It fascinates me how some people can function so well in freezing cold weather. I am not one of those people. I HATE the cold, but, being a good Canadian, I have learned to cope with it. I have a ridiculous amount of warm weather clothing and there are times when I wear it all at once just to get the mail. I have mastered creating the perfect Hot Chocolate as a warm up technique and I keep two wheat bags (the magic bags you heat in the microwave) on hand at all times. Now that I live in the city, I have discovered that the cold is possible to avoid most of the time. I park in an attached garage, I can have food ordered to my front door and I can throw a ball around my livingroom for my dog if it is too cold to go outside and walk.
But, I went to mom's for the weekend, and cold on the farm is not as easy to ignore! The garage is is too full of stuff to park vehicals in and it is not attached anyway. Food delivered to the country doorstep is not an option and there are animals with needs that can't be met in a livingroom. I always pack my full array of winter gear when I head to mom's because I know I will have no choice but to face the cold at some point during the visit. Mom, she is one of those people that can work out in cold weather for a long time without whining or complaining. She matter of factly dresses up in her winter overalls, her puffy winter jacket, her boots, her mitts and her tuque and she heads outside to tackle the unpredictable winter chores that await her. She doesn't make a point of going through the routine at high speed (like I would do to get out of the weather faster,) nope, she methodically completes every task with a precision and attention to detail that drives the freezing child inside of me nuts! She even takes off her mitts and cuts twine, rubs each horses face and examines them for injuries. She carries bucket after bucket to the barn to offer each animal water and she takes time to snuggle with the kitties. She checks the big water tank everytime she goes outside and when it requires it, she smashes the ice with the sledge hammer that she keeps in the garage, not the barn where it is closer, but the garage. She doesn't seem to mind walking all the way back there to get it in the freezing cold. She drags out lengths and lengths of hose to fill the tank when it is empty. While it fills, she finds other outside jobs to tinker away at. I on the other hand, start coming up with excuses to head inside; gotta pee, need to get the cats a treat, need to "check" on something, I usually end up running out of "warm up" excuses before the outside chores are done. Mom always ends up taking pity on me, sending me into the house early. I don't get it, how does she do it? How does she stay out there so long? What does she have that makes her so tough and why do I lack it??? I used to have it, but I've gotten soft!
My jetta has also gotten soft! I bought the car new in 2005 and for some reason, it did not come with a block heater. Upon discovering the cost of getting a block heater installed, I opted to go without. Over the last 3 years, this car has never given me trouble in cold weather. Infact I used to take great pride in the fact that it would always fire right up despite not ever being plugged in. This weekend though, the old jetta reminded me how "soft" we've both gotten since moving to the big city. She refused to "fire right up" when I went to move her from where I had parked her in mom's driveway. She whirred and whized and spat, but refused to "turn over!" I was stumped! never before had I encountered this problem with my car, diesel or not! Mom's friend, Dennis was adamant that the engine was frozen and diesels cannot start when the engine is cold. Dennis, bless his heart, left his own warm living room Sunday morning to come rescue me and my jetta from the driveway. He hopped out of his pickup truck wearing cowboy boots, a tuque and a winter coat. No overalls, no scarf and no gloves! He carried in his bare hands, two small heaters and a special heat blanket. Upon his arrival, I took 10 minutes to "gear up" pulling on the Carhart overalls, Troy had left at mom's, my huge winter boots, a neck warmer, my tuque and my ski mitts. I walked the two feet from the front door to the car and watched Dennis tackle the frozen jetta in his bare hands. I watched in awe as he knelt on the snowy ground in his jeans, put his bare hand on the snow and leaned under the car, sliding the heater into just the right spot. I wiggled my fingers inside my mitts while he wrestled with the stiff extension cords, trying to make them work. I shifted from cold foot to cold foot while he searched the garage for a battery charger and showed me how to hook it up. Dennis worked efficiently and patiently with mom and I, never once cussing us or the cold weather! He didn't even want to come in for hot chocolate. He bid us adieu and headed for home, I bet he didn't even turn on his seat heater for his ride home.
Still, to this minute as I snuggle with Scout on my couch, furnace cranked up, wheat bags draped over each foot, I wonder how Mom and Dennis do that every day, take on the cold like that?! I bow down, to them both and to everyone else who can slap a smile on their face and do what they gotta do in sub zero temperatures! Cheers to you!