I Am Missing the First Soul-Killing Freeze of the Season


2016-12-15 – I’m in North Carolina and I am missing the first soul-killing freeze of the season. The weather is not such a treat here. We had weather like this only a week or two ago in Chicago and I was already hoping for an early spring. But at least there’s no minus signs on the temps here. It’ll have to do. Tomorrow I’m heading back. I’ve been here on business, so my family is back in Chicago. I hope I don’t have to defrost them when I get home.

You know it’s winter in Chicago when the dog has a hard time finding a good place to poop. He doesn’t like walking on the sidewalk because the salt hurts his feet. We normally take him on pretty long walks, but when winter hits hard, I don’t like going too far from home. I don’t think I’d be able to carry him home from our usual route. He weighs more than a 40-pound bag of dog food.

When he’s looking for a good place to poop, he goes off-sidewalk. That’s really true year-round. He does not like pooping on the sidewalk. In 10 years, I don’t remember him pooping on the sidewalk if he could manage to get into the grass or into the snow. But sometimes the snow is so deep that he can’t walk in it. Right now the snow is about two-thirds of the way up to his undercarriage. Once it reaches the undercarriage, he’s just spinning his wheels. So he stays on the sidewalk and poops there. He hates it. He’d hold it until spring, if he could.

I brought my parka to North Carolina and I need it here. But I’m really going to need it when I get back and for the next three or four months, at least. It’s a great parka. I got my first parka of this type in 1979. It’s down-filled. I currently inhabit the third of these. They’ve lasted me 10 years or so each and they are very warm.

The trouble with the parka is that it warms only my top half. I have pretty decent lined boots. So I can go into deeper snow than the dog can. I wear a baseball cap under the hood of the parka to create a kind of overhang to keep snow off my glasses. And it also creates an extra pocket of air to keep my head warm. Sometimes, say, when I’m shoveling snow, it even makes me sweat. My gloves are also pretty decent.

The vulnerable spots are my face and my legs. There doesn’t seem to be much I can do to protect my face except go inside. For my legs, I wear long underwear, but it’s not enough. In the old days I wore ski pants when I went skiing. I don’t know what happened to them. And it would make getting dressed and undressed too much. So I haven’t looked for the ski pants.

I am very sensitive to the cold. You might have guessed that. I’ve always been sensitive to the cold, and yet I live in a place that has cold winters. Last year, it seemed that my sensitivity to cold increased markedly. Cold makes me shiver.  And hurt. I floated a theory for this change to my doctor. My theory is that my increased sensitivity is somehow related to the fact that I had shingles two years ago. He said that he never heard anything like that. So maybe there’s no connection. His theory is that different people have different sensitivities. He looked at my chart and found no problem that would be connected to increased sensitivity to cold. So it must just be my nature to suffer cold.

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