Tuesday, January 7, 2014

Brrr x 1,000,000,000

School was supposed to start today, but we're stuck in this Polar Vortex thingy which is best described as walking outside and having a Wampa rip your skin off. Yes, it's that cold. Cars aren't starting, people are dropping homeless pets off at shelters. It's quite the event. We're not really prepared for these type of things, are we? Kansas has had some fairly mild winters these last few years, but anyway who's ever heard of a Polar Vortex? Geez. This is when, as a human, you come to understand the reason for body hair. Real body hair. Not strips or landscaped edges. Everyone's shaving it all off the time, but man, who cares about smooth legs or chests (for the men) when it's -10 outside? Not me, that's for sure.

Liam just woke up, stuck his head in the doorway and said, very tousled and sleepy looking, "Mama, we have school today," like, What the heck are you doing on the computer? I broke the happy news and he ambled off to the living room without comment. Every day he asks, "Do I have school tomorrow?"And if I say YES he lowers his head and looks sad, and if I say NO he let's out a big YAY! But even he has to admit that this Holiday Break deal has gone on long enough and that we all must pay the piper, i.e., go to school and, gulp, learn stuff.

Henry goes out and checks the possum hole, sniffs the 'winter' perimeter of the yard, which is a shortened tour of the vicinity due to increment weather, and then barks at the door. If I'm on the toilet, he barks louder and louder until I rush through the house to let him in. Where were you? he asks, rushing past to find a squeaky toy to rip apart. On the toilet, I say. Oh, you mean that huge water bowl that I'm too short to reach and drink out of? Yeah, that's the one. Then he barks at me to throw his toy, and then doesn't bring it back afterwards. Henry is lousy at fetch.

This is the eastern section of the backyard, taken to give you some idea of the snow pack we have, and that—even through this PV thing—the sun is still shining. The tracks in the front of the picture are from Liam, but the ones that run along the fence going all the way to the back are Henry. Notice how they're 'body length' with no paw prints to break it up. That's because he hopped. I do see little paw tracks going past the apple tree, though. Looks like he walked his way out there, got cold, and decided it was faster to hop back. I remember one time Henry went out in the snow and got stuck in a huge drift. He was so cold and the snow was so thick that he just gave up and laid down. I was at the back door, and when I saw him give up like that, I ran out there to snatch him up. You really have to watch your pets, folks. We think they're infallible, but they're not. 

It's hard to imagine anyone leaving their animal friends outside in weather like this. Unfortunately, I know some people who would. My previous neighbors had two large dogs that they treated like lawn ornaments. They never went out there to play with them, they never took them for walks, and they never let them inside. I'd talk to the dogs through the fence because they were so starved for attention that they would literally run over every time I walked out my back door. They even started to dig under the fence, which the owner closed with a brick to stop progress. But the dogs found their way out several times anyway in another part of the fence, and who do you think they came to? That's right. I'd have to go knock on the neighbor's door, with two dogs yanking on a makeshift leash the whole time. I couldn't open a locked gate that had a 'we shoot' sign showing a human target on it. No one would ever answer. Finally, after one too many escapes, animal control talked to the owners, and just in time, because a huge blizzard arrived two days later. But then those people moved, taking the dogs with them. I can only imagine they are in a similar situation, with no pesky neighbors to worry about knocking on their door to complain.

I joked about the Wampas in Star Wars, but really it's the humans who are cruel. 


  1. I can't stand people who don't take care of their pets. I have one of the few kinds that can stay out in subzero temps, but he has two thick layers of fur and fur covering his paw pads. But then, of course, he can't stay out in the hot sun and he doesn't. In the summer he is outside in his enclosed area during the night. And loves keeping an eye on the wild critters that come by in the night. Hope this front will move on, in the meanwhile, take good care and stay warm.

  2. It's so sad when people don't take care of their pets, or their kids, or themselves . . . and I think the three usually go together.
    We live in the Pacific NW right by the Puget Sound and we've had odd weather this year - colder than normal (but not cold compared to what you're going through - just down at freezing) and without rain or snow. Today, it warmed up and rained so it feels like a normal winter day for us. Our little dog (newish to us) just doesn't seem to have enough fur to deal with the cold so he only goes out for short times . . . and then comes back in to throw his squeaky toy around the house - playing his own game of throw and catch - sometimes he lets us join him and sometimes not.
    Take care and stay warm!

    1. Hi Tyrean, thanks for stopping by! Your little guy sounds cute. Henry's played the throw and catch game by himself before, though mostly he just rips the stuffing out : )

  3. Amy, your weather has been on our news and it sounds awful - advising people not to go out etc. Hope it doesn't last too long. We've had rain and high winds here with more to come. The brook down the side of the garden flooded three times yesterday (all through my poly tunnels, garden shed and O/H's workshop - what a mess) we were lucky though that it didn't flood our house, a lot of people have had it a lot worse. Stay inside and keep warm xx

    1. Glad you've been safe from most of that, Molly. Let's hope this crazy weather settles down soon!


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