In the dark, looking at the bedside clock through the smallest slits possible, I exclaim, “Crap. Only 3AM.” I’d actually gone to bed a little early, but hoped to sleep to my usual wake up time at 4. Unfortunately, from long experience I knew I would not be able to go back to sleep no matter how long I stayed in bed – mostly because my back is too painful then. Time to get up.
Sliding out of bed in a practiced move to get into the slippers before my feet hit the floor, I then stagger to the bathroom. XXXXXX Following usual habit patterns, I manage to wash my hands, turn off the little heater and the light, and stagger back out to the bedroom. The sciatica pain in my right leg makes the long, slow crawl up the staircase into the first challenge of the day, but I eventually get there.
The dog reached the top of the stairs before my feet found the slippers, of course, and is waiting not so patiently by the front door. Opening that door can be a challenge in sub-zero weather, as the storm door latch tends to freeze solid. I struggle with it and finally let the dog out, shutting the door as fast as I can against the waves of cold.
Kitchen light on, power button on the coffee maker pushed, and I begin my rounds to check the thermometers and heaters in various places. I do not have any central heat or cooling, and manage with the oil filled radiator heaters in strategic places, one to a room except for the main part of the upstairs; kitchen, dining and living room one continuous space. That has two, plus the airtight wood stove. I don’t build a fire unless it is extremely cold or the electric goes out. Electric is far less expensive than stove wood. Anyway, temp in the main room is 54, about where it should be. With two heaters on high, it will be more comfortable once I get ready to make breakfast.
The temp outside, according to my mini weather station sensor, is -4 degrees. Better than the -10 predicted, but that’s small comfort when I discover I’d forgotten to put the heater on in my office last night. Temp there this morning is a cozy 49, and it will take at least an hour to bring it up to my usual comfort level of 60. So, I slog downstairs and put on another layer of warm clothing, and a pair of thick wool socks to go with my slippers. No big deal, of course, it happens. Hasn’t killed me yet, though I have to admit I feel the cold more now that I’m 70 years old than I ever used to..
But I’m tickled to death to get that first sip of hot coffee. And the next two or three… Caffeine is NOT optional in my life, especially on winter mornings. Coffee is one thing I never allow to run out, and one of my fears of the “new world order” is being unable to get it. We all have our priorities. 🙂 Doesn’t prevent me from being concerned about all the other evil, of course.
The temp in the upstairs bathroom, my orchid conservatory, is good. The humidity level is not, however, so I know I must do a thorough watering in there later. There is ice on the inside of the windows, and I consider what more I can do to preserve the heat. I have heavy cardboard sheets against all the double pane glass in the house already, covered by thermal drapes, but the cold air is still coming in. Thank goodness for low electric rates with the co-op.
Booting the computer, I settle down to read my email and stuff. I administer two forums, and help with a number of blogs in addition to working on my own. I’m an editor and proof reader, and always have something like that on the fire. I also write, and am working on a few freedom teaching stories for young people at the moment. I always have plenty to do.
Returning to the kitchen for a second cup of coffee, I consider the options for breakfast and wind up with a slice of toast to go with the coffee. Just no appetite at 4 AM. Maybe later. But I do give some thought to lunch, since I find I have no leftovers… or at least any I’d trust to actually eat. Need to clean out the refrigerator. I take a package of hamburger out of the freezer immediately, and put it on the counter to thaw. Otherwise, I’d probably not think of it until noon. That happens, and I’m grateful for the microwave, of course.
So, I’ve lined up two housekeeping chores for the day already, and write them down on my “to do” list.
6:22 AM, first light. I always watch the sunrise. In the summer I take my second cup of coffee and sit in the front yard, watching the animals and waving at the few early birds going past. At -4 degrees, I’m happy to watch from the window in the front door. Today there are lots of clouds and it looks as if it may snow some more. The light on the snow all around reveals a vast bed of blue diamonds.
By 7AM, the light has grown so I can see the deer tracks crossing back and forth over the yard. The pine trees are covered with tufts of snow, and the flower beds are mostly buried in it. The dead stalks of some Zinnias poke out of one. Plans and hopes for the spring garden are already circulating in my mind, and I resolve to get out the graph paper and start to organize those plans today, or soon, or whenever the inspiration hits me again. I’m getting cold by the door and so return to the warm office with my third cup of coffee.
8 AM, and there’s enough light to make it worth opening the drapes and taking down the cardboard. Still cloudy and gray, but no new snow predicted today. Maybe I can get to town tomorrow. I need to buy milk so I can make yogurt. And I need to make a trip to the library while I can. Was snowed in all of Christmas.
The weekly shooting clinic I put on has gone dark for the rest of the winter. I’m the only one who will make the attempt to get to the range when it is cold, but even I can’t get there if it snows much since nobody plows that road. Oh well, a little more dry fire practice this evening will be good. Maybe I’ll put the laser red dot on my carry gun and practice drawing, point and shoot. Yeah, that sounds good.
And so it goes. New Years Day is little different than any other winter day here. My “year” starts with the first frost free day and ends with the first hard frost of each seasonal cycle, whenever they occur. But I play along with the rest of the world on the date and time thing, usually. Much too much inertia to fight it and there’s the scheduling thing with clients. 🙂
What is significant about January 1 in your life? What do you “celebrate?” And why?