I made this discovery only because we are experiencing some feisty weather around here this winter. A couple of days ago it was -14 degrees Farenheit here. That little dash is not a typo, it’s a minus; that is fourteen degrees below zero that you are reading, While I know other parts of the country can boast of even greater plunges, this is certainly impressive enough for me. There is “below freezing”, which is one thing, and then “below zero”, which conjures up a whole new set of images. While it’s been valid to miss a day or so of work due to dangerous, snowy road conditions, sub-zero weather is not an excuse (unless your heat goes out or your pipes burst or your car battery is dead and you have to deal with it).
My car is parked in the barn/garage combo in the back of the house. It’s not attached to the house, which means you have to carefully shuffle about 60 feet across a frozen expanse of paved area which is covered with ridges of ice to get to it. While it’s not the most ideal condition, it’s still not so bad. I am ever so grateful that I even have a sheltered place to park my car and that the Signifcant Other has cleared out a space amongst all his Stuff for me so that I don’t have to scrape ice or dig out before leaving for work. Winter dwellers know that scraping and digging prior to the morning commute can really put a dent in the routine. I don’t have one of those remote starters, so I walk across the frozen tundra to get to the car to warm it up. Normally, by the time I get there, I am already miserably cold and it’s kind of a bummer before even starting the day. I don’t know about anyone else, but I can honestly say that this disturbs my chi a little bit. That was, until I discovered the one redeeming feature of The Hot Flash.
The pesky middle-aged phenomenon. Some get them and some don’t. Some people get them briefly and only occasionally, and some have them for a very, very long time and frequently. I fall into the last unlucky catagory; the one at the very top of the hot flash hierarchy chart, the one with the flaming “Hot Flash Hell” label on it. I deal with it (or don’t) as best as I can, incorporating it into everything else that “just happens” to me, and it has been a way of life for quite a while now. I will admit they can be a major nuisance, and sometimes very embarrassing (see Tomato Face), so it is with delight that I am able to share the one good use I have found for the hot flash (so far), at least for those of you who have them and live in the colder locales.
When it is time to go out into the cold and start up the car, you don’t leave the house until you feel a Hot Flash about to come on. You wait for the flash. Position yourself at the door and get ready. When it begins, that’s when you walk out the door. Now here comes the incredible part………….. I walked out into the sub-zero degrees the other day in only a sweater (no hat, no gloves, no scarf, no coat!) made it to the car, got into the freezing cold car, started the car with the fan blowers on high and blasting frigid cold air all over me (because I forgot to turn the blower off when I shut off the car the day before), backed up the car near the house so I wouldn’t have to traverse the tundra a second time, and walked back into the house – all in the course of one Hot Flash! I didn’t rush either, I actually strolled. I was totally comfortable. It felt terrific. It was like a walk on a spring day (except everything was white and steam was rising off my body). Just in a sweater. In sub-zero weather. Is this amazing or what? Well, I was impressed.
But there is a flip side to the hot flash. After the hot-flash has finished, it is as if all your heat has blasted out of your body, leaving you with a frozen, cold shell. You feel even colder than you would be normally. Way colder. Ice cold. At that point, you bundle up. And then get into your now warm car. Works for me!
During the drive I had yet another cheap thrill. The thermometer on the dashboard registers the last temperature it was at the time you turned the car off. When I got in the car, it was reading a whopping 11 degrees from the day before. As I got rolling, it started to drop one degree at a time, until about twenty minutes into the drive it hovered around zero and just hung there for a minute (as if in shock, almost as if it couldn’t bear it) before plunging into the minuses. I had to keep checking until that happened. I couldn’t look away. That’s two cheap thrills for one morning.
I am making lemonade out of my lemons here, in case anyone hasn’t noticed…