four more weeks of winter

By frozen Emmet

I hate my wood stove. I hate my wood pile. I hate my furnace. I hate my heavy winter coat. I hate my winter boots.
I hate winter.
And it just started.
It is hard to believe that Blues Eyes got me to the top of Sugarloaf, Sunday River and Saddleback in sub-zero weather on a pair of skis. It is hard to believe that I actually enjoyed it. The fact that we had access to a free condo at the base of Sugarloaf had a lot to do with the popularity of that activity. Now, my winter exterior activity is confined to walking across the frozen lawn every morning to find my newspaper. I am so old that I could ski for free at Camden’s Snow Bowl. No thanks.
Yes, I am still a member of the local YMCA, but the idea of dressing to go out, going out to the Y, then changing into sneaks and sweats is like climbing Mount Suribachi under heavy machine gun fire. Once you are there, dressed and toasty warm, the actual exercise is quite pleasant. Yes, there is that huge swimming pool but that would mean still another change of clothes.
I have cabin fever.
The first few wood fires are quite pleasant, of course. The instant warmth (at 33 degrees) is welcome and the wood smell is agreeable. But now that the stove has been working for months and the chore of hauling in five logs at a time from the barn (forget the frozen pile on the lawn) has become another chore. It is especially onerous at 9:30 p.m. When I finally slide out of bed due to staggering hunger at 10 p.m., the first order of the day is to haul even more logs into the kitchen, even before making coffee. I once loved these heat-giving logs. Now, I hate them.
Now that oil prices have dropped a little (The biggest robbery in the history of history), I could always drop the wood stove and employ the furnace full-time. But the furnace is of “forced hot air” variety. When it comes on, the newspapers blow off the table and you have to grab the couch arms to stay seated. Plus, there is all that noise. I do let the furnace take over night duties. I think I wake up every time it comes on.
The doctor admitted that exercise is at least as important as the variety of pills he has ordered. In decent weather at least once a week, I would waddle downtown, get the mail and sit in the town park, like old men are supposed to. When the tour busses load up, some drivers try to shoo me aboard. I protest that I actually live here. Now that Camden has turned into the frozen tundra, there will be no walks downtown. Not until spring.
There is only one solution: Florida.
For reasons unknown, Mark and Jane invite me to their Spring Hill home each winter. They fled the Maine winter 20 years ago and take pity on those who are still trapped here. This year, the visit will be to their swank condo instead of their swank house. The good news is that this place is within walking distance of the gorgeous toll road bike trail. This trail is like 40 or 50 miles long, paved and supplies little huts along the way to “hydrate” and rest those aging alabaster columns. There is no snow, no ice, not even much fog. On weekdays, I have the trail to myself and I paddle along listening to my 2,200 songs on iTunes. Naturally I bring my own Poland Spring liter bottles because nothing else tastes as good.
As soon as I get back to the house, I send texts and call all my friends and acquaintances (even Grima) and remind them of the 60 or 70 degree differences in our areas. Then I jump in the pool, just to rub it in. The pool at the house was attached. Now, in the condo development, I will have to WALK to the pool. Nothing is perfect.
Many people refuse to accept my calls or return messages. Who can blame them? I shall dine on very fresh oysters at Apalachicola, steamed shrimp at Cedar Key and cheeseburgers at the esteemed and smoky Pickled Parrot.
I must check the local newspaper to check the spring training schedules for the New York Yankees (ptui), The Philadelphia Phillies and the Toronto Blue Jays. It’s not all fun and games. Sometimes it’s so hot I have to go under cover and have an ice cold beer.
Have a nice winter.