Tuesday, January 5, 2010

Baby, it's COLD Outside!!

Actually, I'm not even sure that "cold" is an appropriate description. It's crazy-frigid here in Kansas City! They're talking about wind chills of -35° by Friday morning, and highs by the end of the week (HIGHS) of 3° and 4°. BRRRR!!!!

With the temperatures that low, we aren't getting out much! I did get to Aldi yesterday with a very long list. I spent $74, which is a LOT for me at Aldi! But...we would probably be okay if I didn't get to the store for the next two weeks. I'm sure that won't happen, but it's nice to have everything we need. Today I managed to get a mystery shop done, but tomorrow and Thursday, I don't have any intention of getting out of the house. I really hope they cancel school tomorrow, because we're supposed to get even MORE snow (we already have about a foot out there) starting around noon tomorrow.

I know that there are areas that are even harder hit than Kansas City - I've been told that Minneapolis has about TWO feet of white fun and that driving involves following the "ruts" in between the hills of solid ice. Yuck! It's bad all over, and I'm sure I'm not the only one who wants it to all go away and warm to a reasonable temperature.

I remember once a few years ago when I was traveling with a friend to Denver to visit a friend of his and to see a couple of concerts (Suzy Bogguss, if you're interested). It was near Christmas and we had to travel all the way across Kansas. Well, as luck would have it, a terrible snowstorm hit during our trip and we got caught up in the midst of it. I-70 was shut down due to the conditions, but we weren't even ON I-70. My friend was taking an "old highway" that ran parallel to the more popular route, and of course, it had not been paved at ALL. We were in a four-wheel drive SUV (thank God for that!), but it was a full-blown blizzard and we guessed that we were driving through 12-18" of fresh snow. Mark was literally driving on knowledge of the road, as he had taken it many times to visit the Denver area and basically had every turn memorized.

It was terrifying, but there was no where to stop, and we both knew that if we stopped anywhere, we'd never get started again and we didn't have any idea when someone might come along that road. We just kept driving. Somehow we never went off the road, and eventually we reached a junction with a convenience store. It was an oasis!!! We went inside and found many other travelers who had been dealing with the same issues, and we stayed inside until we both felt calm enough to drive again. The main highway was open at this point, at least for a short distance, so we asked about hotels. It was only a few miles up I-70 to the closest one, so we set out. It was slow going, and still rather scary, but we made it to that exit. Of course, the hotel was full. They allowed Mark to call ahead to the next exit and he was able to find a hotel with some rooms. So back onto the road we went, and we made it safely to the hotel. I'm not sure a hotel room has ever felt so great. :) The next day wasn't nearly as bad, and we did get to our destination on time, but it was a harrowing experience that I hope to never repeat. I'm very fortunate that he knew the road as he did had was well-practiced at driving in heavy snow.

For the record, the concerts were absolutely wonderful and I had no regrets about making the trip. I also fell in love with both Colorado Springs and Denver. It was beautiful there, and I enjoyed the difference in elevation and how it felt. I hope to go back there "Someday Soon." (That's a Suzy song, for those who don't know.) It was definitely an experience I will remember for a very long time.

When I started this post, I wasn't even thinking about that trip, but you never know where your words will take you when you start blogging, do you? :-) I just wanted to talk about the cold and ask my readers a question: What do you do keep warm when the weather outside is frightfully frigid? We have space heaters downstairs, where the temp keeps falling to 60° and below, and I burn candles upstairs to make it feel warmer. We have throws on the couches for snuggling and I have been baking most of the afternoon. Cocoa is another favorite, as it warms everyone from the inside out. At the kids' snacktime today, I was reminded of a poem and gave them a familiar treat. Remember this?

Animal crackers and cocoa to drink.
That is the finest of suppers, I think.
When I'm grown up and can have what I please,
I think I shall always insist upon these.

The kids loved their snack, even though they don't know the poem. :-)

So please share how you are keeping warm and cozy in this VERY cold time. They say it's the worst winter in 20 years. I believe it!


Annie Jones said...

We use EdenPURE heaters as our main heat source, but with temps this cold, we also have the furnace set to come on anytime the temps drop below 67° during the day. At night it doesn't come on unless the house drops below 50°. So far, the coolest it's been is about 59°.

On days when it's sunny, I open the blinds on our south-side windows to let in light and heat (it really does help, even if it's frigid out). If it's overcast, all the blinds stay shut to add an extra pocket of insulation. We have weatherized all of our windows with plastic on the inside and they are done in a way we can still open the blinds if we want. We also have weatherized our whole-house ceiling fan with plastic.

I run the dishwasher first thing in the a.m. and when it gets to the dry cycle, I turn it off and open the door, letting much needed heat and humidity into the house.

I don't hesitate to bake anything we might need or want to eat and when I turn off the oven I let the heat out into the kitchen.

I make sure closets are shut so we don't heat them, and if we had a room or two we didn't use, I'd close those, too (we don't).

We make sure we wear enough clothing. No running around without socks or in shorts. I tend to feel colder than Shane or Kat, so I do what I need to heat myself without heating the whole house more. This means I sit with a heating pad behind my back when at the computer and use my electric blanket when I'm lounging on the couch. I'm also not afraid to wear a knit hat in the house, or my bathrobe over my clothes...LOL! I always wear shoes or, at the very least, house shoes. I try to keep active instead of just sitting on my butt.

Finally, I try to cook warm and comforting foods like soups and stews, and drink warm drinks. They seem to help a lot.

Sorry for the novel :). Hope my ideas help you or someone else.

Annie Jones said...

I thought of more ideas. :)

If aesthetics aren't an issue, nail quilts or heavy blankets over windows or even just on walls that are also exterior walls.

Use a dryer vent diversion kit to redirect the moist hot air from your dryer back into your home (electric dryers only).

Wear Cuddl Duds or other long underwear under your clothing.

Use "draft dodgers" if your doors to the outside or between your home and garage/basement aren't tight.

Use ceiling fans on low to push warm air back down from the ceiling, especially if you have high ceilings.

If money's no object, go on a Caribbean cruise. ;)