O, the Cussedness of Winter

AS MENTIONED IN a recent post and in the eulogy my sister and I wrote, our mom put remarkable effort into hating everything about winter. Rosemary hated the cold and the dark. She hated snow and ice. She hated how the threat of bad weather might impact her ability to travel somewhere, so much so that she would start fretting a week in advance. If you said to her, “Yuck, it’s raining,” she would reply, with raised eyebrow, Yes, but you don’t have to shovel it.

Had Mom been engaged in leisure pursuits in Ft. Myers this week (where it is currently 65 degrees and cloudy, which means she’d have been padding around the condo in wool socks and a velour track suit), she would surely have been watching our weather and sending us emails and texts, calling us to ask if we were keeping warm, and did we plan on making soup or roasting a chicken.

Some years back, Mom had a new-agey past-life regression done, and while I don’t remember much about it, I do recall her saying something about how she had supposedly, in a previous life, been a young woman, trying to find her way through the dark woods. She said she had been cold to the bone, and was wearing a hooded cape. Or something like that. One wonders if the brain creates such constructs to help us process our intense emotions, but the possibility that she came by her hatred naturally seemed to satisfy her.

She offset this hatred somewhat with her love of the written word. She was a precise grammarian and a talented writer, and appreciated a clever turn of phrase. She was particularly proud of this poem, which she wrote and had copyrighted in 2009. It seems appropriate to share it here, given the Polar Vortex and subfreezing temperatures we’re having this week.

O, the Cussedness of Winter

Slipp’ry roads and frigid breezes,
heavy clothes and frequent sneezes,
cloudy days and longer nights
make me curse the frost that bites.

Three long months of winter’s blast
seem like six before they’re past.
Winter isn’t of my choosing
so I’ll have to turn to boozing

just to get me through the season
that deprives me of all reason
while I wait, with hope eternal,
for the equinox that’s vernal.

© 2009 Rosemary Beaver Fried

Those last two lines are just golden, aren’t they?? If you love it as much as I do, may I direct you to my sister’s Cafe Press shop, where you can have this gem printed on your choice of apparel, drinkware, a tote bag, and more. Makes a great gift for all those winter-hating people in your life.

This one, I took through the back window of our house after a heavy, wet snow.




The Winter That Wouldn’t End

YOU KNOW HOW Autumn is so nice? The evenings get cool, the leaves turn colors, and there's a distinctive scent in the air. You get excited to build that first fire in the fireplace. As it drags into November, it starts to get cold outside, and Thanksgiving comes and goes, and then you direct your attention towards the Christmas season. (I'm talking to my fellow Mid-Atlantic / Northeast residents, not you lucky folks in SoCal and Florida with your year-round pedicures and convertibles and whatnot.) By that time, all the leaves have fallen off the trees and you feel like you're viewing the landscape through a sepia-toned filter. And then it's three blurry weeks of evergreen boughs and red bows and twinkly lights and gift wrap and egg nog and carols and parties and cookies and gingerbread houses, and you start to think:

MAN, IT WOULD SURE BE NICE IF IT WOULD SNOW! Some snow would really put me in the Christmas spirit!

And maybe it *does* snow. Or maybe it doesn't. But by the time Christmas rolls around, it's winter here, and sometimes, we get snow. But never quite enough snow, for some! We all watch the weather forecasts and wish and hope, and children wear their pajamas inside out and flush ice cubes (when did this start?) in hopes of invoking enough snow to cancel school. And then maybe, if you're lucky, we DO get enough snow to cancel school! Children rejoice and parents fight over whose turn it is to stay home rearrange work schedules to telecommute.

That's fun the first couple of times, right? There's something about snow that's magical. It's entrancing as it falls to the ground, covering up the midwinter grayness with a fresh, blinding blanket. It makes most of us pause, and in the rearranging of weekday schedules, we are forced to slow down a bit and take it all in. We light yet another in the fireplace and spike our hot cocoa with peppermint schnapps snuggle up beneath fleece blankets. We often get snow around Presidents' Day, and then it's pretty safe to put away the snow shovels and start thinking about Spring.

Today is St. Patrick's Day. March 17.  Three days before the first day of Spring. It is also the 9th day school has been canceled since before Christmas. Outside it's all


and all



Usually by now, we have daffodils  blooming! They were trying their best last week to give winter the proverbial middle finger:


I really don't want to complain about the weather. That gets old. We do enjoy the four seasons around here. As much fun as summer is, I'm always ready for it to end.

But: I remember driving to PA in sleet and freezing rain the week before Thanksgiving, and I recall that same episode of wintery precipitation kept my sister's family from making the trip from New England to join us for Thanksgiving dinner. And that was damn near four months ago, and we've been dealing with unusual cold and more snow than normal ever since.

Dear Mother Nature: YOU WIN. I get it. I promise I will never wish for snow again.

(Until next December.)


March is the New February

Welcome to a Fooleryland-style NO PUNCTUATION TUESDAY wherein I shall be venting about WINTER and specifically this latest insult of a MARCH SNOWSTORM that dumped around 7 inches of snow onto OUR DRIVEWAY and ushered in with it another round of EXTREME COLD that makes me wonder if somehow I have been transported to SIBERIA


because this kind of weather is most definitely atypical of the Washington DC area ever let alone THREE WEEKS BEFORE THE FIRST DAY OF SPRING

And schools are closed again today because THE ROADS ARE ICY and so the kids are all still in bed which is great because it’s WARM in bed as opposed to in the rest of the house because it turns out our aging furnace decided on Friday night that it had had enough of being overworked and underpaid and unappreciated so it went ON STRIKE


I became aware of this development when around 4am I realized that my face was COLD which prompted me to get out of bed and investigate why someone would have turned off the thermostat only I discovered it was on but the heat WASN'T and the temperature in the house was down to 58 DEGREES




So naturally I went back to bed and notified the husband who groaned and rolled over and resumed snoring and so I tucked back under the blankets and tried to rewarm myself until morning at which point BASED ON ABSOLUTELY NOTHING I decided that the old thermostat was broken and went out to buy a new one and came home and installed it


So we set up our two space heaters and got a fire going in the fireplace and borrowed some more space heaters from the neighbors and then we rang the service guys who came out later that day and identified the cause of our frigid interior temps as THE INDUCER


whose motor had frozen (HAHAHAHAAAA) but they couldn’t get the replacement until the shop opened Monday 

Only on Monday there was rain and then sleet and then half a foot of snow and of course they didn’t brave the roads and then last night was POLAR VORTEX THE SEQUEL


It's cold y'all

and our region shattered previous record low temperatures and now it is Tuesday morning DAY FOUR and the fire is still going and the space heaters are trying their best to keep me from GOING BATSHIT CRAZY AND FREEZING TO DEATH

but it's a losing battle on both fronts

And we deliberately didn’t complain on Facebook at large because honestly we didn’t want anyone to worry about us because really we are fine I mean we have electricity and internet and tons of food and what more do you need than that and an extra sweater or pair of socks and a bottomless cup of hot tea to keep warm

But this is DAY FOUR and I hadn’t yet heard from the repair guy so I just called and they put me on hold ma’am and then came back on the phone and said ma’am will you be available ma’am between 11 and 2 today ma’am and I said YES I WILL BE HERE ALL DAY AND THE SOONER THE BETTER BECAUSE THIS IS THE FOURTH DAY OF THIS COLD ROUTINE AND I AM COLD AND I AM SO OVER THIS WINTER PLEASE MAKE IT STOP

And so I sit at my kitchen table in my 55 degree kitchen and watch the driveway for the service vehicle and when they finally come and fix our striking furnace I'm going to jack up my brand new thermostat to 80 DEGREES because I DON'T WANT TO BE COLD ANY MORE


End of story