Sunday, March 2, 2014
The Matron is complaining.
If you live in Minnesota and are in the "Buck-Up" crew, please don't read this post. For the Matron? She is a-complaining.
She's not sure that people who live somewhere safe fully appreciate that to walk outside in Minnesota is to risk death. We have had about 50 below-zero days this winter, putting us well into the Top Ten Coldest since 1887. She thinks we're now at number 7 but tonight's 14 below forecast bodes well for climbing to number 6.
Then there's snow.
Last week, the public schools were cancelled once again as FEET fell upon us. It is now routine for snow banks to be much, much taller than the Matron. She has to stand up -- as much as possible -- in the car in order to see at certain corners. The streets have succumbed to the snow, narrowing so much that firetrucks and ambulances can't get through. True. The firetruck crisis is now a parking crisis. Throughout the city, there is parking on only one side of the street until the SNOW MELTS. Goddamn it.
Snow (did she mention we have a lot of it?) consumes hours and hours and hours of time upon each of its visits. There's the sidewalk. The driveway. The neighbor's steps. The cars. John is outside with the snow blower for an hour and the Matron trims up edges for much the same. Snow also means driving takes four to 215 times as long as usual. So you shovel for an hour and then spend two in a car.
Did she mention school?
This year, cold and snow have meant another record: school cancellations. Since December 20th, the Matron has had ZERO full work weeks with children in school. Friends not in Minnesota? Consider that it is March and you have not had one full work week without the flu, sniffles, freezing cold, or snow - -your children are home 3 to 4 days a work week. Thank you, Mother Nature.
Weather frightens the Matron. She takes it seriously. New Year's Eve in Minnesota was something alarming like 40 below. The Matron KNEW some stupid kid would drink too much and die of exposure, especially considering this this sad nightmare not long before.
Tragedy just seemed to settle in this week. A six year old dies from exposure. and three Carlton College students die, thanks to ice.
Tomorrow, the Matron will once again drive her daughter to school because it is too dangerous to stand outside and wait for the unpredictable bus. Tonight, the Matron is wearing two pairs of leggings, sweat pants, t-shirt, two long sleeve shirts, pull-over sweater and sweater (no, she is not kidding) and the space heater in the kitchen has only brought the temperature up to 68 degrees.
We are road weary. We are Pa from Little House, tying a clothesline from barn to house so we won't succumb to the elements. We are jumping cars, scraping ice, buying propane, building fires--and freezing, still.
The message? Winters like this one are work. Going to the grocery store is back-breaking work. Getting out of the house sort of sucks. The heating bill means there is no summer vacation (but winter means summer WILL be vacation). People die. Children can't play outside.
Winter. Minnesota. Over. Soon. Please. . . . the Matron is ready for one burst of 10 degrees!