The Coldest Night

I got a slow start on the day this morning.  I had been working late for the past three nights.  Being considered the proverbially night owl, I get some of my best work done after everyone else has stopped for the night.  No phone calls, no one wanting my attention, and it’s too dark to work outside.  So I decided to sleep in, way in until noon, to be exact.  I justified my leisure by reassuring myself that I needed some time to restore my body and soul.

The late morning put me up and out doing errands until dusk.  I only had on a sweat shirt and pants as I dashed into the grocery store, my last stop on the way home.  The wind cut through my clothes, assaulted my very bones, and almost took my breath away.  I hadn’t experienced such a bodily shock for a long time.  It took me thirty minutes in the store to warm up.  Of course, when I got out of the store I had to drive home, mentally willing the heater to warm the car faster.  Then, I had to carry the groceries into the house.  Conveniently for him, my husband was nowhere to be found until the last bag came in.  Strange… but I would not have wanted him to get out in the cold, anyway.

This house was not designed for extreme temperatures.  It is somewhat cool in the summer, and somewhat warm in the winter.  I like it that way, because it helps me acclimate to the weather outside.  My nephew agrees with me.  He runs a service station in all weathers.  In the summer he comes home to a cold house and wraps himself in a blanket immediately.

Now the heat pump is marginally working as it does in extreme cold temperatures.  We have a supplement propane heater in the hallway.  I went directly to it and tried to get warm.  I remembered the wood stove in my parent’s home in the wintertime.  My father would come in, open the stove door, stoke the fire and sit close to it with his feet propped on the door base.  I would get scared when the soles of his work boots would start smoking.  Evidently, he had it down to a fine art for he would bring his feet out in time to avoid a burn.  On a couple of occasions he misjudged, and started doing a dance in hot boots.  He looked so funny I wanted to laugh, but I dared not.  Now, I wished I could warm my feet before that old stove.

Extreme temperatures cause us to do only what is necessary.  No way am I going back outside unless it’s a dire emergency.  No setting under the stars tonight.  God will just have to listen to my prayers from my bed.  And speaking of beds, I have already been there once tonight.  I got the bright idea of covering up with blankets and watching TV.  My body’s flesh was still too cold.   So I take the next drastic measure: a hot bath.  But in order to do that, I must take off these layers of clothes I now have on in a cold bathroom, and I can only be immersed in water partway.  Such a dilemma.  To bath in hot water, or not to bath and stay cold.  At least I have a bath tub; a house with only a shower isn’t a real house, in my opinion.

There is one consolation.  If it freezes hard in the wintertime, there will not be as many insects in the summertime.