Want Some Cheese With That Winter Whine?
What a winter, huh? First, there was all that snow: roof’s caving in, ice damns in the gutters wreaking all sorts of havoc. Now, we got this freezing rain (at least that’s what it’s doing at the moment). I can handle snow just fine, but ice? That’s another matter. I find myself driving like a little old lady: hands gripping the wheel at two and ten o’clock, sitting forward on my seat, body all tense, going fifteen miles an hour all the way to work. It’s exhausting! Thank goodness they do a good job sanding the parking lot at the A&P.
Not every place is as thoughtful, though. I often find myself wishing I had those old-fashioned rubber boots with the “grips” on the bottom my grandmother and aunts used to wear. “Grip-pahs,” they called them. I remember those elderly women marching along like little tanks, determined and indestructible, pocketbook in gloved hand, cloth coat, a scarf tied over their tightly permed white hair, leaving a trail of Youth Dew or White Shoulders in their wake.
I can’t remember them whining about the weather. I can’t remember them whining about anything, for that matter. Those women just took it as it came. They buckled down and held the center, while the rest of us spun around them, coming and going, but always returning for a home-cooked meal, the ever-present desserts served with “orange-aid” and a big hug filled with Cashmere Bouquet.
Fast forward to today, where whining and moping are a way of life. At times it seems like the glue that holds us together up here. Right now, the only people I know who aren’t grumpy about the weather are the ones packing for a trip down south. But if you’re wishing you were one of them folks, don’t. ‘Cause the people who are having the hardest time with the weather right now, the grumpiest of the grumpy, of course, are the ones who just got back from their trip. The ones who have to get out their shovels again and chip away at the ice at the foot of their driveway. Welcome home!
So whining, under the circumstances, is understandable. That isn’t to say it don’t get on my nerves, ‘cause it does. In fact, I’m so sick of hearing myself complain about the weather, I’ve developed a couple of ways to make it manageable.
First, make a whining appointment. I allow myself fifteen minutes in the morning to whine about the weather, usually from 8:00 to 8:15. If Charlie’s there, he has to deal with it or join in. I set the timer, roll up my sleeves and just wallow big time, complaining about the weather, global warming, how I’m sick of winter and that the end of the world must be coming soon; just look at the signs! Soon as that timer goes off, though, that’s it. I stop whining, wash my hands to get rid of all that yucky energy, and try to think of at least one thing I’m grateful for. Then, I get on with my day.
I don’t get to whine again until 5:00. Another fifteen minute whine-a-thon about anything that deserves it: the weather, work, that know it all Claudia Peavey, whatever. And that’s it. No whining in between whining appointments, and no whining on weekends. I try to keep those a whine-free-zone.
Easier said than done, ‘cause when you’re with a group of friends and everyone launches into a complaining free-for-all, things can get really out of hand. If you don’t want the evening turning into a massive group grumble, you have to head it off at the pass. I say something like, “Look, I’m going to watch the clock. What do you say we whine about the weather (or politics or whatever) for another twenty minutes, then we move on.” More often than not, everyone agrees.
But don’t worry. Winter’s almost over anyways. Before you know it, those snow banks will be shrinking back and the crocuses will be poking their hopeful little green heads out of the ground. Then, we can start whining about mud season, flooding basements and sump pumps!
That’s it for now. Catch you on the flip side!
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