Tag Archives: Blizzard

Sorta Spring

Image by Lena Helfinger from Pixabay.

Everyone in Indiana regards the official calendar arrival of spring as great marketing by the Easter Bunny to extend his season and up his Hallmark stock’s value.

Image by arinaja from Pixabay.

Still, a walk, even on a sloppy day, can generate positive thoughts, such as, “Woo-hoo, it’s March, not November!”

See, don’t you feel better already?

Besides, staying inside does not guarantee security. I never feel safe when I share a residence with Moose Tracks ice cream left over from Christmas gatherings.

My mom always said fresh air was good for us. At the first sign of a winter thaw, she sent all five siblings outside. Conversely, she stuck her head out the door 10 minutes later to caution, “This is pneumonia weather! Cover those ears now!”

Apparently, my jingle-bell sock hat stopped pneumonia germs in their tracks.

Image by granderboy from Pixabay.

Although she now resides in Heaven, I still sense Mom-radar as I walk hatless toward the door. Despite my 60-plus years, I pause. Finally, I stuff one into my pocket. Maybe if I walk fast, pneumonia germs won’t catch me.

Especially as I’m following doctor’s orders. When people my age walk, they can look their physicians in the eye and truthfully state they are doing the cardio thing.

They save their best fibs to cover the Moose Tracks.

Today, my pathway takes me past houses whose yards still sport weary red bows and saggy inflated Santas. My heart warms toward these kindred procrastinators.

Soon, I’ll have to face thoughts of fertilizing and planting, but given March’s fickle weather, I can still file them in distant corners of my mind somewhere near cleaning the garage and attaining a size six.

Nothing colors my soul like daffodils’ green fingers, reaching up to grasp the earthy brown sill, with a few pretty but brainless yellow heads peeking out.

These dumb flowers always show up on deceptive warm days before a spring blizzard.

Image by David Underwood from Pixabay.

Every year, I try to warn them: “What part of ‘frostbite’ don’t you understand?”

Tonight, their yellow fingertips will shiver as a frozen wind arises.

But they never listen.

Thank God.

Your Extraordinary Ordinary: What does a March walk look like where you live?

OMG, It’s Monday! Prayer: Keeping Them All Satisfied?

O Lord, some of Your children give thanks because our area continues to escape snowstorms. Others whine because our sledding hills remain bare, with snowmen built only in our dreams. As a mom, I couldn’t please even three kids. When a gazillion of Your children spout their input at once, do You sometimes want to cover Your ears, too?  

      

There are some for whom a snowman — and his favorite arctic weather — are only too real!
Then, there are some who (sigh) live in the Brown Zone,

“We’re Stranded!”

Even spelled on a SCRABBLE board, the word “stranded” packs enough panic power to send us to our vehicles with snow shovels, boots and sleeping bags as well as food, water and Prozac.

Image by Bindue from Pixabay.
My parents and older brother in 1952.

We Midwesterners have two words for those “stranded” in the tropics: oh, please. That goes for you, Swiss Family Robinson, Tom Hanks, and snowbirds who grouse about sand in their bathing suits.

My family and I have collected a portfolio of strandedness Gilligan wouldn’t believe.

My parents, newlywed missionaries in New Mexico, were gathering firewood atop a mountain when the year’s only rainstorm struck. Torrents washed away the road, leaving their Model T half-buried in mud. Having left coats at home (they’d anticipated a three-hour tour), Mom and Dad spent the subfreezing night there. They burned the firewood to stay alive and dug out. Thus, began a long, creative career of strandedness, generously shared with five children.

Fast-forward two decades. My medical student husband and I skated our car down interstates between Grand Rapids, Michigan, and Muncie, Indiana, where Hubby would work in a clinic several weeks, staying in a decrepit, deserted dorm. I’d planned to drive home to Indianapolis, but remained until conditions improved. Much skinnier then, we fit in his twin bed. Sort of. Glad to be alive and together, we decided that despite resident ghosts, being stranded wasn’t half bad.

Image by parker from Pixabay.

Sharing the Minneapolis airport with thousands of angry people — including our teenagers — during a nationwide blizzard wasn’t nearly as much fun. Snarling, would-be passengers formed mile-long lines at ticket counters, restaurants and restrooms. Areas under drinking fountains morphed into sleeping quarters. A stranger accosted me:

Strange Woman: Where did you get that shirt?

Me: Um, at a consignment shop.

Woman: I gave my husband a shirt exactly like that for his birthday.

Me: The consignment shop was in Atlanta.

Woman: (baring her teeth) I’m from Atlanta.

That encounter, along with a 24-hour TV loop featuring the Sports Illustrated bathing suit edition, didn’t brighten my day. Leaving Minneapolis never felt so good, though our trip home from Indianapolis would have proceeded faster if a single sled dog had towed our minivan.

Image by pasja1000 from Pixabay.

Years later, amid another hair-raising drive during an ice storm, Hubby and I managed to reach a hotel. Fortunately, our room featured a king-size bed, not a twin. I could banish swimsuit models from our TV with a single remote click. Nobody demanded the shirt off my back.

The aforementioned folks marooned in the tropics might question my strandedness. Too bad. They should write their own blogs. Since this is mine, I affirm my official status: stranded.

Though, sometimes, stranded isn’t half bad.

Image by Olichel from Pixabay.

Your Extraordinary Ordinary: Have you ever been stranded?

Indiana Spring: Prepare for Anything

“Would you write a note that says I can’t go teach today?”

My husband, a retired family physician, often heard similar requests about missing work. Today, though, he’s the speaker. Glaring at hail pelting our backyard, he dreads Indiana weather’s hormonal tantrums.

I don’t blame him. While I enjoy gentle raindrop melodies, I dislike hail’s percussion. Poor spring flowers probably don’t appreciate that music, either.

I settle deeper into my cozy robe and sofa seat, tapping on my laptop. One gloating glance from me, and Hubby might park beside me for a month. Maybe two.

Past Aprils have dumped snow on us. Today, thunder, lightning and hail prevail. Will tomorrow bring a biblical plague of frogs?

But spring peepers in nearby wetlands, the amphibian Mormon Tabernacle Choir, remain strangely silent. Perhaps they’re in a mucky mood too.

A born-and-raised Hoosier, I should accept this climatic insanity as normal.

Golfers like our neighbor consider it an unfortunate par for the course. They crave the 70-degree April in which my son was born, with lilacs and crab apple blossoms dizzying us with fragrance.

Or even the spring in which our daughter was born, when April blizzards morphed directly into 90-degree temperatures.

Even without that extreme temperature change, panicked weather personnel have trumpeted tornado doom for our state.

I appreciate their concern. Yet, how do we prepare for such climatic craziness?

Plus, Floridians don’t face the wardrobe problems we brave. Hoosiers cannot retire cold-weather clothing, yet must jam closets with spring-friendly outfits. Do we choose a parka or spring raincoat? Woolies or sleeveless? Wearing layers works, but how many? And not even the most flexible Midwesterner pairs flip-flops with electric socks.

Spring weather also scrambles food choices. If we bravely plan a barbecue, we may squint through a whiteout to see if the chicken’s done. Mother Nature, off her meds, may blow our grill to Cleveland.

Surely, she’ll get over her snit soon. Sunshiny weather will last through a five-minute walk. My miserable diet, kept with swimsuit weather in mind, will prove worth it. Hubby, who persists in making desperate camping reservations, will set up our pop-up without joining our grill in Cleveland.

For now, though, he must face Indiana weather as it is.

“Take an umbrella,” I say.

Hubby rolls his eyes. “It’s in my backpack.”

“Do you have a snow shovel in the car? Boots? Food and water? This might turn into a blizzard.”

“Check. Glad we had the air conditioning fixed last fall. Could be 90 by evening.”

He dons his suit of armor.

I open his helmet visor and kiss him goodbye. Now he’s prepared for anything — even an Indiana spring.

Your Extraordinary Ordinary: What’s spring weather like in your state?

Once Upon a Blizzard

This post first appeared on January 13, 2016.

We Midwesterners share a rich heritage of blizzard stories. Deprived tropics dwellers can’t appreciate our anticipation when The Weather Channel threatens wild winds, arctic cold and snow up the wazoo. Nor do they understand the joy of swapping lies — er, stories — of bravery amid Snowmageddon. A lifetime Hoosier, I have plenty to share.

A preschooler during my first blizzard, I recall my mother’s positive thinking. Despite three days in a two-room apartment with three little ones, she described the trees as “chocolate with white icing.” The Frosty we built resembled a malnourished alien, but we waved at him from our window. It seemed a friendly blizzard.

The second blizzard wasn’t. Winds howled like wolves, savaging electricity for several days. Cupboards emptied. Fortunately, shivering neighbors brought groceries when they came to enjoy our gas heat. Thirteen shared our three-bedroom, one-bathroom house. Survivor had nothing on us.

But we nine kids — playing infinite games of Monopoly, Candy Land, and the unofficial but essential Freak the Grown-ups — considered it fun. Our parents, with extended therapy and medication, finally recovered.

A young married couple when the Big One hit in 1978, our car refused to navigate three-foot drifts. My medical student husband hiked to a police station, catching a ride to a hospital. For three days, he, another student, and a young resident physician — aided by stranded visitors — cared for little patients on a pediatric wing.

Meanwhile, I baked bread. A nearby fellow medical student wife, whose husband also was missing in action, helped eat it. Walking home, I foundered in a sea of snow-covered landmarks. Only a faint traffic signal in ghostly darkness sent me the right direction. Then a tall shadow blocked my way.

Gulp. The only rapist crazy enough to be out in this?

“How’s it goin’?” he rasped.

“F-f-fine.” I squeaked.

He passed by. I slogged home. When the snow finally stopped, my husband appeared, fell over like a tree and slept.

Not content with that harrowing weather, we moved north near South Bend, Indiana, where blizzard stories abound even more than blizzards. Babies and emergencies ignored storm warnings, expecting my doctor husband to show up. How rude.

School snow days brought hungry hoards incapable of studying algebra, but well able to conduct snow wars outside our house. Once, I was trapped with snow-dueling middle schoolers, teens armed with boom boxes, and soon-to-be-separated college sweethearts — along with remodelers who braved the storm to sledgehammer walls.

Blizzard days two decades later prove far less traumatic, but can stop our lives cold. Yet even if I must search for leftover Christmas candles to light my longhand efforts, I’ll do my usual January thing: tell blizzard stories.

Your Extraordinary Ordinary: What’s your favorite Snowmageddon tale?

Once upon a Blizzard

BlizzardPatio4Midwesterners not only experience a low cost of living, low crime rate and scenic cornfields, we share a rich heritage of blizzard stories.

Deprived tropics dwellers cannot appreciate our pulsating anticipation when The Weather Channel threatens wild winds, arctic cold and snow up the wazoo. Nor do they understand the joy of swapping lies — er, stories — of bravery amid Snowmageddon. A lifetime Hoosier, I have plenty to share.

A preschooler during my first blizzard, I recall my mother’s positive thinking. Despite three days in a two-room apartment with three little ones, she described the trees as “chocolate with white icing.” The Frosty we built resembled a malnourished alien, but we waved at him from our window. It seemed a friendly blizzard.

The second blizzard wasn’t. Winds howled like wolves, savaging electricity for several days. Cupboards emptied. Fortunately, shivering neighbors brought groceries when they came to enjoy our gas heat. Thirteen shared our three-bedroom, one-bathroom house. Survivor had nothing on us.

But we nine kids, playing infinite games of Monopoly, Candy Land, and the unofficial but essential Freak the Grown-ups, considered it fun. Our parents, with extended therapy and medication, finally recovered.

A young married couple when the Big One hit in 1978, our car (not-so-affectionately known as the Lemonmobile) refused to navigate three-foot drifts. My medical student husband hiked to a police station, where he caught a ride to a hospital. For three days, he, another student, and a young resident physician — aided by stranded visitors — cared for little patients on a pediatric wing.

Meanwhile, I baked bread. A nearby fellow medical student wife whose husband was also missing in action, helped eat it. On my way home, I foundered in a sea of snow-covered landmarks. Only a faint traffic signal in ghostly darkness sent me the right direction. Then a tall shadow blocked my way.

Gulp. The only rapist crazy enough to be out in this?

“How’s it goin’?” he rasped.

“F-f-fine.” I squeaked.

He passed by. I slogged home. When the snow finally stopped, my husband appeared, fell over like a tree and slept.

Not content with that harrowing weather, we moved north near South Bend, where blizzard stories abound even more than blizzards. Babies and emergencies ignored storm warnings, expecting my doctor husband to show up. How rude.

School snow days brought hungry hoards incapable of studying English or algebra, but well able to conduct snow wars outside our house. Once I was trapped with snow-dueling middle schoolers, teens armed with boom boxes, and soon-to-be-separated college sweethearts, VELCROed to each other — along with bathroom remodelers who braved the storm to slam sledgehammers against the walls.

Today, some predict an imminent blizzard. Unless electricity goes, my computer battery fails and I can’t find leftover Christmas candles to light my longhand efforts, I will do my usual January thing: tell blizzard stories.

What’s your favorite Snowmageddon tale?