Tuesday, February 12, 2008

Surviving February

How many times in your life has someone come up to you and said, “I can’t wait until February!”?

That’s right – zero. Zilch. Nada.

Because February is the evil stepmother of the Gregorian calendar. She might look pretty when the light is right, but take a step outside and you’ll discover her heart is made of ice.

The days are short, the air is chilly, the Seasonal Affective Disorder people are cranky. The best thing I can say about February is that it’s the month I can pretty much count on not having to shave my legs above the knee. Which saves me approximately 2.5 minutes a day -- 2.5 minutes generally spent shivering (evidently, the hair on my upper legs isn’t a great insulator.)

For the shortest month of the year, February has more than its fair share of Days (with a capital “D”): Groundhog Day, Valentine’s Day, Presidents’ Day. This trio of so-called holidays is obviously the product of a government conspiracy -- a futile attempt to distract us from the fact that it is numbingly cold outside. And really, how diverting is a groundhog anyway? Unless he suddenly turns on his handler, I’m not interested.

Valentine’s Day? Ever since the media discovered the magical antioxidants in dark chocolate, we no longer need an excuse to buy our own candy -- year-round. Thus Valentine’s Day becomes just another day when it’s really hard to find a babysitter, and even harder to get a decent dinner reservation.

Presidents Day does not involve dining or sweets; therefore, it is useless.

And it may seem like the cruelest of jokes, but February 5th is…National Weatherman’s Day – celebrating the only people who get aroused by the term “Blizzard of the Century.”

Time-traveling from January to March isn’t a viable option (believe me, I’ve tried…but it only resulted in me standing in my kitchen with my eyes squeezed shut, fingers crossed, chanting something vaguely cuss-word-ish…and it’s really embarrassing when somebody walks in on that.)

Therefore, there is only one way to cope with February – cocooning. And, at the risk of seeming immodest, I’ve got cocooning down pat.

In fact, I’m pretty sure I could happily spend the entire month of February without stepping foot outside my house, if it weren’t for that pesky thing commonly referred to as a “job.”

Bringing me to the First Law of Cocooning: Call in sick – a lot. Tell your boss you’re suffering from an acute case of Cheimatophobia (fear of cold) which may be developing into Pagophobia (fear of ice or frost) and that both are highly contagious. (Listen, if you can correctly pronounce “Cheimatophobia” you’ve earned the right to a couple of days off.)

Second Law of Cocooning: You must stock up on groceries, preferably non-perishable items such as canned goods, shelf-stable milk, Ramen Noodles, and Velveeta. (Yes, one could argue that these are not actually edible foodstuffs. But they will call up fond memories of those ole college days.) Oh, and don’t forget the most essential food group -- dark chocolate.

Third Law of Cocooning: Everything you need to know, think, and buy is on the internet. Between networking sites like MySpace and Facebook, YouTube (best place to get your hard-hitting news stories, although they may be acted out with hand puppets) and an army of internet retailers happy to deliver whatever book Oprah commands you to read…well, the world is at your non-frostbitten fingers.

Have some relevant DVDs netflixed to your door: “Cabin Fever” (even if you’re chilly, at least you don’t have a horrifying flesh-eating virus); “28 Days Later” (at least you don’t have a horrifying virus that turns you into a flesh-eating zombie); or “Cocoon” (at least you’re not that old.)

What about the kiddies? Engage your children in a practical craft – helping you build light boxes for your bright light therapy. The SAD will be vanquished and the tots will learn valuable carpentry skills (as well as some funny new words when Mommy accidentally whacks thumb with hammer.)

Or, for a slightly less-practical activity, allow your youngsters to take the literal route and spin their very own cotton candy cocoon! Imagine the joy on your little ones’ faces as they encase themselves in sticky spun sugar. Priceless.

And how could we forget Dad? With no pesky football to distract him, he’ll be happy to play the role of manservant to Mom’s wrapped-in-blankets-from-head-to-toe queen. (A girl can dream, can’t she?)

So, there you have it. Everything you need for a perfectly satisfactory lifestyle, free from wind chill factor.

And this February, we’ve got a whole extra 29th day to enjoy! Yippee.


At February 12, 2008 6:25 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

You know in my adult life I've been out of work for at least a month, three times. All three times it was in the summer, which has it's positives, but I must say I would have liked to have tried being laid off from January-March just once. I don't want to leave the house most of the time during the winter - and you shouldn't have to.

Can I add to the laws? I think you need to have a decent supply of sweats - they're the perfect combo between pajamas and street clothes. They're comfortable and warm.

I'll probably have more for you.

At February 13, 2008 12:58 PM, Blogger Cyn said...

Mr. Speener -- YES!!! on the sweats (although I prefer to call them "loungewear.") I'm madly in love with some Old Navy polar fleece-esque pants I got last month on clearance -- I think technically they're pj pants, but they could pass for sweats (and thus acceptable for walking to the mailbox, entertaining the occcasional parent, etc.) Wearing them is like sitting on a cloud!

Of course, they're not available any longer, so ladies unless you bought them already you are just going to have to imagine what it's like to sit on a cloud.

I was trying to remember how many times I actually left the house last week. I think only three times. This week...um...what day is it? I haven't been out since Sunday. Not that I should be admitting that, except to show that I am trying to put my own advice into practice.

At February 16, 2008 2:11 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

In December we went to Seven Springs with friends for lounging in front of the fireplace - and I left my sweats at home. Did I drive 30 minutes to the nearest Walmart to get some? Why yes I did.

Sweats are the best invention since cheese whiz ;)


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