Posts tagged ‘cold’

Crazy Winter Adventures

Take that, Winter!

Figure 1: Take that, Winter! 
So, really, there is only one “Figure.”  Do I just put “Figure”?  That looks weird.

Often I question why I live in Chicagoland, and last week was certainly one of those times. But here I live, and I’ve got a mortgage and some pretty nifty friends and family who are all crazy enough to live here, too, so I plan to make the best of things. That means last week I had to gear up for the cold. Polar cold.

We Illinoisans have been spoiled by some pretty mild winters the last couple years. (I fondly remember hiking without a jacket at Starved Rock — in January!)  So, I’d forgotten what real cold feels like and acts like, and I needed to adjust.  Monday, Tuesday, and Wednesday morning were predicted to be wicked cold (in the negatives), and unfortunately, I only got Monday off.  So, I resigned myself to getting prepared, and I had one question:  At what point does my face turn blue and my fingers fall off??  According to the news: within minutes.  So, I geared up. (See Figure 1)

Warm weather checklist:

  • 2 or 3 pairs of socks — including some thermal ones
  • long underwear (top and bottom)
  • heavy sweats
  • T-shirt, long-sleeved shirt, sweatshirt, and jacket
  • gloves
  • scarf
  • hat (with hood up)
  • ninja mask (face mask)
  • tennis shoes (my boots finally just came in the mail, and they are the best thing EVER)

I also made sure I had a sleeping bag, some water, and snacks.

Everything almost went off without a hitch.  The warehouse where I work was actually decently warm.  I was more confident in the snow, managing the skidding and taking things extra slow, especially around the turns and approaching lights and stop signs.  The highway was a mess, but I took the alternate route, and I made it to work without a problem.  I made sure I warmed up my car for 5 minutes during lunch, and everything was going smoothly.

And then Tuesday evening I got into my car, turned the key, got a “vrrp” and then. . . nothing.  I tried again. . . nothing.  I couldn’t believe it.  The one reason I had considered calling in sick — and it had happened to me.  I stilled my mind and worked on the next step.  The maintenance guy.  Find the maintenance guy.  2nd shift was still going, and my friend in maintenance was still in there somewhere.  So, I gave up on my car and went back in to work to find him.  He came back with me, lugging some kind of charger thing and proceeded to hook it up in my trunk. (Yes, my battery is in my trunk).   We waited a little while, and then I tried the ignition again.  Vrrp. . .nothing.

Now I was getting a bit concerned.  He continued to charge the battery and asked to poke around under my hood for  a bit (unsure about my battery really being in the trunk).  Meanwhile, my fingers were starting to get cold — I don’t have heavy duty gloves; Honestly, I try to get away without wearing gloves as much as possible, and I’d go without a coat, too, if I could get away with it! —  and I started worrying that my hands were going to shrivel up and become smurf blue.

I decided it was time to put some metaphysics learning to use.  First, I sent my car light energy.  Then, not sure if sending energy worked for cars, I tried visualization — recreating the sound and feel of the car revving up with confidence and gusto. I then repeated this image a few times in my mind.

I’m not sure if it was the maintenance guy’s gizmo, or the light energy, or the visualization — or all 3 –but when I tried the car the next time, it gave a hearty, unhesitating start, exactly as I’d imagined it.  I thanked my friend profusely and hurried into my car, rubbing my hands together like two sticks making a fire, and I let the car warm up.  “That’s my girl!” I crowed to my metal baby, and I couldn’t wait to get home, kiss the floor, and hug and kiss my honey (maybe not in that order).

And this week I’ve officially become one of those crazy people who thinks 30 degrees is spring weather and goes about willy-nilly without gloves and hat.  But, I mean, can you blame me?  Winter was 50 degrees ago!

Dealing with Severe Weather: A Lesson in Self-Empowerment

Image courtesy of Vlado/

Image courtesy of Vlado/

Today I struggled with whether or not to cancel my tutoring lessons and evening plans.  Could I make it out in this snow?  Was it worth it?  I finally decided that I would take initiative and cancel all of my plans for the day.  I still feel a little guilty for some reason, but these thoughts were helpful in leading me to my decision:

  • Students cancel for various reasons all of the time.  In fact, if I were in the reverse position and were planning on driving to a lesson, I would most likely cancel today.
  • I did leave some homework with two of the students, and I am possibly rescheduling with the third.
  • I can make up the time I intended to spend on transcribing intuitive reports.
  • I can make up the last health class and will begin using the DNA transfiguration meditation today.
  • Our guest teacher in class yesterday spoke on the importance of making a clear commitment, so that you don’t spend a lot of wasteful time in worry.  I waited and didn’t cancel last night because I wanted to be sure, but I could feel the worry rising through my chest this morning.  So, I chose to be decisive and take action.

So, now my question is: What do I do tomorrow?

In the past, my institution decided whether or not I would come in.  As a student, the school decided when conditions were unacceptable.  As a teacher, the same institution made the decisions for me.  But those considerations were made for the children, and I am not a child.  At what point do I decide that work is not worth the risk?

Will my car start?  What will it be like in the warehouse?  I work right against the wall to the outside, beside large delivery doors that open and close during the day.  If it is below zero outside, will it be below zero inside, too?  (I suppose I could ask to move to a different location for the day.)  And will the processors call off?  My job involves checking in the work of others, so if no one is there — there will be no work for me . . .  and I will have to conjure up work to do (which can be maddening).  I also haven’t worked much in the last few weeks, so I feel that I should be getting some work in.  (And will I be penalized for calling off?)

I guess I will prepare for tomorrow as if I am going in and just do the research and be smart about things.

  1. If my car doesn’t start tomorrow morning, my decision will be made for me.
  2. I will need to have a hat, find some decent gloves, and possibly even suit up in long underwear and extra socks.  (I may even try to find my face mask!)
  3. I will make sure to run my car for a while before I drive.
  4. I will keep my phone charged and bring my charger with me.
  5. I will have a sleeping bag or two in the trunk.
  6. I will make sure I have 2 bottles full of water and some snacks.

So, I keep asking myself, “Why-oh-why did my ancestors choose the Chicagoland area??  (Jobs and opportunity, family and community — yes, yes, I know, I know.)   Regardless, I am here for a reason, and I will learn what I can.

How do you deal with the weather? Those of you in warmer climates/seasons, feel free to share your warm-weather woes.

2 Degrees with Windchill and the Return of the Silverfish

"Sad Woman" courtesy of graur codrin /

“Sad Woman” courtesy of graur codrin / 
Please. . . please. . .. no more snow. . .

To quote someone from Facebook: “The groundhog lied.” The damn groundhog lied. Sorry, Phil — I’m just a little tired today.

This morning the magic spell I had over Bowser apparently wore off: instead of completely ignoring me as I got ready for work and lying quiet and unperturbed in his bed to wait for Brian to rise, he ran up to me, whimpering, his tail wagging in anticipation. “Seriously?” I grunted and then figured it had been nice while it lasted. Brian needed a chance to sleep in, and I could suck it up. Sure, I’d already hit the snooze button once, and I only had a half hour to get ready, but I’d survive somehow.

I was a bit disoriented as I made my way down the stairs toward the door. The alarm had woken me in the middle of many dramatic and vivid dreams, and I was trying to make sense of them and the foul feeling I had carried with me into my waking moments. (My last dreams before waking this morning were of the I’m-at-school-and-I’m-having-a-problem-with-my-students variety.) *On days when I get to sleep in a little bit, I like to stay in bed a few extra minutes and go through the last dreams of my REM sleep. Yes, I know, I know. That’s not the only reason I stay in bed a few extra minutes.*

So anyway, I was getting Bowser’s harness on and grabbing my jacket and some toilet paper as I made my way to the door, and that’s when winter slammed me in the face.  It was cruel enough that he caught me half asleep, but what made it worse was knowing that I would be spending a whole 25 minutes in winter’s icy breath when I had to go out for morning car duty later that same morning.  (I’ve decided just now that winter must be male.  If you don’t like it, too bad.)  And then Bowser made a mess in his hind fur (not his fault – he badly needs a trim), and I spent the next 10 minutes cleaning him up.  (I don’t know how on earth I managed to finish that and pack up and make my tea and smoothie breakfast and still arrive on time, but I did!)  And yes, it was awful, awful, awful out there.  Those of you who live in much more temperate climates – you can laugh at me now.  Those of you who have it worse than me – MOVE!  For the love of all that’s good, how can you stand it??

And in other news, after a long respite, the silverfish has returned.  It’s been sighted twice in the recent past, both times gobbled up by Zelda, the good little princess.   Though I’m not fond of the wee buggers, if they mean spring will finally wake up and join us, bring on all the critters!  (Please remind me of this if I complain later.)

But the good part in all of this is that it wasn’t so bad overall.  Yes, I’m pretty darn tired right now, but I was able to laugh a little at things and keep them in perspective.  Yesterday I used “The Secret” and had a fantastic day (“It’s going to be a great day today; it’s going to. . .  no, it IS a great day today!”  And today I used it a bit to keep my day from starting off as absolutely awful. (“This is still going to be a good day!”)

So, I plan to go to bed a little early tonight and to have sweet, sweet dreams of California and the sweet baby “Angel” who visited me in my dreams sometime in my sleep.

I Love & Need My Car . . . Did You Catch That, Universe?

"Selling And Buying Car" courtesy of suphakit73/

“Selling And Buying Car” courtesy of suphakit73/

If you ever feel like your life is a little too normal, and you wish you had a little more adventure in your life — don’t.

(Sometimes I wonder if I subconsciously create or attract these situations of drama so that I have a subject to post about later. . .)

I got sloppy this morning, and I confused the timing of a brunch date.  I was in the middle of exercising to Zumba Core on the Xbox360 (trying to get some exercise in because I knew I’d be busy the rest of the day), when I got a text from one of my friends that she was already on her way to the café.

I flew to my laptop, double-checked my Facebook messages, and immediately realized my timing mistake.  I took one of my fastest showers, threw on some clothes, got Bowser in his crate, and ran out the door.

And that’s when my car wouldn’t start.

And suddenly nothing else in the world mattered — not that I was late, not that my hair was wet and knotted, not that I couldn’t remember where I’d left my car garage-door opener, not that I hoped the front door was locked . . .   My world was ending because something I’d always taken for granted was suddenly the most important thing in my life right now: my beautiful 8-year old car.

I tried again.  A little something — then nothing.  I tried again.  Nothing.  I waited.  A little something — then nothing.  I texted Brian; I texted one of my friends.  What do I do?  Then, on the next attempt a “Service Vehicle” message flashed on my dashboard, and the next few days immediately flashed before my eyes.  Would I make it to tutoring?  What about taking my friend to Chicago on Sunday?  What about getting to work?  I just took my car in!  Would I have to take it in again?  I don’t to take it in!  Suck it up, Teri!

Brian told me that my car maybe just needed to warm up.  “How do I get it to warm up?” I cried. “With time,” he texted me.  Time??  I didn’t have time.  I was already 20 minutes late!

(By the way, how do you warm a car up that’s too cold to start?  It was already in the garage.  Are there big thermal blankets make just for cars that heat them up enough to start?  And if there are, I want one.)

Long story, short (but not really), after a few more attempts, the car finally started.  And then I couldn’t get the garage door closed.  Because — if you remember — I didn’t remember where I’d put the garage-door opener, and the outdoor garage-door key pad decided it wasn’t going to work either, and also the keys I needed to get into the house — so that I could locate the opener or at least run through the house after hitting the indoor garage door opener — were in the ignition of my temperamentally running car, AND because I don’t actually have a driveway — my garage door opens up into an alleyway, facing rows and rows of other garage doors — my car was sitting in the middle of an alleyway —  at the precise moment that one of my neighbors had also chosen to leave their house (but with much greater success, except for the annoyance of the crazy neighbor who was blocking the entire alleyway).  Phew!  (Take a breath here.)

So, to make a long story short (for real this time), my totally awesome other neighbor from across the way went into my garage for me and hit the indoor opener button and then did some crazy Mission Impossible run back through the garage and limbo-y hop/dodge under the door and over the sensors, and I was able to finally leave and be unfashionably late to my brunch — which was really more like “lunch” by that point.

Thankfully, my car started after the café.  And it started on the way to the tutoring session (which I made sure to leave extra early for).  And it started on the way back from the lesson.  Thus, I am temporarily convinced that my beloved baby (car, not infant) is not going to die — as previously feared — and will live for many, few happy years to come.  (But, it’s clearly officially over the hill because suddenly cold weather is preventing it from getting up in the morning.)

In conclusion: I love, love, love my car.  And I’m perfectly happy with my life the way it is.  Normal is GOOD.  (Did you get that, universe?  Please don’t take my car.)

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