“How cold is it?”
That’s the question I’ve heard 100 times from my 12-year-old daughter, Krystene, this past week. She seems to think she is invincible and ventures out into the frigid weather without wearing a coat, hat or mittens. I keep telling her to learn from her 3-year-old sister, Kayla. She is always bundled up from head to toe. Sometimes I wonder if I overdo it. Just like the little boy in the movie “A Christmas Story,” who takes a tumble, rolls back and forth but still cannot get back up on his feet because of all the layers of clothing and that puffy snowsuit big as a giant marshmallow. If Kayla slips and falls on the ice, she’ll have extra padding, and I hope to be there always to pick her up if she falls.
This past week was a perfect chance for both my children to learn how dangerous it can be to be outside in this crazy deep freeze.
“How cold is it?” Krystene asked again.
“It’s cold enough to freeze your skin in seconds if you’re not covered,” I told her for the umpteenth time.
I have given them the bundle-up speech, and they have heard similar bundle-up advisories on the news and from their friends.
Why didn’t scientists warn us there was going to be another Ice Age so soon? Today, I felt like the snowman in the classic Campbell’s soup commercial, melting as I drank my cup of soup early this afternoon. All the windows at the office – frosted over and glistening from the reflections of the sun – give me a feeling of claustrophobia, of being trapped inside as Old Man Winter raged outside those frosted windows.
When I should be working, I find my mind slipping away to daydreams of a tropical getaway: palm trees, sunshine, warm breezes. Then reality hits like a slap in the face. Ouch! Starting the car, warming it up on my lunch break and then venturing out to the merciless Arctic cold just to do it all over again. Remember the boy who was dared by his friends to stick his tongue onto a metal pole? The little fool took the dare and – sure enough – got stuck. My hands feel that way when I’m using my keys to open my car door.
Kids are cheering as school is closed due to alarming, plummeting temperatures, reaching 25- to 35-below zero and wind chill values at 40- to 60-degrees-below zero. I can relate to their whooping joy. We all need a break from this cruel cold.
I need to remind myself why I live in Minnesota. I guess it’s so I can instill in my daughters my winter-weather advice. Dress in layers. Wear your coats, your hats and your mittens. And, not to forget, you naughty kittens, whatever you do, do NOT stick your tongues on cold metal poles.