Saturday, February 9, 2008

Late Winter is Like Having a Baby

When you live in the great frozen midwest, February begins that time of the year when you just don't want to do it anymore - "it" being winter. It's kind of like when you're having a baby and you're in your tenth hour of labor. You've had enough and you just want to get it over with. You know the end will come and you'll have your baby as a reward that makes any unpleasantness worth it. But for now, labor and winter just plain stink.

There are the gray skies for days on end. There are the days with above normal temperatures that get your hopes up that maybe you'll have an early spring, only to have those hopes dashed by an Arctic cold front reaching out to you with its icy fingers. And even on the "normal" days hovering around freezing, Old Mother West Wind blows in and sends a permanent shiver down your spine.

I've said for years that I could hibernate. It's extremely difficult for me to leave the house during winter. Of course, I can't stay in - there's work and doctor's appointments and church and darn, I even have to walk the 100 feet from the front door to the mailbox to retrieve the mail. And 100 feet back.

You expect winter when you live here. It's a fact of life that I know all too well, because I've lived my entire life within a 30-mile radius of where I was born. I've visited some warm climates and dream of what it must be like to live there. Florida is nice, especially in winter. It even smells good, with all the tropical flowers in bloom and the breezes blowing in from the gulf. Ecuador is even nicer, with their every-day-is-spring climate in the Andes.

So why don't we move?

There are a lot of reasons why we stay. Probably the number one reason is familiarity. It's what we know and it's in our comfort zone, climate excepted. Right up there at the top is the fact that our family is here and we like living close to them. And then there are the jobs. Once you find a job and have been there for many years, with salary increases and benefits, it's difficult to take the chances involved with walking away from that. So we stay.

Just moving from our house itself doesn't appeal a whole lot to me. We bought it when we'd been married just two years and the house was as many years old. We've made improvements inside and out and it only faintly resembles the house we bought so many years ago. The property has changed a lot too, with the addition of the swimming pool, the pool house that doubles as a garden shed, and all the gardens. Many trees, shrubs, and flowers have been planted that have stories and sentimental value attached to them. All of this would make it very hard to leave and turn it over to strangers.

So we trudge along through February and March, groaning all the while through their laggard, sluggish days, pressing ever onward like the good northern soldiers we are. When spring finally makes her grand entrance amid the cheery, colorful blooms of daffodils, tulips, and hyacinths, spring fever erupts in all its delirious glory and life is good again.

And that's about all I'm going to allow myself to even think about spring because it's just too darn far away yet. The anticipation gets to be too much to handle. In the meantime, the sun is shining today as if it's trying to make up for the single-digit temperatures that arrive later tonight.

Yep. Still winter out there.



Meg said...

You guys need to invest in a greenhouse to stave off the winter growing slump! Any room left in the yard for that?

Gina said...

Hey Kylee! I'm just catching up on all my blog reading. I love the new blog remodel! I'm inspired to do some redecorating myself.

Mr. McGregor's Daughter said...

I like your analogy, but for me it's like being 8 1/2 months pregnant - you're sick of it, you know it isn't much longer, you can't make it end any sooner, so you just have to get through it. You should check out my post "How Can You Live There?" as my reasons for living in Chicagoland probably are applicable to you in Ohio (it might make you feel better - no Hurricanes!).

Lisa at Greenbow said...

Hang in there Kylee. If global warming is really happening maybe you will have warmer winters in the near future. In the mean time you can jump around and read all the garden blogs. Especially the ones in the south. They have all that color that is so lacking in our landscape right now.

Lisa at Greenbow said...

P.S. I have wondered what cities were on your sign. I hadn't seen it up close before. I am rather new to blogging so I am pleased to finally see it up close after seeing it in the distance in pictures.

Maybe you should add your favorite vacation spot that is warm to your sign. :)

Muum said...

I am fed up with winter, I am trying to get some inside projects done, but am moving pretty slow in getting anything done. Today we did have a visit in our backyard by a moose!!! which was a crazy surprise, but I do wish winter was much shorter.

Sherry at the Zoo said...

I love the analogy of childbirth and waiting for spring. That is exactly what I am feeling these days. I don't even want to go outside because it is just so icky out, and why bother? If anything is peaking it's little head out of the ground, it will be dead in a few day's time when the thermometer plummets - AGAIN!

Carol Michel said...

You are right, it is a bit early to start seriously thinking about spring, what with those single digit temps making an appearance tonight. I've lived my whole life in this climate, too, so I am used to it. But reading all the blogs of gardeners south of us makes us want spring to hurry up!

Carol, May Dreams Gardens

Anonymous said...

I feel your pain, Kylee. This is EXACTLY how I feel in August, when the Texas summer has beaten me down, and yet I know that I still have two more months to get through before fall.

Hang in there! Spring is coming.

Anonymous said...

That's great! Like being pregnant...I hadn't thought of it that way, but your right. I wonder if we would appreciate getting our hands back into the soil, if we didn't have the long winter of anticipation??

Kylee Baumle said...

Meg ~ I KNOW! But there's no room in the budget for that. :-( I have also had an alternate idea. That formal dining room that we never use would make a good sun room if we added a few more windows. No room in the budget for that either, I'm afraid.

Gina ~ Hey! Thanks! I finally got brave enough to do it. Glad you like it!
I am SO behind in blog reading! It's been a hit or miss situation for a few weeks now. I'll get caught up one of these days!

Mr. McGregor's Daughter ~ Oh I for sure will pop over and get caught up on your blog. As I told Gina, I'm so very behind in reading and even further behind in commenting. See you over there soon!
Yeah, 8 1/2 months pregnant, the nth hour of labor - pretty much that same feeling. Although I loved every second of being pregnant. I do NOT love every second of winter. LOL.

Lisa ~ Well, even though the weather has been somewhat odd in recent years, I don't know that it's all due to global warming. I think that's happening at a much slower rate than we would notice as much as we are experiencing now. A few years ago, they explained the events by blaming El Nina. I believe we're having global warming, for sure, but I don't think it's barreling down on us that quickly. Maybe that's just wishful thinking on my part though, too, I don't know.
I'll be fine till spring really gets here, but it does help to whine about it a little bit. ;-)
As far as the sign goes, it has all the cities and towns where our immediate families live. Quito is on there because we have an exchange student daughter from there. She lived with us in 1993-94. And that is a marvelous place to vacation. As I said, the climate is nearly perfect. If you want it hotter, just drive a couple of hours to the Pacific coast.

Muum ~ A MOOSE! Whoa! I'll bet you blogged about it. I'll head over and see.
I know exactly how you feel about not getting stuff done. I have a million things started and nothing finished. I just can't seem to stay with anything.

Sherry ~ Yeah, this time of year is rather rough on the gardens, isn't it? But it's been like this for years and things survive. Well, most of them anyway. I think the crocus and snowdrops will weather through all this just fine. Tulips? They might be stunted a bit, but unless it's prolonged, I think they'll be okay, too. We hope so anyway! :-)

Carol ~ Yeah, I get really impatient this time of year. Not just because I'm now a gardener; I've always been this way about late winter. Now that I AM a gardener, that just makes things worse! I want to be in the garden, digging in the dirt!

Pam ~ I can imagine it's like that for you in summer! I visited my cousin in Port Arthur one summer and oh my goodness! The heat and humidity there was just awful. We went to get ice cream and we HAD to stay inside to eat it because it melted so fast the second we stepped outside with it. Every place has its disadvantages, doesn't it?

vonlafin ~ No, we probably wouldn't appreciate the wonderfulness of spring without the bleakness of winter. I suppose the balance is nice in a lot of ways. Just don't make me think of those ways in February and March!

Annie in Austin said...

That is a pretty funny analogy, Kylee - makes me think of how annoying it is to be near-or-past-term, with people calling up then saying "are you still there??" when they hear your voice... just as you keep hearing 'it snowed AGAIN!' from gardeners in other places.

Some people who moved to warmer places probably did it for the warmer weather but others of us found that as jobs moved South, so must we.

Echoing Pam... hang in there!

Annie at the Transplantable Rose

Nancy J. Bond said...

We've certainly had our share of grey days here, as well. But I saw the yellow-green tips of crocuses in my mother's flowerbed yesterday, and that is reason to hope that spring is not too far away. :)

Shady Gardener said...

Ah, I'd miss all the seasons if I moved. I SO appreciate Spring when Winter leaves, that I'm nearly giddy when I see new growth. I think I'm "in love" when the various combinations of plants begin to bloom and we move into Summer. I adore the beautiful Fall colors and the movement through the season and Winter's newly falling snow takes my breath away. Yes, there are those times... but, I get "those times" when I'm in the middle of a slow-going project, etc. Besides, there are so many lovely indoor things to do (not including cleaning, which I should address)... i.e., quilting, painting, drawing, book-making, journaling, reading, etc., etc. And one Winter is not enough time! :-)

Cindy Garber Iverson said...

Oh Kylee, I really feel for you because I was the same way whenever I've lived somewhere that had snow. It isn't fun! It would be so nice to be a bear sometimes, wouldn't it? And I know what you mean about not being able to leave where your roots are established. I was contemplating the same thing last week about our locale and then realized there was no way I could leave all the bits and pieces of myself that have gone into this home. Too hard. So I hope that my reaching across the miles and giving you a sunny No. California cyber-hug helps! I wish the internet had "smell-ivision" so I could share the smells of the spring flowers too.

Cindy at Rosehaven Cottage

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