How Cold Is It?

* It was so cold, the politicians had their hands in their own pockets. 

It was so cold in Beverly Hills even folks without Botox couldn’t move their faces.  

“It’s coooold!” complained my wife, as she burrowed under a blanket. I admit, there was a light chill in the air as we sat at rest in the living room, watching the latest Christmas movies on the tube. But relatively speaking, how cold was it?

It was a day in Portland when winter made itself known with more than the usual emphasis. Snow had been falling off and on all morning and afternoon, accompanied by whistling winds pushing the trees hither and yon. In the evening the snow turned to freezing rain, building a crunchy crust atop the snow, entombing branches and plants in a layer of ice.

But in the living room, the thermostat was set to 68°F (20°C). If it were a spring day outside that would be considered balmy. We’d be wearing t-shirts, daring to reveal winter bleached legs while breaking out the shorts. What’s the difference? Was it more than just cold air pooling around our feet on a winter night?

In defense of my wife, she was not bred for the cold. Born and raised in the Philippines, a tropical place where the notion of snow shares fabled ground with Santa Claus, folks are more conditioned for hot weather than cold. Even swimming; I remember scuba diving in a lagoon there where the local dive master wore both a full wetsuit and a shorty because the lagoon water was a mere 80°F (27°C) instead of the usual 83°F (28°C). I wore a wetsuit too, unzipped because I was overheating in what I thought was bathtub warm water.

I could claim to be inured to the cold.  After all, I did much of my growing up in Minnesota, a land where the depths of winter can drop to -30°F  (-34°C). And that’s not even counting the wind chill. Don’t know what a wind chill is? Consider yourself lucky.

It was so cold the optician was giving away free ice scrapers with every new pair of eyeglasses.

It was so cold when we milked the cows, we got ice cream.  When we milked the brown cows, we got chocolate ice cream.

But that was many moons ago – I’ve been in Oregon nearly 40 years now. The tincture of antifreeze I once had in my blood, allowing me to walk to school in little more than a denim jacket when it was but 20°F (-7°C) – this has evaporated.
In truth, the antifreeze started its disappearing act before I left Minnesota. Once I graduated from walking to driving, venturing outside afoot, amassing icicles on my mustache lost its charm. Hence my reason for moving to less extreme climes.

It was so cold the dogs were getting stuck to the fire hydrants.

It was so cold we had an ice-fishing shack in the bathtub.

So on those days when the roses are as encased in ice as a jilted lover’s heart, and the wife bundles up in sweaters and blankets, the ice cubes that were once my toes suggest I grab a blanket too.

* I found the cold jokes on the internet. Trying to dream them up would have given me brain freeze.

47 thoughts on “How Cold Is It?

  1. 68 degrees! No wonder your poor wife is freezing! My husband would try to get away with that chilly thermostat setting, too, but the minute he’s out of sight, my sneaky little fingers ratchet that baby up to 72-73! (I know that probably sounds sweltering to you, but I need to be toasty warm.) Nice photos and amusing jokes. 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Brrr…The last one is dangerously cold! I’m testing my endurance for the cold and I’ve been told to get ready for a really cold winter. -8 is the lowest we’ve dipped so far! January might be the real test though. You’ve got some nice jokes for those cold, blue winters! 🙂 Another enjoyable read with some stunning captures. 🙂

    Liked by 2 people

    1. A typical winter day around here is more like +7C and damp, so it’s not often we have to deal with below freezing. But once in a while, even if we have to deal with the dangers of ice, we can enjoy the beauty too.

      Liked by 1 person

  3. Yesterday, I found myself shedding my hat and gloves as I walked Scooter in below zero temperature. The sun was out and reflecting brightly off the new snow and there was no wind. Without a wind, it is common for the sun to build “micro-climates” on the south side of buildings where temperatures easily hit 60F even though the general temp is -0F.

    Liked by 1 person

  4. J.D. Riso

    Thanks for the guffaws. I was just remembering Midwest winters the other day. I didn’t wear anything heavier than a leather jacket back in high school. I feel like such a sissy now.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I suppose it’s nicer to have seasons than to not, and rain, rain, rain, rain for a steady winter diet gets a bit old after a while. At least we don’t have below zero Fahrenheit…


  5. As I read this a fantastic blizzard is blowing outside my window. I had to take the dog out in it, we both came back in looking like abominable snow men (well in his case, snow dog), and the wind is really bitter and cold. What an appropriate post to read today.

    Your rose reminds me of a picture my mom sent me a few weeks ago. I had rescued valentines day rose left overs a few years ago, and planted them in the garden for my wedding. Amazingly those roses survived last winter’s weather (usually our winters are too cold and they get killed off), grew beautifully right through the summer, and because of a mild fall, was blooming right up until the first snow fall. Here’s a link to the picture!

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Nice picture of the rose in snow. Our weather isn’t too severe and it’s a great place for roses. The iced in bud probably was a late Sept or Oct bloom that went dormant before the full blossom, and managed to stay on until now. It’s not unusual to have one or two hangers on, so when we have an ice storm I always going looking for one.

      Thanks for stopping by.

      Liked by 1 person

  6. When we moved to Florida, a friend told Alie “within a couple years your blood witll have thinned and you won’t be able to take the cold.” Alie replied, “Ray’s blood thinned driving down 15 miles above the Georgia border.”

    Liked by 1 person

  7. Dave, wishing you and your family a great 2017. What a great post to describe the wonders of winter, and I’ve experienced the same. The very fact that it is winter outside makes the inside just as cold…and with scenes such as the days when your roses are as encased in ice (which you beautifully state: “as a jilted lover’s heart”), there is nothing quite as nice as snuggling under a blanket. Cheers!

    Liked by 1 person

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