Sunday, February 9, 2014

This Is Only A Test

Like the majority of the country, we've had our fair share of harsh weather here in Montana this winter. In fact, this week we had another spell of sub-zero temperatures more extreme than the last time, but fortunately they didn't stick around as long. Wednesday night brought us our lowest temperatures yet this season at -32 (and that was without the windchill factor!). My car wouldn't start for two days and neither of our vehicles would start Thursday morning. I'll admit I'm a home body but there's a certain point where not being able to leave the house starts to drive me a little batty! I was finally able to get out and run some errands Friday afternoon and I was thrilled! But with the cold, the wind and snowy road conditions, I was happy to get back home after a couple hours! Once the sun goes down, the temperatures drop quickly and by 7pm it was -15 and I was on my couch wrapped in my Snuggie with a glass of whiskey watching The Walking Dead.

The cold gray days, coupled with my inability to leave the house had me in a funk most of the week. I felt low and irritable. I skipped roller derby practice and started an argument with my boyfriend over the laundry. All of that is out of character for me. I was generally grumpy and I wallowed in it. Then, I started noticing all the FaceBook posts from my friends in the North East who were without power due to the ice storm. I also had a couple friends in Montana who had to deal with a broken furnace during our cold spell. For as much as people complain about FaceBook, it can really serve a purpose at times. It was kinda the slap in the face that I needed to see straight again. Even when I'm out of sorts, there's so much to be grateful for.

Thankfully the temperatures have gone up over the weekend, and with that came a whole lot of snow. I'm sure glad shoveling is good exercise! Today was finally sunny and clear with a crisp temperature of 18 degrees above zero. That was cause for celebration! This afternoon was beautiful and I was finally able to get outside with the dogs. We got about 8-10 inches of light fluffy snow this weekend, on top of what was already out there. I shuffled around the back yard, knee deep in the white stuff, while my boyfriend put in some time on his cross country skis.

This was the first time my puppy has experienced this much snow. It was pretty fun to watch! He took one pounce into snow that was higher than his shoulders and he seemed to realize that wasn't much fun. I shoveled him some paths and he stuck to them, happily biting at the snow and barking at the other dog who is big enough to handle the deeper parts of the yard. A couple months ago, I thought it was a bad idea to have gotten a puppy right before winter. It has definitely made housebreaking challenging when it's well below zero. But over the last couple weeks, I've realized it was probably better this way. He's been growing up during a harsh winter and it's made him tougher than I expected. He doesn't know any different so he asks to go out even in the worst conditions. My older dog however, he seems to know that winter doesn't last forever and he's quite content to wait it out on the couch!

Tinsley's first big snow

Our backyard fire pit & benches
People often ask me how I can live in a place with such extreme winter conditions. It definitely took some getting used to. I've lived in other parts of the country, places where two inches of snow shut down a city for a day. There's no such thing as a snow day here. Ever. It's not always easy but it keeps me balanced. When I start getting tired of winter, I remind myself how eager we always are for it to arrive, particularly at the end of an especially bad fire season. The Gallatin Valley is spectacular, even when it's dangerously cold outside. When I'm stuck inside I try to make the most of it by reading, writing, baking or binge watching shows on NetFlix! 

It's easy for me slip into that pattern of thinking "Oh, things will be better when ____________" or "I'll feel better once I __________". I get crabby and blame the weather or my car or any number of external factors, but really this is just The Universe testing me. When I'm forced to stay at home and really sit with myself, when I do a lot of writing and thinking, I can see that the only one who has the power to change things for me is me. It's a tough thing to admit. I basically had to look at myself in the mirror and say "Stop being a sad bitch. It doesn't serve you." Then I took a long hot shower, with some Dave Matthews Band blaring in the bathroom and I felt better. I'm trying to not be hard on myself. So I had a couple rough days, big deal. I've recovered from having a couple rough years before so this is nothing! This is where having a gratitude practice has become so important to me. I have a supportive partner, friends who let me vent and make me laugh, dogs who keep me company, books to read, people who read what I write, teammates who challenge me to grow. That's a lot of cool stuff. So what if my car won't start?!

1 comment:

  1. good take on that winter funk & the turn around :-) I will now stop griping about our cold in New England (but seriously we've seen more zero than usual) dog paws are one of the indicators, when they can't stand to be on the snow long, it's cold - when the porch creaks when you step on it, it's cold - won't be long now, days are longer, spring IS coming!!