Wednesday, November 28, 2012

Doggone Cold

This morning it was something like 30 degrees according to the outside temperature reading on my thermostat. I can’t always trust the reading, as one recent morning it read 26, and I blinked and just like that it changed to 30. I poked my head outside the front door to confirm the freeze factor, and when I got back to the thermostat, it was suddenly at 38, and it’s unlikely the temperature rose 12 degrees in the space of under two minutes. There used to be an old-fashioned thermometer mounted outside the dining room window that I relied on, but it blew off the house in a storm last year.

 This morning, however, the lawn out front was covered in fallen leaves covered in frost, confirming the low, low temperature reading and the woods out back were shrouded in gray fog. When it was time to walk the dogs, I put their little sweaters on them, attached the leashes, and headed for the door.

Moose had already gone out once, and this time he wouldn’t leave the couch. He sat there surrounded by his little pillow fort and avoided looking at me. I picked him up from the couch, set him on the floor, and nudged him to the door. He crossed the threshold, but wouldn’t leave the porch. This is the usual rainy weather behavior, now being adapted for too stinking cold.

Winston and I started walking without him, but I felt guilty and irresponsible leaving him outside unattended, so we turned back as soon as we got to the end of the driveway. I took up Moose’s leash and tried again to get him to move. He dug in his paws and held fast. By some miracle (or my steady tugging), he finally left the porch, but then he wouldn’t proceed down the walkway. He stubbornly planted himself and stared me down. Defeated, I dropped the leash, and Moose ran back to the porch and stood near the door.

Winston and I embarked on the second attempt of our morning walk, which is, unfortunately, about all the exercise I do lately. At best, in nice weather, we’d log a half-mile twice a day -- before and after work. Now, it’s pitch dark at 5:15 when I get home, so we only walk in the mornings, and only if it’s not raining, because the dogs won’t step off the porch when it’s wet. And now, it appears we can strike cold from the list. I’m definitely going to need another fitness plan.

We walked to the end of the driveway, turned left and jogged the distance of the one neighboring yard. Winston loves to run, so I try to do it with him. When it became obvious there was no way I could run fast enough to keep up with him, we turned back, I dropped the leash and said, “Winston, go home.” He became a blur of blue and green sweater and ran to the house so fast you’d think someone was dangling a nice juicy steak in front of him. Then, the two dogs, a combined total of forty pounds of furry fury, began jumping on the door like they wanted to bust it in.

Shivering in spite of my wool coat, knit hat and gloves, I headed to the house to utilize my superior height and opposable thumbs to open the door. At least they will always need me for something.

When it was time to leave for work, the car was still covered in frost. I sat in the with the front and rear defrosters blasting, watching the lacy frost melt while the hot air did its stuff and wondering how on earth the dogs are going to deal with winters in New England. It has the potential to be really unpleasant. If only I could convince my whole family to relocate someplace where every day is hot like the dog days of summer.

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