Sunday, December 21, 2008

Winter has officially started today.

Sunday December 21st, the start of winter, well that is what the calendar says anyway.

Here's my take on the whole Dec. 21 start of winter. GET ME THE HELL OUT OF HERE!!!!

My day started the typical way, 5:15 a.m. the dogs decided it was time for breakfast, so like the other six days of the week they (Hank and Clyde) thought it would be fun to beat Papa upside the head and push me out of the bed, knowing once my feet hit the floor there was little chance of me ever falling back asleep. Now I don't mind getting up early when it is Spring, Summer or Fall, but Winter really tries my patience like a screaming child at the food store checkout line.

It's dark, it's cold but at least it is quiet. I fill Hank's bowl and then Clyde's. Oh yeah, I forgot I have to get the cooked chicken out of the fridge so Hank will eat her dry food. That's right, once a week I boil off two huge chicken breast and cube them up so for that week the guys have a little something special in their chow. They're spoiled, but I don't mind. Now I have to sit at the kitchen table until Hank is done eating, just to make sure Clyde doesn't eat her food. I light up a smoke, flip on the television and wait for Hank to finish, it is usually a fifteen minute dining time for Hank. She is such a lady! Oh, the weather channel, okay let's see what kind of crap weather will will have for the glorious first day of winter. Yikes, -4 degrees with -35 wind chills. This is a joke right? Not only that, as I peer out the kitchen window the slight glow of the back door light illuminates the fresh six inches of snow we had overnight. Yep, more snow. I just got done cleaning the six inches of snow from Friday.

By this time the hounds are done eating an ready to go outside to do, well you know. I open the back door and the dogs look at me like I am nuts. After a bit of coaxing they go out into the wind blown nightmare of snow, ice and drifts that are as high as my thigh. Now usually they spend sometime exploring the backyard making sure no varmints have enter their land, but not today. Within 60 seconds both came barreling to the door pleading with me to let them in. Now living in WI you have a tendency to get use to the cold, but this is brutal. A wind gust caught the screen door and rushed into the entrance way of the house and nearly knocked me down. Wooowww, it is cold. I need to warm up already.

The gratitude from the hounds is overwhelming. Now that I have fed them there loyalty and thanks has been cast aside with the allure of a warm bed. Yep, they go back to bed to snuggle under the blankets and I am now wide awake peering out the window at what I know I eventually must do. Clear the snow.

Oh Lord give me strength.

Now I don't mind cleaning the snow once and a while, I actually like in a weird way. There is something rewarding in making sure the sidewalks and driveway is clear so my wife has a clean walk path to the house and the foolish people that actually walk in this weather have a clean sidewalk to enjoy their stroll through this winter hell.

It is time to have a bit a breakfast and relax before I get bundled up to face mother natures wrath. One of my small pleasures in life is the morning time. I have my cup of earl grey tea and a couple of waffles. That is my breakfast most days, along with a banana and a rice pudding cup. Yes Clyde comes out of bed to make sure he get banana and he also gets to clean the pudding cup. Pathetic, you bet, but the joy he brings my wife and I is worth more then anything on this earth.

Here we go, long under wear is on, winter boots, heavy duty socks, two shirts, fleece, winter jacket, wool hat, pair of gloves and mittens to go over the gloves. I emerge from the warmth and safety of the house into some strange alien land. The wind is fierce and the snow blowing off the roofs is blasting the skin right off my face. This isn't that bad I think to myself, but by the time I get the snowblower out of the garage and started my fingers are already tingling from the bitter cold.

Whew who, the snowblower starts right up and I'm off. First pass down the driveway and then the wind catches the snow coming forth from the blower chute. Yep, right back into my face. Well this is nice. After only ten minutes my thumbs are numb and my face is on fire. I forgot to put the hand warmers in my mittens, arrgghhhh. I got the sidewalk and the driveway apron done and I then decided I need to get the hand warmers out of the basement. I really can't feel my thumbs anymore.

I enter the house and realize how fortunate I am to have a furnace. You betcha, heat is nice. Blessed from God again with everything I need to get through another day. As bad as things are, as far as the weather goes, we truly are fortunate to have warmth, food, each other and yes in door plumbing. How did people a hundred years ago deal with outhouses.

I get the hand warmers and proceed back outside. For some reason it doesn't feel as bad as earlier. Maybe I am just completely numb at this point. I finished the driveway with the help of my beautiful wife (she cleaned off the cars and shoveled the front steps, bless her heart) and then the plow comes through. Frickin', frack'n, crap-o-la. Sure I can curse them now, but tomorrow when I adventure out to drive the 30 miles to work I will be thanking those plow drivers. Well, I get the snow cleared and I even shovel a series of path all throughout the backyard to make it easier on the hounds to find a good spot to pee and poop. That's enough. Back inside I go not to emerge for the rest of the day.

I think I have frostbite, I'm serious. My thumbs are white on the ends and I really can't feel them. Oh well, they will warm up.

So that was my start to the first day of winter. We have a long way to go to Spring, but hopefully the weather will ease up a bit, and time will pass quickly. The next thing I now I will be posting an entry here about all the snow melt and flooding from the warm Spring weather.

All things will pass, and the season will always change, that we can count on. So as I sit back and think of the cold winter nights ahead, I realize that we should never wish time away, even during the hellish months of winter. Each day brings an opportunity to help others, and love our families and friends. Another chance to find our true purpose for our being, and for me that is understanding the reason God has place where I am am today. I do not fully understand Gods plan for my life but I know I will trust in him for he has never failed me. I have only failed myself.

So turn up the heat a notch, put on a sweater and snuggle with the hounds. Tomorrow might be a bit better or it could be worse, but I'll take what I am given, and I will always give thanks.

My God bless you and your families and provide for and keep you all safe.

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