Daily Independent (Ashland, KY)

January 27, 2014

All I want is a cave

Cathie Shaffer
The Independent

ASHLAND — I understand why bears hibernate. I’d do it too if I could. Because I keep the bedroom door shut during the day to keep the newest dog out, it’s pretty chilly when I go to bed. But I have developed a routine for these cold, cold nights.

I put said dog in her crate, open the bedroom door and go take a nice hot bath while the room warms up a little. And, of course, I snap the electric blanket control on high so the bed is toasty warm when I dash to it.

A lovely red coverlet tops the blanket since I typically turn the control off before I go to sleep. Burrowing down in my cozy nest, I sleep extremely well.

And then the alarm clock goes off. The blasted alarm that beeps me from wonderful dreams to stark reality. Stretching my arm out to slam the off button allows a little cool air in which usually leads to me snuggling back under the covers for just a minute.

Okay, for a few minutes while I steel myself to get up and get moving. I manage in the night to wrap the covers around me, so leaving the bed is like emerging from a cocoon.

Alas, I’m not a butterfly,  however. Thanks to the cold, my hair stands up like I’ve touched a live electric wire and my flannel nightgown and non-matching jammy pants make the wrong kind of fashion statement.

I stagger to the bathroom, avoiding the mirror as much as possible, with the intent of restoring my appearance to that of a regular human.

Motivating myself to get ready and go outside is getting harder and harder. My bed beckons from yards away, the sheets still warm. I am torn between my duty of going to work and my great longing to go back to bed.

Duty wins. I trudge back to the bedroom, pull on warm clothes, fish for heavy socks to wear with my boots and set about the morning routine.

The dogs go out; the dogs come back in. The cats get fed, the water dish is filled.

The one bright moment is that my car has remote start. I click the button and it comes to life, warming as I bundle up in my heavy coat and gloves.

Now is the time when I suppose I should wax poetic about the beauty of Mother Nature’s winter creations and how once I step out the door, my spirits are restored by the white wonderland around me.

Sorry. That never happens.

I get in my car, go through a drive-through for coffee and point the car in the direction of the office. The car warms up and, provided the roads are clear, my mood elevates as the miles disappear. Memories of the warm haven I left dissipate.

Until I have to go back out and into the miserable conditions to which we’ve been treated this January. I normally don’t have the luxury of letting my car warm before I get in when I’m not at home, so I shiver and listen to my teeth chatter until the heater finally begins to warm the car’s interior.

Despite my best efforts not to listen, I hear the radio announcer talk about how cold it is and how cold it’s going to become. Huddling down further into my fleecy winter coat, I wonder how long this is going to go on.

And I remind myself that next year, I simply have to take a vacation week in January — not to go anywhere, mind you, but so I can have the luxury of slamming the alarm off each morning and going right back to sleep in my wonderful warm retreat like a big old bear.

CATHIE SHAFFER, executive editor of The Greenup News, can be reached at cathieshaffer@zoominternet.net