At this stage of the game there’s hardly anything more beautiful than blue sky. Blue sky, no wind, and balmy refrigerator-like temperatures in the 40’s. Bliss.
A few days ago a report hit the internet saying that Portland could be the most winter-fatigued city in the country for the 2016-2017 season. Five storms in five weeks, pushing and keeping us well beyond our winter norms for way too long. I would be happy to step up and accept that Most-Winter-Fatigued Award on behalf of everyone who lives in the part of the world.
It was exhausting, stressful business, especially for women who like me, live alone. On the home-front it took vigilance to keep my pipes from freezing, and near super-human strength to dig my car out, shovel my driveway and sidewalks and then help my elderly and disabled neighbors do the same. I’d go to work on very dangerous roads and come home to shovel more, including digging out another car and getting it to a safe place. I missed one weekend day of driving my car and it refused to start again. AAA was days away from being able to respond to my call because of the area-wide state of emergency. Because the car was dead in my driveway they suggested I wait at least 3 days before calling again.
I am blessed with friends who are willing to help where they can, and it felt like it took a village this time. Vera picked me up for church on Sunday morning and returned me home. Kay came over with her battery charger which didn’t perform well for us. After a time we moved on to jumper cables, and were spectacularly unsuccessful with both attempts working in that 15 degree wind-chill. Vera kindly returned to take me to work on Monday. Cindi ordered a Lyft car for me to get to a memorial service during the work day. While at the service friend Lori asked if she might have my car keys to give to her husband so he could have a look at my car. The battery was not cooperative so Doug called his mechanic son-in-law for consultation. Finally the car started. It took so much help to make one normally simple thing happen!
My struggles were easy compared to some of the women who work for my company; many of them single parents who are just making it. Their cars wouldn’t start, or were unsafe for driving on ice and snow. We ordered Lyft cars to get them where they needed to be so they could work, and we did the same for those who usually take public transit. Some stopped in at the office for various things, in pain from the cold and worried about what was going to happen next. It was a frightening time for people living on the edge, and lonely and stressful for many having to manage on their own.
Reading the winter-fatigue article this morning actually made me feel better—it was validating. The difficulty was real.
Today I’m sure that all of Portland feels the hope of good days ahead with the blue sky, sunshine and balmy temps. The weather people say we have a week of sunny days coming. I for one am very, very thankful.