Things to do in N.W. Iowa when it’s -21 outside….

Today, the temp hovered around -1, with windchill to -21 and 25 mph winds. And here’s how we spent the day:

7 a.m.: wake up to walk the dogs before driving 45 minutes to Quaker meeting. Open back door and find excessive frost on the screen door:


Remember how painful it was to walk dogs 2 weeks ago, when wind chill was -16. Reflect that at least two Iowans have died of exposure this month, following one-car accidents. Avoid making eye-contact with dogs. Go back to bed.

9 a.m.: Get up a second time. Crank the heat up to 74 so the basement will be at least 64 when going down to shower. Shower. Dry hair, feed cats, feed bird, feed dogs. Do not say the word “walk.” Do not look at the back door. Do not make eye contact.

9:10 a.m.: If you’re a little green parrot, gobble down breakfast. You never go outside anyway, so what do you care?


10 a.m: In a fit of guilt, rearrange living room furniture so loveseat is under window and Violet can look outside.


10:30: If you’re Violet, look outside for half an hour and then go sleep on your pad in the bathroom. Do they think a comfy window seat will make you forget the complete absence of a walk?

11 a.m.: If you’re Ricky, mope because someone still hasn’t taken you for a walk.


11:15 a.m.: Go outside to prove it’s not too cold to take a walk. The sun is shining, even.


11:16 a.m.: Walk around outside. Stay in lee of garage because it really is freaking cold and windy outside.

11:20 a.m.: Come back inside. Mope some more — people control everything and could probably make the weather better if they wanted to. Everybody hates you and you hope they noticed that you did not touch your breakfast (but Violet gobbled it down after eating hers, so the drama of an untouched bowl is kind of lost).


Noon: Have lunch. Remove 4 of the licorice whips before taking the picture.


12:30 – 2:30 p.m.: Work on patchwork tote bag.


2:35 p.m.: Memorialize patchwork with digital camera. Realize two of the same patches are right next to one another. Decide not to care.


2:40 to 3:45 p.m.: Take nap on bed, with dogs. Even though they’ve been sleeping all day, they love nap time with their person. Must be some weird pack thing. Oh, and they expect a walk afterwards, as almost always happens. When getting up, don’t make eye contact.

4:00 p.m.: Check the weather. Wind chill has warmed up to -19.

4:15 p.m.: For no good reason, take picture of self with bird.


4:30 p.m.: Realize you’re bored and probably need a good walk. It’s still too cold outside.

4:45 p.m: Feed cats, bird, dogs.

4:50 -5:10 p.m.: Play indoor tennis ball chase with Ricky while simultaneously playing plush ball toss/catch with Violet. Raised heart rates and mild satisfaction ensue for all involved.

5:15 p.m.: Decide to make bean soup with cornmeal dumplings.

5:17 p.m.: Realize there aren’t enough canned beans.

5:18 p.m.: Or cornmeal.

5:20 p.m.: Make tomato soup and a toasted cheese sandwich.

5:21-5:23 p.m: Wonder why everyone in the world except for you and your immediate family calls it “grilled cheese” rather than “toasted cheese.”

5:25 p.m.: Settle down with dinner and season three of Buffy the Vampire Slayer.

6 p.m.: Realize you have reading responses to grade.

6:02 p.m.: Decide not to grade them. Ask self what’s the point of being the teacher if you can’t not grade stuff? Turn up T.V. and eat some more licorice.

9:00 p.m.: check temperature and wind chill. Both are the same, zero degrees. Resolve to walk dogs in morning before school.

9:10 p.m.: Write blog entry.

9:45 p.m.: Finish blog entry. Wonder if one or two licorice whips may have escaped your notice. Wander off in search of them.


8 responses »

  1. Once, even “circus” — referring to hamburger patties w/onions and gravy for some odd reason (or maybe he was just thinking there was a sucker born every minute). If only the writers of cookbooks would get half lit on Jim Beam when naming their creations the world would be a more interesting place.

  2. There’s clearly a disconnect between us two groups of siblings. Probably only Diane and I can remember an unnamed concoction mom often made: crisp, crumbled bacon, onion, green pepper, a whole lotta macaroni and a can of tomato juice, toast on the side. Rivers of potato soup, also with toast. Creamed beef (hamburger) on biscuits or toast. Pancake suppers. Creamed tuna, sliced hard-boiled eggs on toast. There was a whole toast cuisine thing going on back then. So, for us, it was a huge (and tasty) event when Dad first barbequed! When mom discovered spaghetti! Shrimp curry! Heuvos rancheros (sp?)! I can’t remember “cowboy” anything–except old movies dad loved to watch on TV. And that’s what you watched too–if you wanted to watch TV. There was no toast involved, however, as one was NOT allowed to eat in the living room.

  3. We got all the creamed stuff on toast too, plus hash on toast. And bacon-tomato and macaroni I remember countless lunches of, though no green pepper for us. It’s a miracle we don’t all weigh 500 pounds.

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