Saturday, January 20, 2018

The Cold Bare Boughs of Winter

It's Winter in Florida, something that hasn't happened in quite a few years. So many in fact that there are those among us who, in that string of mild winters where we never put our shorts and sandals away, foolishly donated much of our lingering winter clothing. 

Bare boughs of winter
This year such coats and jackets as escaped the purge are all out of mothballs. Sandals have been replaced by real shoes, sweaters are back in use, our necks are wrapped in scarves, out heads in woollen caps,our hands in gloves, and thank God for woollen leggings!

By the time I don enough layers to brave the outdoors I look like Johnny Forty Coats - tights and top, trousers, sweater, zip up fleece, mittens and scarf, all bundled up inside a lined winter jacket (dug out from the furthest reaches of the closet) and can hardly squeeze myself through the door.  Okay, I'm exaggerating, but only a little.

There's no sympathy from our north dwelling children. They laugh, they snort, they harden their hearts. 

We used to be tougher than this but years in the sun have diluted our blood and turned us into wimps. The house is warm but still at night I pile on the blankets, the wooly socks and my precious - the hot water bottle. In spite of all this, as long as I can keep my toes from freezing, we're happy to be getting a winter. It does break the monotony of endless sunshine (this is where the children stop snorting and start growling). It also probably bodes well for our blueberry patch which has not produced more than a handful of berries these last few years for want of at least a month of cold weather. 

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Before winter set in
December flew by with its pants on fire. It always does that, just to spite me 'cause it knows I'm never ready for the holidays but this year it was something different. Unscheduled adventures of the driving/automotive variety. Early in the month the OC was driving, not far from our house, when someone, who we can only surmise was blind in one eye and couldn't see out of the other, turned left into a side road right in front of him, completely failing to yield the right of way, crashing into the side of his car and sending him and themselves to the hospital. He was hurt but managed to climb out on the passenger side. His car was wrecked but he, by some miracle, when I reached the scene, was walking around, spitting nails and refusing to climb on a stretcher until I was there to transfer everything from the remains of his car into mine. An automated system built into his car had called the fire and rescue service and he had called me. That was a nerve wracking five minute trip.

  No bones were broken and he got out alive but, instead of the usual holiday preparations, we embarked on a dizzying round of two nights in the hospital with hourly pokings for blood, tests, scans, MRIs,  visits to doctors, chiropractor appointments, phone tag with insurance companies and sadness at losing his all-time favourite car. 

 But we're so glad he's alive to suffer through all that. How close he came to not being was scary.

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How was your Christmas? Ours was quiet. No crowds of returning swallows and chicks, just a quiet day, dinner with our friendly neighbours and phone calls with those far flung chicks. Are we really half way through the first month of the year already?

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Breaking news: Winter, when she comes at all to Florida, does not linger long. Usually just until we re-accustom ourselves to real shoes, layers of warm clothes and piles of blankets. Now that we've got it down
the weathermen say it's about to warm up! Go figure. There'll be no complaints from here about the heat for a long while, no matter how hot it gets!


Colette said...

Sorry to hear about the car accident - that must have been terrifying. I'm quite enjoying the cool weather. Nice to snuggle in bed with actual blankets and quilts instead of sweltering under a sheet.

Molly Bon said...

Colette - don't get me wrong. I'm loving it too, I grew up in this kind of weather. It's my toes that don't like it!

Elephant's Child said...

Glad he is ok. Scary times.
I live in a place with four distinct seasons, and love them all. Except our current one. Summer aka the sweaty season. You may not complain about the heat but I do. Loudly. She doesn't listen though.

Relatively Retiring said...

What a nasty shock for you all. The automatic alert system sounds very sensible.
Glad you've been enjoying the hot-water bottle. It's not so much the cold I mind, here in Middle England, but the shortage of day-light. However, the rhubarb is starting to emerge, which is the best indicator of changes to come.

gz said...

the automatic alert system is interesting..should be in more vehicles!!
We had a quiet festive season, with an unexpected visit from middle son and partner...all the better for not being planned, and we wished they could have stayed longer. If only for the reason that he sorted a few of my computer type problems!

Molly Bon said...

EC - Me too! It certainly puts you in touch with your mortality.By summer we'll be melting and I'll be trying, without success, to remember how it felt in "winter!"

RR - Indeed. These things happen all the time to 'other people.' It's only when it happens to you, or someone close to you, that you realise what it's really like. Signs of imminent Spring here too, in spite of wintry weather - the days are already getting noticibly longer.

gz - It is pretty miraculous! The rescue team were at the scene within three minutes.The OC didn't appreciate it at the time when chatting with a disembodied voice seemed less urgent than determining if his car was on fire.

Marigold Jam said...

What shocks to the system! Glad to learn your husband was not badly hurt and too that your cold weather is not long lasting. Here in the south of England it is not the cold I mind but like Relatively Retiring the lack of daylight and also the wet and the mud everywhere! What happens if the in-car system calls the emergency services and nobody is hurt? That might not go down so well here where we don't seem to have enough ambulances to go round these days although I must say when my husband fell and hit his face on the roadway the ambluance called by our neighbour(I wasn't at home at the time) came within minutes. Hope that your hot water bottle hadn't perished during its long sojourn in the back of the cupboard wet beds are not conducive to a good night's sleep! Christmas you asked - when was that? It all seems so long ago now!!

Marigold Jam said...

Postscript - I should have said that my husband was on his way home from the optician's in town and not the pub when he fell! Wouldn't want you thinking he was inebriated at the time would I?

Anonymous said...

Hi Molly,
Glad the OC was not badly hurt. Looks like these days, you have to leave Florida in winter for somewhere warmer!

Sabine said...

Grrhh for the winter, which I dislike in all shapes and forms and temperatures simply for its darkness. I grew up in a real winter place with snow up to my childhood shoulders etc. but still . . .

And grrhh for the accident, so sorry but what luck.

Hot water bottles are the best.

Pauline said...

Glad to hear OC is ok but what a scare that must have given you both! I love winter so I'm in the right part of the country. We've just had a lovely snowfall which is now threatened by rain so next we'll be in a flood warning! Still, I can warm up better than I can cool off so I'm sticking with New England! I love that your hot water bottle is your "precious." That's how I feel about my neck-shaped heating pad!

Susan Kane said...

How horrible! So glad OC is spitting nails. Shows he still has his spunk.

In S. Calif. we finally have temps. below 70. I have brushed the dust off my two sweatshirts.

Molly Bon said...

Marigold - I remember how short the winter days were in Ireland. Growing up, we'd be walking home from school in the dark. I still remember marvelling that it was not long past the middle of the day and I could already see the moon!
As for that emergency thing, it's only activated by a crash and only the rare crash has nobody injured.
Ah, but I use my Precious every winter because of terminal cold feet even in winters (and Springs and Autumns) that are Florida 'normal!'
Inebriation never entered my head.Of course, if you were writing from Ireland it might have....

Squirrel - As I said, winter, when she visits, doesn't linger. It got up to 80 degrees today! Looks like winter might be over!

Sabine - Yes, one of life's little comforts.

Pauline - Growing up, all the Christmas cards we received were printed in England and showed beautiful scenes of snow and horse drawn sleds.Ire;land specialises in RAIN, not snow and I wished so much a snowy winter! I got my wish when we lived in Montana, North Dakota, Germany and Belgium which permanently erased my snow envy.

SK - He is great in a crisis. His brain switches to super robot efficiency. Normal reactions are put on hold 'til he's done what needs doing in the moment. Good thing one of us operates that way...

Lee said...

Wow! That would've give you a hell of a fright! Things happen within a blink when least expected...I'm so glad OC is fine, not hurt, and that he didn't lose his fighting spirit!

Frustrating and so very annoying though it is, the car can be replaced, but he can't be.

We're still in the throes of a hot, steamy summer down this way.

The Festive Season, for me, was quiet....just the way I wanted it to be.

Take good care...the both of you! :)

SmitoniusAndSonata said...

I'm delighted that the accident wasn't too alarming and he's obviously well enough to be told off .
And as for the layers and layers of clothes, if I were knocked over, I'd roll along the street.

Secret Agent Woman said...

That's a frighteningly close call with the car wreck. Yikes. Good that he wasn't more seriously hurt.

And yeah, my sister in Savannah complained about getting snow and I thought, "blah, blah, blah."

ganching said...

Glad that everything turned out OK in the end.

Molly Bon said...

Lee - the thing I have trouble getting my head around is that while it's winter here in the northern hemisphere, your 'festive season is at the hottest part of your year. But then I remind myself that when we lived in CA we grilled christmas dinner outside...

S&S - Thanks for the laugh!

SAW - yup. In seeking sympathy you have to know your audience.

Ganching - Thank you. Me too!

Dee said...

Dear Molly, here in Missouri we are experiencing an unusual winter--there's been more snow and much more cold. Really an Arctic chill and I say that after living in Minnesota for 38 years. Once settled here--some nine years ago--I decided to keep my winter attire--just in case! And I'm glad I did!

Like you, when I go outside to walk, I'm like a puff ball, layered from turtleneck all the way to the quilted L. L. Bean winter jacket.

I wonder if you'll have any more winter weather. Here we keep bobbing up and down on the thermometer scale.

Take care and keep warm. Peace.

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