Have you noticed how therapeutic it is to place an exclamation point after a word? Its true. The simple placement of a vertical line, hovering above a wee little dot magically makes any word cause for celebration. Using all caps helps too, as long as the reader recognizes they aren’t being scolded.
Not convinced? I’ll prove it. DUSTING FURNITURE! SORTING SOCKS! GRADING PAPERS! SEE? I mean, “See?” Wow, my twitter box just lit up. Apparently my readers feel I selected softball illustrations to insure a favorable result. I’ll dial it up a bit. INFLUENZA! CLEARING GUTTERS! CLEANING UP DOG POOP, THAT’S NOT SOLID, BY HAND!!! BRUSSEL SPROUTS!!!!!!!! Some times multiple exclamation points are required due to the severity of the application.
This technique works great with weather too. SNOW SQUALLS! WHITE OUT! SUB ZERO TEMPS! It also works great for the effects of such conditions. SCRAPING ICE FROM THE WINDSHIELD! WATCHING ICE DAMS FORM ON YOUR ROOF! FINISHING THE SHOVELING OF YOUR LENGTHY DRIVE WAY JUST IN TIME TO START AGAIN! REALIZING YOUR FEET HAVEN’T TRULY BEEN WARM FOR OVER A WEEK, AND YOU’RE AFRAID TO LOOK AT YOUR FEET IN FEAR OF FINDING YOU MIGHT HAVE LOST A TOE OR TWO IN THE ENDS OF YOUR SOCKS!
Born in New York, and then living in Michigan and Wisconsin, I’ve learned to embrace, no appreciate,.... let’s just say tolerate winter.
As a child, winter meant snow. Sometimes lots of it. It was great for building forts, making snow men, and for writing your name in it when going indoors with all your survival gear on wasn’t practical.
In Jr. and Sr. High School it meant the extreme unlikelihood, yet worth praying for, event of a SNOW DAY! I even allowed myself to enjoy SNOW DAYS during my years of teaching.
As a home owner winter brings its own reward. Freezing temps and mountains of snow can lead to slippery walks if not kept after, bursting pipes if not insulated, and a leaky roof if ice backs up under your shingles. All good, clean fun.
Without even needing a calendar to guide me, I instinctively begin asking myself this one question every year, soon after the Christmas tree is returned to its storage box. You know, the carton it fit perfectly in when it was purchased, but now only houses half of the segments, and even then is coming apart in 3 of the 4 corners. Yes, that box. I mean THAT BOX! Oh yeah, the question I ask is this, “Why do I live in a northern state?” Naturally, I answer myself. I’m not a rude person. “BECAUSE WINTER IS AWESOME! By mid January its, “BECAUSE WINTER IS AWESOME!!! Once the Super Bowl has been played and there’s no longer a reason to live, I pull out the big guns, “BECAUSE WINTER IS AWESOME!!!!!!!!!!!
Now its February. The original calendar makers must have been caring people, with great foresight. Knowing this month (even with a delightful holiday smack dab in the middle of it, where men have the privilege of purchasing never satisfactory cards and gifts for their sweethearts) will be an unpopular month, they made it the only sub 30 day month of the year. That was thoughtful, yet ineffective, as it still feels like a 60 day month. Much in the way a 28 degree afternoon can “feel like” single digits.
I tend to treat February like a piece of dry liver, that I’m expected to consume, before I’m allowed to “go out and play.” No, I don’t take “February” and feed it to my dog when my mom isn’t looking. Actually, I tried it, but my dog took a small whiff of the month and declined. No, I take February and divide it into more manageable bites. Since the NFL has kindly, and possibly for financial motives, moved the Super Bowl to the first Sunday in February, the first week of the month is an easy bite. The Monday following (which should be a national holiday) is where the work begins.
If the Super Bowl falls several days into the month, almost one quarter of February will have already expired, leaving approximately 3 weeks, or 7 weeks using February math.
The first week is a week of mourning. This is the first week of a 24 week span, where not even an exhibition NFL game is played. I find this week the easiest to endure, as my mind and body are numb, and not from the cold. I wander through the week with all of my senses in lock down. Dark chocolate and Mountain Dew are flavorless during this week, though I still consume them. Nachos, cheese, crackers and summer sausage only serve as reminders to what is no more. Eventually, the worst Sunday of the year (the one following Super Bowl Sunday) is over and so is approximately half of February.
Week 3 is spent trying to reclaim the driveway, sidewalks and roof. Its also a week of catching up on basic hygiene, watering plants in hopes they can be revived, recycling the newspapers you didn’t have the heart to read, and if you still have the energy, you might head to the mailbox. It’s not a pretty week.
Week 4, though it will seem like 23 days, is greatly anticipated. During this week I allow myself to glance at a calendar. “I can do this,” I mutter. I see the light at the end of the still lengthy tunnel, and its beautiful. When I was a school teacher, this Monday always included a mandatory staff meeting. Its like a staff infection, but less enjoyable. By the time I’d arrive home for the evening, I felt the world owed me an enormous “THANK YOU!!!” just for making it through the day.
I won’t bore you with the boring details of the boredom that engulfs me the remainder of this borefilled week, because by now I’ve probably depressed the handful of readers still with me. WAKE UP! ITS WINTER! SPRING IS JUST AROUND THE CORNER- YOU JUST CAN’T SEE IT BECAUSE THERE’S A MOUNTAIN OF SNOW BLOCKING YOUR VIEW!!!
Fast forward to March 1. Just saying “March” makes me feel warmer. Until, of course, the day arrives and you realize winter doesn’t know its free to leave. Often times, it doesn’t even take the hint on APRIL 1, no foolin’.
So, getting back to my annual question of why I live in a northern state. Its quite simple, and not very profound, but goes a little like this. Spring does not sparkle, if not earned. What value would there be in seeing a daffodil, if you just dragged the final load of leaves to the curb? Daffodils are best viewed when a patch of snow is in your periphery.
So there you have it. Please don’t be upset at me for taking so long to get to the point. Instead, thank me for getting you closer to the end of winter!