Warmth on a cold, cold night

It was below 0° F when I woke up yesterday morning, and close to that this morning. As I type now, it’s 8° F. Colder than the desert at night (I checked) but not as cold as the inside of my freezer.

We have a special relationship with cold in the Midwest. We know that cold is what winters are supposed to be, and we have different thresholds of tolerance depending on the time of year. In November, this kind of cold would seem unbearable, and we’d all be complaining. But it’s the end of December, and this is the first serious cold snap of our winter. We know it’s cold, but I’ve yet to hear anyone complain. I haven’t even pulled my parka out of the closet.

Truth be told, I’ve actually been concerned by how warm the temperatures have been so far this year, so I find this cold snap somewhat comforting. I’m looking on the bright side.

Here are a few good things about seriously cold weather:

  • It’s an excuse to stay inside and get fat.
  • The snow is crunchy; I love the sound.
  • Even my dogs don’t want to spend much time outside, so we’re not at odds.
  • Bitter cold rarely means snow — although we could get snow at either end, as the temperature is cooling or, more likely, as it warms up.
  • Hot chocolate.

Mental Floss published an article a while back about unusual ways to describe cold weather. It was based on information from the now-defunct Dictionary of American Regional English, the loss of which saddens me. I’m particularly partial to “colder than the hinges of Hell.” Most of my “cold as…” similes are at least somewhat vulgar, so the hinges of Hell are a definite upgrade.

I spent most of yesterday reading, and I’m likely to do the same tonight, possibly with a dog curled up on my lap. What’s not to love about that?

For dinner, I’m leaning toward a menu built around beef and stout pie. Would it be wrong to want mashed potatoes on the side along with a vegetable?

And hot chocolate. Definitely hot chocolate.

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