This morning as I pulled on my long underwear for the second day of the Deep Freeze, I thought about the women Darling Daughter and I met a couple of weeks ago. Darling was in a fitting room, trying on clothes, when two women in the next stall spilled out, laughing about how many garments they had to put on.
“My sister just moved here from California,” said the one woman. “How do you do it? All these clothes you have to wear all the time!”
“Welcome to North Dakota — God’s Country!” I replied. “What clothes …?”
“Oh, the long underwear!” exclaimed one of the women.
My daughter and I glanced at each other and smiled. We’d seen people walking into the mall wearing sweatshirts or fleece jackets over their shirts. The temperatures were in the twenties and thirties. It was really rather nice for a North Dakota winter.
“We save the long underwear for the really cold weather,” I explained. “Anything below zero. This has been a pretty nice winter so far.”
“Yeah,” added my daughter, “you haven’t seen anything yet!”
I wonder how those women are doing — if they’ve found warm enough clothing for the season or if they’re just staying inside. I have to admit when it’s double-digits below zero, I don’t want to go for a walk in the morning.
And my walking companion, Charlie the Puggle, has noticed. This morning when we got up late, he didn’t even want to go outside for his morning business. He just jumped up onto the couch and snuggled down to nap while HighGuy and I showered and prepared for the day. Even when I asked him a half-hour later if he wanted to go out, he was unmoved.
“OK,” I said, holding up his halter. “Do you want to go for a walk?”
His head came up and he scrambled to his feet. I hooked him up, put on my coat, and away we went. I decided that since it was 17-below, we’d only go down to the end of the block and back. The spirit was willing, but the flesh was weak. Charlie dragged me down to the end of the block (actually three blocks because of the way the blocks are configured) and we crossed the street.
Charlie had tinkled on the trees along the way, and then left a pile on a neighbor’s front yard. (And me without a bag. Oops. Maybe on another trip we’ll be able to retrieve it.) And then the cold must have seeped into Charlie’s feet. He started holding up one foot and then another.
“I know,” I told him. “We just have to get home now.”
He still managed to do a few more tinkles. I had to drag him away from another dog’s p-mail, and we made it home OK. He jumped back up onto the couch, and I pulled the blanket up around him.
By this weekend we’re supposed to have temps in the double-digits ABOVE zero. And THEN we can go for a real walk. Maybe we’ll make it all the way to the park.