Tuesday, January 7, 2014

Dear Polar Vortex 2014


Dear Polar Vortex 2014,

Whoa. You've sent most of the nation into a panic on both physical and emotional levels! Just prior to your predicted arrival, I thought it'd be a good idea to go grocery shopping and stock up for the cold. Well, so did everyone and their cousins. All the stores were raided, and lines were horrendous for pumping gas. Social media exploded with supermarket photos akin to End of the World scenarios. It was also plagued with endless screenshots of weather apps with arctic temps and windchill factors (*raises hand*). We been home for 4 days and counting, so I am sharing what we did whilst you visited. Here are the #TopTen Things We Did during your stay:


10. We wished. Starting before the weekend, we squeezed our eyes shut really tightly and wished with all our mights about school closing due to the frigid temps. Who doesn't want to extend winter vacation? Our first wish came true Saturday night with a call to announce Chinese School closing on Sunday. Whoopee! Then we were blessed with not one, but two days off school. Not much we can do since Mother Nature is to blame, so we just stayed home and thoroughly enjoyed the indoor warmth.

9. We baked. What can be done to fill long stretches of time at home? Make fresh bread! I finally had the time to make tang zhong method bread. With the cold, dry air, I had to double the rising time both times! Though it didn't turn out as fluffy and moist as it was supposed to be, I now have enough experience to tweak and improve the next batch. #BlamingItOnTheDryAir.




8. We watched TV. Kids movies. Cartoons. Tween shows. Football games. Movies. Giada in action. It's been years since I've actually sat down to watch The Food Network. #WhatElseCanWeWatch



7. We learned. My kiddos need lots of help with "what can I do now?" If left alone with no prompts, I will be sure to hear, "I'm bored." Remember the Snap Circuit kits you have? How about the United States of America puzzle? Or there's always Go clean up your huge mess! #GetInSomeEducationalActivities Cuz then we do a lot of the next one.




6. We wasted time. Lots and lots of screen time. #ItISWinterBreak

5. We knitted. I pulled out my gear for a new project! This is a great multitasking activity in front of the tube. I may actually finish something with the help of these extra days off! #GoodForMySoul


4. We thought about reorganizing played games. We played Pictionary Jr. and Charades. We screamed, we mimed, we laughed, we cried. We ran around like ostriches and danced The Hammer. We were a bunch of crazy fools having some good old fashioned family fun. #CanWePlayAgain

3. We experimented. We watched awesome videos on social media (lots of boiling water stunts) and tried to see what we can do with this possibly once-in a lifetime outdoor temp. We sprayed water outside with a spray bottle (cuz it was easier than boiling water) and put a glass of water outside to freeze (cuz we have no imagination whatsoever) (and 8 oz of water still takes a long time to freeze). #DorkyGeeks




2. We got mail. I wasn't going to let this Arctic Blast go without seeing how it actually feels. The mailbox seemed like a good goal for a quick outing. The time it took for me to get bundled up (in scarf, coat, hat, snow pants, snow boots, and gloves) was way longer than my time being outside. Verdict: for the short time I was out there, I was fine, but my fingers got cold real quick. #NowIKnow



1. We cleared the sink. I actually saw the bottom of my kitchen sink on these days at home after three square meals a day. This could be my greatest accomplishment of 2014. Because it's #AllDownhillFromHere





The temperature is now in the positive range, and we fully expect to be in school tomorrow. Come this weekend (high of 37), we'll all be peeling off our winter coats and dancing about outdoors rejoicing the heatwave. There will be shorts and flip flops around here, I guarantee it.

So, Dear Polar Vortex 2014, we were of the fortunate peeps who had heat and food and were excused from school and work. Not everyone was as lucky during your tipsy visit. Photos around the nation showed people braving the cold out of necessity (thank you, Mr. Mailman!) I hope that your temporary presence left negligible permanent damage. As for us, we enjoyed being indoors (no cabin fever!) and having nothing pressing to do. We won't be so happy come June and have to make up the two school days, but that's six months away. At least we'll have warmth then.

Lastly, it was nice to meet your acquaintance, but once is enough even for the bravest of us! You've made your mark, so ta ta for good!

Sincerely,
Me

P.S. I did a little reading on the reason behind this record-breaking phenomenon. The Polar Vortex is the air that spins around the North Pole, but has come off its kilter these few days. It is being compared to a spinning figure skater who has extended his/her arms to slow down but got off balanced and tipped over. This mass of low pressure air descended upon us as a result. The cause for this broken top is too much arctic ice melting and the heat reentering the atmosphere, throwing off the Polar Vortex air. It is basically and unfortunately global warming in action. Source: npr.


13 comments:

  1. Glad you guys were warm and safe and found plenty of things to do. :)

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    1. Warm and safe, indeed, fortunately. It was actually quite a blessing, those two extra days. I was so thankful, and so were the kiddos! Now back to reality... Thanks, Susi!

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  2. Love your post. We were so cold since this house is so drafty! I refuse to spend a bizzilion dollars on new sliding doors and windows. I just dressed us up in autumn outdoor wear and we were okay :) Too bad I never got the fire place cleaned or we could have used that! Now that we are -10 it's in the high 60's in my house finally! I love playing games with the kids too. I'm so rushed with the baby but it's fun anyway. Nitey nite my friend!

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    1. Hi, Helen!! I'm so cheap when it comes to the heater! We are drafty, too, with our huge windows. But even Miss Stingy turned up the heater to 70F those last few days. Now that everyone's out of the house, it's back down to high 60s and I've got on wrist warmers and a very cold nose. So I'm with ya! We gotta do coffee VERY SOON. Happy New Year!

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  3. Wow, you guys got really cold! It wasn't nearly so cold here in Arizona. Our house gets a little chilly so we have a couple strategically placed ceramic heaters to take the chill off where the heat of the stove doesn't seem to reach.

    Playing games, watching TV and relaxing sounds like a wonderful way to use your time at home. My older son has one of those snap circuits kits - he goes through phases on playing with it. (My parents got it for him several years ago and my dad thought it was the best gift ever- he's an electrician :) )

    I hope you enjoy the 'heat wave' this weekend!

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    1. Oh, it was quite an experience, this Polar Vortex. But we experienced all of it indoors with only seeing on social media what it looked like outdoors, and it was really amazing (have you seen some of those pictures?). Most people I talked to really liked having the two extra days at home. Being forced to stay home and do nothing was pretty nice! This morning was 31F and it felt so "good" sending the kids off to school! ;)

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  4. Sandra, you really made the most of your time indoors during the cold snap! I saw people on TV throwing the boiling water & wanted to try it. My luck, it would blow back into my face & burn me so I didn't dare risk it. Your kids will always remember the Polar Vortex & all the fun you had hibernating at home! :)

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    1. We saw a friend's video and it was totally awesome! And then I heard that lots of people got hurt/burnt doing it! My kiddos were quite happy to just stay home. They are, though, having a hard time adjusting back to school hours. Grouchy Groucherson showed up this morning again.:) Thanks for reading, Chrisor!

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  5. Oh, how I know that feeling of the time it takes to get geared up to go outside - spending more time getting ready than actually spending outside (hello, the dog needs to go pee!). But, the fact you got mail is amazing. Good old Chicago peeps got nothing - well, my block got nothing on Monday and Tuesday. I heard some people didn't get anything on Wednesday, either. Or some people did get Wednesday, but then got nothing on Thursday. Go figure.

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    1. Yes, I think city and suburban post offices are two completely different worlds. I remember what it was like just to pick up a package in a city post office--much different the experience out here. But then I can also understand why that's the case. At least this Polar Vortex is gone, hopefully for a good, long time! Thanks, Nilsa!

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  6. Reading this post late: Bread - please email me or post a detailed recipe because I didn't quite follow what you posted to FB. Thanks!!!!! Screen time is basically what we do while stuck indoors too, that & being silly fools like you ;). Was that you getting the mail? What a fun photo!!! That's a lot of snow! LOL on the clean sink -- what we resort to when nothing else to do, haha. Unfortunately, as you know, our water pipe burst b/c of the frigid temps. Luckily, all is well now and no one is blaming us or charging us for the repair.

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    1. Bread recipe link, emailed! Yes, that was me getting mail! The snow is piled up from plowing the roads. We're used to this much snow, but definitely not the super cold! I'm glad your pipes got fixed and everything's back to normal. Not fun. Did you get a deep freeze in your area, too? Thanks, Lisa!

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