Daily Independent (Ashland, KY)

January 6, 2014

Baby, it’s cold outside

Cathie Shaffer
The Independent

ASHLAND — Brrrrrrr. I distinctly remember deciding to move from northwest Ohio because I was sick of winter temperatures that hovered at zero and below.

Granted, we haven’t had the snow and blowing drifts the last couple days that my relatives up there are enduring, but that’s not a whole lot of comfort in this cold.

I can handle hot. I know people who can’t. Their statement to me as we discuss our differences is something along the lines of “you can put on more clothes to stay warm, but you can’t take off enough to stay cool.”

Maybe I should call a couple of them up and ask them if layering is keeping them warm enough right now. I’d hazard a guess none of them are going for long walks today no matter how many sweaters and jackets they wear.

The fact that I detest this kind of winter weather doesn’t mean I’m not able to handle it. Last night, I took a nice hot bath, put on my fuzzy jammies and then pulled on my warm, floor-length robe. Heavy socks on my feet completed an outfit which was far more functional than beautiful.

This cold snap has killed any desire of the cats to escape their captivity. They watch the dogs go in and out and I’m sure their little feline brains are saying, “Hey, stupids, we’re smart enough to use a litter box.”

My Sheltie adores this weather though, thanks to her genetic make-up. She stood outside yesterday, face into the wind, with her head back as her heavy fur lifted and waved in the icy breeze. She came in with great reluctance and her obvious pleasure fooled the labrador retriever into thinking outside would be fun.

This is the new dog’s first winter. She ran through the door, stopped and gave me a look of shock and disappointment. She stayed out only as long as necessary and came back in shaking her frigid paws.

My  bedroom is on the cold side of the house now that our old garage has been torn down. I keep the door closed until bedtime to keep the young dog out so it’s pretty chilly when I go to bed.

My practice after she’s put in her kennel for the night is to open my bedroom door, turn the electric blanket on high and then take a bath. By the time I’m out of the tub, the bed is toasty.

Sunday night the wind moaned against my windows as the predicted snow storm came and went. I remember feeling nostalgic as I drifted off to sleep. So many nights of my childhood were spent in a warm bed in a cold room with the wind whipping at the windows, sometimes making the glass shiver in the frame.

The Sheltie, of course, slept with me as she does every night, although she chose the side of the bed toward the door and not the windows, a switch from her usual place.

The cats avoided my room entirely. Batman, the big black girl cat, nearly always comes climbing on top of me after I’m settled in bed. She expects a little petting and praise before curling up at the top of the bed.

The little tabby will walk across me, check out the night from one of the windows and then curl up at the other top corner of the bed.

I don’t know where they slept, but it wasn’t with me. They didn’t come make the accustomed morning check on me either. They were content to sit in the hall outside and mew for their breakfast.

If the long range weather forecast is right, we’ll soon be enjoying temperatures in the 40s and 50s again. These cold days will be forgotten and we’ll move on with our hatless, gloveless lives.

Which will suit me absolutely fine, although I do intend to make a mental note that anytime the words “arctic air” show up in a weather forecast, I need to immediately put in for vacation and book a flight to Florida.

CATHIE SHAFFER can be reached at cathieshaffer@zoominternet.net