking. Being among the trees is calming. It doesn’t take too much effort to find something beautiful in nature. Eventually, I got used to walking with my glasses frosted over.
One of the perks of the winter hike series, besides getting some exercise, is the volunteers at the end. Each hike ends with volunteers serving hot cocoa, soup, and other treats. Last year, we practically had a full meal after one hike. This hike ended with veggie soup and a fire pit where it was comfortable enough to loosen up some of the layers. We learned last year that it is good etiquette make a small cash donation at the end of each hike, supporting the park programming. This time we signed on as “Friends of the Metro Parks.” Twelve more hikes to go!
A new twist to this year’s hike series is donations to the Mid-Ohio Food Bank. The parks are encouraging hikers to bring non-perishables and personal care items to each hike for the donation boxes. We’re all just a jar of peanut butter and tube of toothpaste away from helping out.
If you’re in the Central Ohio area freezing your balls or lady parts off, check out the hike series.
This has become our evening ritual. I sit down to dinner and Olivia Wigglebothum waits patiently for THE STRING.
I keep THE STRING hidden. She can only play with it under supervision after infamously hogtying herself.
THE STRING gets dragged around and repeatedly taken to the box that dominates our living room. I just have to securely hold the other end.
Surrounded by legitimate cat toys, she has chosen the storage bin.
I have wine, pasta, and cats.
I was trying to get some work done, but could hear the periodic rustle of paper in the living room somewhere out of my eye line. This could be one of the cats shredding important documents for me, or someone playing in the gigantic Amazon box that has been in the living room for months now.
The box has been a source of great entertainment. It’s fun to jump in and out of, especially with toys in one’s mouth. Olivia Wigglebothum’s newest dinner time game is to drag our string toy around while I eat. She jumps with it into the box, and then proceeds to shred the Hell out of the butcher paper as if hiding the string. The paper which started as several feet of solid wrapping is now the consistency of something you might put in a gerbil’s cage. To add interest, I recently cut a door and some “windows” in one side of the box. These are good for stealthy exits and for smacking the other cats.
However the rustling I was hearing was not the enthusiastic leaping and tearing about associated with the box. These rustles were the equivalents of dramatic, long-suffering sighs of tragic discomfort.
Birdie had crafted a nest in the paper and was allegedly sleeping in between sadly rearranging her position. No one sleeps in the box! However Birdie was busy channeling her former homeless self. She’s a “domestic short hair” like everybody else in the house, but somehow she managed to poof out her fur as if she was battling the cold, cruel winds of central heating.
I swear she got into my Sarah McLachlan cd‘s. (I don’t allow the cats to watch those commercials.)
It took me a moment to figure out WHY she was impersonating a sad street cat. Birdie is in a deeply emotional relationship with the duvet on my bed and I had the gall to strip the bedding and wash the duvet cover in a fit of tidiness.
Since putting the duvet on the bed for cold weather, Birdie’s life has a new purpose. She talks to the duvet, she kneads it, she burrows into it, she creates little valleys and pockets to sleep in. I’ve never seen her happier than when she sleepily looks up from its polyester-filled folds. (This does not bode well for her warm weather emotional state.)
Washing and drying done, I made the bed. I selfishly wanted clean bedding for myself. I always forget that none of this is about me. Birdie and duvet reunited.