It's Our Turn: Rx for a case of the 'shack nasties'We’ve had a pretty mild winter this year in Minnesota. So unlike our usual hibernation weather, the below zero temperatures that have recently swept into the area seem foreign. Today it’s cold, not 30-below cold, but still my forehead hurts and my nostrils are frozen cold.
By: Crystal Dey, Alexandria Echo Press
We've had a pretty mild winter this year in Minnesota. So unlike our usual hibernation weather, the below zero temperatures that have recently swept into the area seem foreign. Today it's cold, not 30-below cold, but still my forehead hurts and my nostrils are frozen cold.
When winter first sets in, we frolic in the falling snow and gaze at the beauty of the changing seasons. Children get excited to go sledding and ice-skating (which I've yet to do this year). Giggling little ones and giddy adults make snowmen and snow angels between intervals of snowball fights. Pressure is put on meteorologists to make it snow for Christmas. For a while the snowy season is magical.
Then the beautiful white blanket of snow is trudged through in your front yard, the roads are salted and sanded, vehicle exhaust clings to the crystalline drifts and winter gets ugly. Warm-ups and cool-downs leave just enough discolored random piles of snow lying sadly on the ground to taunt snowmobilers and skiers. The pixie dust wears off.
Usually around mid-February, when you're looking forward to the arrival of spring in March, the weather turns bitterly cold. So cold your car won't start. So frigid it makes your eyes water. So chilly even Chilly Willy wouldn't stick around. But we do. We Minnesotans are crazy enough to stick it out.
New Englanders call it cabin fever. Sounds lovely, a cozy little cabin. Fever implies it's warm inside that log cabin with tufts of smoke rising from its chimney. A scene from a Thomas Kinkade painting comes to mind.
Here, it's called the shack nasties. Our windows frost over, snow blows in under the door. Your dog seems to telepathically say "seriously?" when you try to send him outside.
Your home becomes your cell. All the things you usually enjoy about your abode lose their zeal and you go a little stir crazy. Animosity grows among family members and single folks feel a little more singular.
Well, buck up little buckaroos. We'll see spring when we turn the calendar page. The vernal equinox is only weeks away after all. We'll get that tease of springtime in March followed by a snowstorm in April, and maybe another in May. But the cold won't last forever; it can't. Can it? Global warming is doing some weird things.
Anyway, there are things we can do to make the shack nasties a little less nasty. Start spring-cleaning early, so when the warmer weather pops in for a visit you can go out and enjoy it rather than herding dust bunnies. Reawaken your living space by rearranging furniture or refreshing your décor.
Use the indoor sentence imposed by the Ice Queen to your advantage. Snail mail some old friends or family. Start a new hobby or rekindle your interest in something you're too busy to pursue when the great outdoors are more habitable and Mother Nature is feeling a bit more hospitable.
Remember the things you loved about the beginning of winter. Snow play might be out but there are other things to embrace in the season. Bust out the hot cocoa and plop some marshmallows in your cup. Grab your blankie and a book or a copy of your favorite newspaper, the Echo Press.
Or, there's always my favorite pastime, sleeping. I'm pretty sure I was a bear in a past life. A Minnesotan bear.
Despite a general disdain for the cold, there are some lunatics who thrive on these moments. To them I say, more power to ya, make sure you bundle up - and give Jack Frost my regards.
"It's Our Turn" is a weekly column that rotates among members of the Echo Press editorial staff.