A couple days ago, I got an email from my brother, David, who lives in Washington state. He used to live in Anchorage, Alaska.
He emailed me wanting to know if I needed any advice about surviving cold weather. You know: how to keep my pipes unfrozen, etc. (not sure if he meant my house water pipes or my body's biological pipes), but I assured him that we'd had weather like this before in North Carolina – just not for such an extended period of time.
And it has been ridiculous. During this nation-wide cold snap, surface temperatures reached -30 or -40 in some areas, meaning it's actually been warmer in Anchorage than in some places in the continental United States. Hells' Bells, I've been told it's been warmer in some regions on the planet Mars, which on average is only 50-60 million miles farther from the sun than we are.
I have a cousin who lives in Vermont and she posts running commentary about how cold it is up there. This came just days after I saw a story trending on Facebook about the lava dome percolating under New England that could pose a significant problem sometime in the next several million years.
I suspect those frozen Yankees would welcome a small eruption about now – "just enough to keep our feet warm," replied my cousin. I think she was serious.
In fact, this morning, as I write this, it's 5 degrees here in Lexington. No, wait a minute: it just fell to 4 degrees. Of course. The sun is coming up.
Anyway, we've been doing our best to cope. Even though we keep the thermostat hovering around 70 degrees in our drafty 100-year-old house, Kim broke out an extra fleece-line afghan last night to add to our two other comforters, and it certainly didn't hurt when our 16-pound Ragdoll cat joined us at the foot of the bed.
Yet, I still can't seem to get warm enough. We have a couple of strategically placed space heaters in the house (one in our den, which has French doors and we can close off the room to make it reasonably toasty) and one in the bathroom, which really does keep our toes warm.
I've been drinking hot chocolate and shoveling down lots of Kim's chicken stew in an effort to maintain my body heat.
But relief could be on the way. The weather forecast tells me that we should be in the 50s by midweek, and maybe even in the 60s by the weekend. I may have to cut grass, I don't know.
But maybe we're about to turn a corner. In just a few more months, we can complain about how hot it is...