Thursday, January 22, 2009

The Cold Days of Winter




January and February are my least favorite months of the year. One of my goals in retirement was to have enough money that I could move to warmer climes during this time of year. I also wanted to have an in ground pool. The pool I can do without. However, I haven’t given up on my goal of leaving the cold northern winters.

Two good friends of mine depart today for a cruise in the Caribbean. While that sounds romantic and luxurious, I don’t want to go through the hassle of taking a plane to the ship departure point in Florida. It would take me at least a week to recover from the stress of modern day travel. I haven’t taken a plane since 9/11 and I don’t intend to while taking off one’s shoes is a requirement to fly as a passenger in a plane.

Other friends and relatives have winter snug boxes in Florida. My cousin Jack and his wife are already ensconced in their North Port Myers Florida abode. Friends Sandy and Bob, Evie and Barb, and Jack and Judy are all enjoying the warm tropical nights of the Sunshine State. A very good friend of mine, Stuart, didn't take any chances of catching a winter chill. He lives in Ft. Lauderdale year round. But there is a price to pay. Stuart misses the change in seasons. He laments that he doesn’t see those colorful harbingers of Spring, the tulips

My winter stays in the north aren’t as bad as they were when I lived in Pennsylvania. In Pennsylvania, the first snow usually hit the ground around Thanksgiving. Throughout December and early January more snow would fall. Some year (like this year), one would also get the freezing rain. Freezing rain looks pretty on the trees and bushes but isn’t so good for the electric power. Nor is black ice good for traveling the winding roads of hilly Pennsylvania. The good thing about living on the coastal plain of southern Delaware is that when we do get snow it doesn’t last for more than a day. What we do get in abundance down here are the strong winds. At the end of the year we had wind gusts up to 50 mph. Those winds will cut right through you and make you wish you were sipping a pina colada on a sandy beach in Florida.

My solution is to stay in my house as much as I can. My house has a lot of windows which takes advantage of the passive solar heat. My bedroom is ideally located to capture the warmth of the daytime sun. Like my brother John who lives in Greenville, South Carolina who manages the heat and humidity of the southern summers by darting between his air-conditioned house, car and church (where he works.) I manage the cold by darting between my house, car and hotel (where I work.)

One good thing about living in southern Delaware that I take comfort in is that the winters don’t last as long as they did when I lived in Pennsylvania. Where I live now, spring arrives when it is supposed to arrive. In just a little over a month the first daffodils will push their way through the cold earth to be greeted with appreciative smiles from all of us who stuck it out this winter in Delaware. That day can't come soon enough. It's cold out there!

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