Now, the Letdown

It’s that time after the holiday season that I dislike the most. It’s still dark, cold, and snowy. But now, it’s just winter.

Christmas is over, New Year’s is done. The eggnog is gone. It’s time to be done celebrating and move on to the grind of January.

From this:
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Pretty lights!

 

To this:
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Only looks pretty until you have to drive in it.

 

Even the holiday lights don’t look the same. They’re still pretty and help brighten the darkness, but each day, there are fewer and fewer up as people accept that the season is over and take down theirs.

There’s no anticipation brewing.

No excitement as we wrap presents eager to see the joy on the receivers’ face when they get them. No expectation of what’s under the tree for us. Not even the anticipation of a few days off of work.

Just snow. Darkness. Cold. And long hours at the day job.

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Sums it up.

 Oh, and taking down the Christmas tree. Because that’s always a fun job I look forward to doing. *end sarcasm*

I wish I could schedule a holiday in late January or early February so we’d have something to look forward to, but it’s really hard for me to get time off before April 15th.

In a few weeks, I won’t notice. I’ll be head down, getting work done as we dig out of the snow and cold to get to work on a daily basis.

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Actual winter footage.

It’ll be the grind of obligations and doing what needs to be done.

And, it’ll suck.

The song about how the singer wishes every day would be Christmas would ruin Christmas, but I do wish we could stretch out the holidays a bit. Maybe exchange our New Year for the Chinese New Year so we have something to look forward to after Christmas. The next holiday on the horizon in Easter if you celebrate it, otherwise, we’re looking at Memorial Day. That’s just too long.

How about you? Do you feel post-Christmas blues? If so, how do you deal with them?

Dreaded Morning Ride

There’s this time each morning a I dread. Not as much as actually waking the kids up, getting them dressed, and getting breakfast in their stomachs, but a far stranger time. A time I never know what to expect.

The time from the moment I start the car engine until I pull in daycare’s parking lot. During this time, I’m a captive audience. I have nowhere to go and nowhere to hide. This is when my preschooler peppers me with the strangest “facts” and then demands to know if they’re true.

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Of course they’re not, and then comes the explanation.

Which must be worded carefully because you know she’s going to share with her whole preschool.

For example, earlier this week, my daughter waits to spring the question on me until I’m pulling out of the driveway. At which point, she says, “Momma, if you get frostbite on your big toe or your little one, you have to chop them off, right?”

I blink a couple of times, shake my head, and focus on getting out of the driveway while I think how to phrase my answer.

I assume that her daycare teachers were explaining to the children why they had to wear their outside clothes to go out. I can only imagine the “joy” of two teachers getting fourteen kids into their hats, mittens, snow pants and coats before going outside every day, twice a day.

So, I proceed to explain to her that, no, just getting frostbite doesn’t mean they have to amputate your toes. We talk about how bad frostbite is and how much worse it can be. We then talk about how important our warm winter gear is and how it protects us from getting too cold and getting frostbite.

“And hypothermia,” says my preschooler.

“And hypothermia,” I agree.

“If you get hypothermia, you’ll die.”

“Which is why you have to wear your winter gear,” I say. Because of course I have to get this point across to the child that quotes Elsa at me whenever she doesn’t want to wear her mittens.

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I then tell her that you don’t necessarily die if you get hypothermia and are treated for it in time, but then I pause. Did my preschooler just say the word “hypothermia”? And use it correctly in a sentence, in the proper context?

I want to ask, but almost don’t because sometimes it’s better not to know. Still, curiosity won out. “Where did you learn about hypothermia and frostbite?”

“I don’t remember.”

So, she can remember the word hypothermia and what it means, but not where she learned it. Going out on a limb, I ask, “Why did you think we’d have to cut off your toes if they got frostbitten?”

“Well, *insert her friend’s name here* said so, and we were talking about it on the playground…”

Ahhh, playground misinformation has already started.

When the conversation finally ended and I took her into daycare, I reminded her to wear her winter stuff so she wouldn’t get frostbite.

“Or hypothermia,” she said as she skipped off to her classroom.

I shook my head, got back in my car, and enjoyed the silence all the way to work.

 

How about you? Your child ever ask you strange questions? How did you answer them?  If not a child, maybe a co-worker or friend comes up with some zany things?

Too Fast

Fall came a little too fast this year. We were enjoying a warm summer  that stretched well past when it’s normally gone. While some lamented the lack of cool fall days, we were making the most of an extended summer.

Then wham!  Fall. Not the beautiful mild fall of mid-September, but the tree-baring cold of late October. Not that it’s ever so very beautiful around here in the fall.

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It was 32F when I got up this morning, and there was a thick blanket of frost on our too-long grass (mowing this time of year is really tough between the rain and the dwindling sunlight).

We have to start getting ready to leave for school earlier as we now need to bundle the kids up before we go. As you can imagine, that goes over well with a toddler.

But the afternoons when it’s not raining are lovely, especially if you have the chance to get outside before the creeping darkness. It’s now dark by 6pm here, and the sun is coming up later and later.

Even through all of this, I like autumn, but it does mean one very awful thing: Winter is Coming.

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Yes it is.

It’s sorta like Game of Thrones encapsulated the entire Great Lakes region take on winter. We live in dread of it through all of the other seasons. Especially this year when the weathermen are predicting an especially cold and snowy winter.

When I first moved to the Midwest, I didn’t understand this dread. I had lived in Seattle and New Orleans previously. Winter was a thing, but not like it is here.

In Seattle, you know the clouds are going to roll in. You know October is the last time you’re going to see the sun until May. April if you’re lucky. The temperatures are mild and snow is something you go to the mountains to see.

In New Orleans, winter is great. The humidity becomes bearable, and the heat eases up. Yeah, you might need a heavy sweatshirt now and again, but I found January through March to be some of the nicest months in New Orleans.

Then, I moved to the Midwest. First, I didn’t understand that fall is short and bitter-sweet. Gorgeous weather, beautiful leaves, but that hanging threat. Winter is Coming.

Get your winter gear together. You are going to need it. And the pretty little coats you see in magazines have no place here. You shop at stores that rate their jackets for warmth. Because a 30F jacket is of little use when you’re on day 66 of it not getting above 15F.

Just getting to work or the store becomes an adventure.

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And, winter doesn’t end in March like it does on the calendar or in other locations. This past May (yes, May), a birthday party my daughter attended was relocated from the park to the child’s home because it was so cold it was spitting snow and hail.

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How about you? Are you loving the fall weather?  Getting out and doing stuff? Do you dread the winter? Or maybe you love it for the snowmobiling and ice fishing? Do the shorter days bother you? Are you preparing to dress like you’re on Hoth just to go to the store?