No, not that I spend a lot of time yelling at kids to get off my yard, or I'm closely reading obituaries in the local paper, or finding that the things my parents said to me way back when they were my age now actually made sense.
I am realizing that I'm cold a lot.
And that's a wimpy thing for a former Minnesotan who currently lives in Arkansas to say.
But this year, I've noticed the chill more and I've taken steps to deal with it.
I now have a space heater in the room where I write things and play the APBA baseball replay. I keep it on the lower setting so it won't ever shut off, and I place it right next to me. I may catch on fire, but at least I won't be a-shiverin'.
This week, our temperatures in the balmy south will drop into the single digits and when factoring in the wind chill — the mathematical formula that allows people to complain even more about the frigid temps by considering the wind speeds and what would happen if you stood outside buck-ass naked — it'll dip below zero.
Crank up that space heater!
I've also got one at work. I am a bureau reporter for a newspaper and have a small office downtown near the courthouse. The windows in the archaic building where I'm in face north and west — the directions where the colder winds come from. So, I'm chilly there as well.
I used to handle the cold well. I never wear long-sleeved shirts and I sport a thinner jacket during the winters. The locals claim cold here is worse than, say, the North Dakota plains during an Arctic blast because it's a “wetter cold.” Yeah, and those people who freeze to death while walking to their mailbox in Fargo are apparently blocks of “dry” ice, I suppose.
When I was a kid in Bemidji, Minn., we'd go outside and play when it was 20 below. That's 20 marks below the zero and it doesn't include any wind chill. I remember walking to school on days when the chill factor dipped to 50 or 60 below, so this near zero stuff ain't much in comparison.
But, I'm still cold. I just turned on the space heater and dragged it over while I typed this because thinking of the cold makes me cold.
Maybe it is because I'm older. Something about slower circulation? Less tolerance? More opportunity to gripe? A good friend of mine gave me a fleece blanket to wrap up in while watching television for Christmas this year. Years ago I would have scoffed at such a gift. This year, I greatly appreciate it. I won't resort to that weird Snuggy thing, the cross between a marketing guru's joke and a cult leader's robe, because I'll never get that cold. But I do wrap in the blanket when watching ESPN. If I start knitting or constantly thinking that things were so much better in the days of yore while enwrapped in that thing, I may be in trouble.
I could blame this on my weight loss, too. This past year, I've lost 100 or so pounds. Strip off that much insulation on a house and the rooms get cold, I say.
Whatever the reason is, I've given the cold shoulder to the impending cool in the air as I reach for that on switch for the space heater. Low setting, of course, so it won't ever go off.