Wonder of Warmth….

With the remains of our recent winter storm on the ground, I’m really not out running around this weekend.  In fact, as is my custom during the really cold weather, I’m holed up on the second floor where things are, by default, warmer.

But just being up here wasn’t quite enough.  It’s still a little chilly.  And no one would want me to, I dunno, succumb to hypothermia, right?  Right.  So, I hunker down with The Stack of books, and one of the greatest of all human innovations:

The heated mattress pad.

Even when I’m motivated enough to not remain in my PJs and under the covers, this inspired item makes just sitting on the bed to read (or, at times, installing server upgrades from my laptop–I’ve actually been pretty productive today). a more pleasant experience.

Seriously, why did no one tell me about these sooner?  Sure, the electric blanket is great and all, but we all know warm air rises, cold air settles, so why did I have to wait so long for someone to hook me up with something that warms from the bottom (pun intended) up?  Add to this that if you are someone who has to break out the heating pad for a sore back or shoulders (i.e. when you’ve just shoveled waaaay too many cubic feet of snow off your drive way) this basically turns your entire bed into a heating pad.   I hear people still talking about the blanket and I just want to say, “No!  There’s something SO MUCH BETTER!”  But I’m fairly certain that  going up to total strangers and waxing poetic on the virtues of the heated mattress pad would result in awkwardness and/or calling security people.  I’m not even sure that me blathering like a fan girl this blog doesn’t cross the border into the “little bit weird” category (clearly that particular border crossing doesn’t hinder MTVMPB much, so why worry now?).

But seriously.  Best.  Thing.  Ever.  If you’re the kind of person who keeps the house chilly, one of these is totally worth every penny.

Of course, it does make it a little harder to get out of the bed….

Time Vampires On Ice

Mother Nature decided to upset my plans to address the time suck that is Sims FreePlay in favor of her own particularly nasty sort of time destroyer.

February.  Winter.  Weather.

My location got slammed today.  I’ve been through plenty of Midwest winter weather before, but this was slightly more impressive than previous situations.

My work location rarely shuts down.  While my new boss would have been pretty understanding if I’d opted to work from home, I decided to go in prepared to bunk at my desk over-night.  I travel with a sleeping bag in the trunk in the winter anyway, so I grabbed some clothes, a toothbrush and a few DVDs and headed out.  There was nothing on the ground and barely any flakes at all wafting through the air even after I’d arrived at work

About an hour later, the ground was totally covered.  Despite my plans to just stay overnight if it didn’t let up, I was pressured to go ahead and leave for home around 9:15.  So, with what had come to about 6 inches or so of snow and white out conditions, I inched home.

My normal 15-20 minute trip took significantly longer.  Plows couldn’t keep up, more than once I wasn’t sure where the road even was and–this was the worst of all–there were a lot of morons in rear wheel drive pick-ups who seemed to think they would be able to drive regular speeds in what was by that point about 8-9 inches of snow.  At one point in the journey, I had to scoot between two trucks that were doing 360s on either side of the main thoroughfare.  Stopping wasn’t an option because we’d already reached a point where, while I could still drive, the snow was scraping the underside of my little car–to stop and wait could mean I would be stuck.

At 10:30, I was coming up my side street.  All was going well until I got right up to my house.  Some jack-ass had parked a car in front of the house just before my driveway.  Going around that car resulted in my loss of momentum and the right angle to make it up the drive.  I hail-Mary’d the car into the snowdrift at the foot of the drive and proceeded to get out in the still-falling snow and begin digging a path to the garage, and trying to extricate the car.  It was something of a losing battle because by the time I’d cleared one track down the drive to the bottom, there was about an inch covering the recently cleared path at the top.

It was after noon before the car was in and I was able to take off my frozen-still jeans and jump in a shower to thaw my icicle-laden hair.  By that time my place of work had sent out the final notices shutting down all but the most essential functions and ordering people home–a very rare situation, I assure you.  I’m not sure they would have let me bunk in the office as I’d planned.

The worst part was, I had almost this exact same experience years ago in February (from the treacherous drive home, all the way to the hurling of my car into the snow drift at the base of the drive–though in that case it wasn’t because I was dodging an ill-parked Camry.

Four hours, frozen away in a drift of snow.  And that’s just the beginning.  Tomorrow, I’ll be re-clearing the drive after the snow that continued to fall.  And we were also facing the icky possibility of freezing rain on top of it all.  That means tomorrow morning, I’ll be ditching more time to extricate myself and my car from the garage, and no doubt road conditions will be less than stellar, meaning a slower drive in.

My Texas ass really loathes this sub-zero sucker of time.

Various and Sundry

I have no topic on my mind tonight that justifies a single post, so I’m going to rock this Twitter-style (though, probably not 140-characters…maybe more Tumblr-style?)

Winter Weather:  Kristy’s already voiced her hatred for this never-ending winter.  I second that.  My company started 9/80 work weeks, meaning I should be getting every other Friday off.  My last off-Friday I had so much work to do, I clocked a 10 hour day in the office.  I was looking forward to this Friday off, promising myself a trip to the art museum and out to start shopping for a fountain pen.  That got shot to hell with ice and snow that started yesterday.  And led to the next point of discussion:

Rear Wheel Drive Pick Ups On Ice:  I had no choice but to get out on these shitty roads in a rear-wheel drive pick-up.  Dad’s truck had to be re-tagged by the end of the month.  I’d purposely marked this off-Friday as the day to accomplish this.  I’d planned to get the inspection, do the registration and then head out to the museum in the truck.  Instead of an easy jaunt up to the inspection station, I had to wrestle heavy sand bags into the truck bed and fight to get them in place over the rear axel so I could get something approaching traction.  Even so, let’s just say it was a very interesting drive.  Very.

Pandora Is Ignoring Me:  So, based on recommendations from some of you, dear readers, and the ease of access on my BluRay player, I’ve been using Pandora.  Unfortunately, it’s not being very intelligent.  It keeps trying to give me Tim McGraw.  And Lonestar.  And Rascal Flatts.  And assorted other people I don’t like (based off of my putting in Reba).  Even with my liberal use of “Thumbs Down” it appears not to believe me.

Pinto Bean Milestone:  Despite the fact that pinto beans and cornbread have been a favorite staple of my family for as far back as I can remember, I have never actually attempted to cook this meal.  Black beans, lentils, navy beans–I’ve done all these numerous times and fairly well.  But the one bean that defined my childhood, I avoided. I suspect there’s some kind of psychological reason, like a subconscious fear of making something inferior and rendering me completely unworthy of being a part of either side of my family.  Well, this week, I couldn’t stand it.  I haven’t had a good pot of homemade pinto beans in over a year (since Mom hasn’t been around to make them, and I haven’t gone down to TX).  And lo….I am worthy of the family.  I feel terribly proud of myself.   And possibly a bit gassy.


Still Don’t Trust Mother Nature

Last week at this time it was so cold that the moisture in my eyes and nose froze while I was waiting for the bus.  Today it was warm enough I didn’t feel comfortable leaving a bottle of wine in my car for half an hour.  People talk as though this kind of sudden temperature shift is a southern Indiana peculiarity.  That might me true, but it’s hardly a unique one.  Spending a large chunk of my life in southeastern Virginia, I’m used to this.

Which is why I know better than to trust it.

My first winter in Virginia, which was more or less my first winter ever on account of before that time the furthest north I’d lived was Myrtle Beach, South Carolina, taught me better.  That winter everyone told us that Virginia winters weren’t that bad, didn’t include much snow, and were nothing to worry about.  Well it turned out that winter (not unlike this one) was one of the worst that area had experienced in recorded memory.  And February was the worst.

On February 17th (I remember the date because it was my sister’s birthday) it snowed for more than 24 hours straight and we got eighteen inches of snow.  The next weekend was 80 degrees.  The weekend after that we had an actual blizzard and another thirteen inches of snow.  And then I decided to move back to Florida.  Clearly that part didn’t work out.

So I can’t quite rejoice in this week’s balmy temperatures.  In the back of my head I know that next weekend could very easily be a blizzard.  I know that this could just be Mother Nature lulling me into a false sense of security.  But I won’t be fooled.  Uh uh.  Not this time.

Really Over Winter!

We’ve talked about my dislike of nature.  How I’m convinced that Mother Nature is trying to kill me.  Loyal reader Teapot says that she actually loves me; she’s just a kinky bitch and is into causing pain.  Well if that’s the case, can someone please let me know what the safe word is?  Cause I don’t think I can take any more!

I’m a southern girl.  Winter in Virginia is a hardship for me.  Winter is southeastern Virginia.  So Indiana winters kind of make me hate life.  It’s not Seasonal Affective Disorder.  I actually like cloudy rainy days.  What I hate is cold.  And ice.  And gross muddy snow.  Back in November I bought my first pair of snow boots since 2002.  I thought that would keep it from snowing much this year.  Yeah… that didn’t happen.

Instead we’ve gotten a record breaking winter.  Joy.  I’m thrilled.  No really.  You just can’t tell because my face is frozen in place.

It started sleeting here on Monday night and continued sleeting all day Tuesday.  Then the wind kicked in.  At some point I was sitting on my couch last night and heard loud cracking sounds like gunshots.  Found out this morning that it was a couple of massive limbs falling off a tree in the apartment complex across the way.  Since they don’t seem to have damaged the actual apartments I can snicker that this is what said complex gets for never clearing their sidewalks.  I get off the bus on their sidewalks and yesterday it was a pure sheet of ice.  Add to the ice a steep incline and I was completely unable to walk down the sidewalk (er… up the sidewalk).  Instead I wound up literally sliding down the hill until I got close enough to the edge of the sidewalk to jump into the street.  Because yes, at that point it seemed like the safer option.

Anyway, I’m grateful that I kept power most of the time through this.  And I’m thrilled that classes were canceled so I got to stay home.  But seriously?  I need this shit to end.

Please Mother Nature.  I’ll plant a tree.  I’ll be nice to spiders.  Whatever it takes.  Just stop with the torture!

Dear Minnesota,Wisconsin and Iowa Natives

Dear Minnesota, Wisconsin and Iowa Natives (but mostly the Minnesotans),

If I have to hear one more derisive laugh from you when I come in out of the 18 degree, windy temperatures looking frozen, I will not hesitate to kick your ass.  Yes, I know you come from a sub-zero, hellish wasteland.  I know natives of Norway who have said that Minnesota is too cold for them.   I understand you don’t have a whole lot else to be proud of, but, really?  What that means is YOU ARE INSANE.

And even if you weren’t, just because where you come from is colder, doesn’t mean that this isn’t cold right here in MO.  I have never and will never claim that it is.  But just because the onset of frostbite will take a few minutes rather than occurring instantly, doesn’t mean I lose the right to shiver and say “brrrr.”

I don’t get the arrogant bullshit out of my North & South Dakota associates and the last time I checked, they have temperatures just as chill-worthy.  Maybe they’re more humble, or just so damn glad it’s not as cold as they’re used to that they don’t want to jinx anything.

All I know is that the next time I have to endure one of y’all being all smug and saying, “The winters here are mild”?  Don’t be surprised when you hear, “Yeah, and so are the summers, so fuck you asshole.”  After all, I’m from Texas and far more of an expert on hot, humid, miserable summers than you Midwest Yankee SOB’s, so I guess I can be smug, too.

To those of you who hail from these locations and refrain from giving those of us to the south and shit over our intolerance for cold, I do appreciate you and your restraint.  Thank you for having more class than a some of the other natives of your home location.  It’s much appreciated.