When the Weather Outside is Frightful

The air is so cold that it hurts to breathe. The insides of your nostrils freeze up until the airflow is blocked. Your lungs hurt with each breath. Your eyes tear up from the wind and freeze to your cheeks. The cold rips through your body like a storm trying to wreck everything in its path.

You wear layers of clothing just to let the dogs outside to potty — and they wear layers, too. You put on your long underwear in the morning just to go to work, even though you work inside all day.

Your car rumbles and grumbles to life, and you pray the battery hasn’t finally died. Your fingers are numb on the steering wheel as you make your way down icy roads.

And this is what winter is like sometimes — but not all the time.

On the morning of the most recent snowstorm (before the storm hit), we decided to visit a few friends and have a reptile day, first checking out some awesome geckos and ball pythons before driving out to Wisconsin for some more fun.

Doug is a common boa.

We hung out with Rex, the alligator.

And held more snakes than I can probably remember.


Including one where my friend prefaced me holding it by saying, “Oh yeah, he normally doesn’t bite. Oh, and by the way, he’s mildly venomous.”


My new buddy, a false water cobra.

It was an excellent day! Until we started to make our way home, driving west toward home and into the snowstorm. Thankfully, we made it back just fine. And we even got to see a fox traveling through the snow.

The “polar vortex” hit Minnesota like a truck a few days later, plunging temperatures farther into the negatives than I can remember in a long time. The gauge on my dashboard read -25 at one point. That’s negative twenty-five. 

You can’t even comprehend cold when it’s that cold.

With post offices and local businesses closing, schools shutting down, and stories of people getting caught in the cold, only to end in their deaths, you know it’s real.

The only thing to do is to stay inside if you’re able, avoid going out unless you have to. So, we snuggled in for a reading day.

And we participated in the popular “experiment” of throwing boiling water into the air. Because, you know, we were stuck inside with nothing else to do. And it’s kinda cool.

But the weather soon warmed, and Minnesota did what it’s known to do, which is to throw its inhabitants through crazy loops like the indecisive state that it is.

After a 70-degree temperature swing that happened in a mere two days, we were back outside enjoying winter the way it should be enjoyed.

The dogs were thrilled to be outside, and we took a long walk to a nearby lake to get out some of their pent-up energy.

Poor Piper was so done with just sitting around! 

And I decided to forgive Minnesota a little bit for being so crazy with its weather. Because when it’s beautiful here, it is really beautiful!


The lake has been busy with fishermen taking advantage of the weather. And it’s fun to watch all of the activity.


When the misty, foggy weather kicked in over the weekend, we opted to spend the day checking out some of the St. Paul breweries.

Wabasha Brewing Company and Bad Weather Brewing Company.

Bad Weather had an ice sculpture outside that was pretty cool (no pun intended).

Andy said, “Do you think it closes down in good weather??”

Ha. Ha.

Andy’s exciting news is finally getting to start up his handyman business: Handy Andy McLaughlin. Right after getting his work van, he picked up three jobs right away!


We’ve been asked a few times if we are sick of winter yet and if we wish we hadn’t come back. “How’re you handling it?” they ask.

While there are good days and bad days, and I certainly miss the sun and warmth, I’d say we are fairing pretty darn well for our first winter back. Holding strong so far! (Cause, you know, we’re only partially through it so we’d better keep positive — we’ve got a long way to go!)

Happy winter!





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