How I survived the polar vortex

Before this week, I didn’t even know that there was such a thing as a polar vortex.

I just figured that sometimes, simply because it’s winter, we will have lousy weather.

Cold. Snow. Wind. Brrrrrr.

That it gets a specific name to validate its severity and prompt predictions that strike even more panic and terror in the hearts of those of us who brave grocery store chaos for bread, milk, toilet paper and chocolate, (not necessarily in that order) well, that’s just the kind of world we live in these days, I suppose.

I’m happy to report, either way, that I survived my first polar vortex, just as I have survived 50+ other winters bad, worse and dreadful.

And if the weather forecasts are true, today if you’re reading this, it’s during way more balmy outdoor conditions.

I have learned to cope with winter weather.

After all, I live in the Ohio Valley which gives us a taste of all the seasons whether we like them or not.

Unless I’m way off base here, every winter that I’ve ever lived through has had some element of winter weather to it, so the season produces few surprises.

I’ve actually been warmer this winter compared with others, thanks to hot flashes. Heck, I can turn down the thermostat and still be sweating. It doesn’t make me very popular in my household, but it’s my contribution to a lower gas bill.

When there’s the threat of a spell of wintry weather, I tend to think it’s going to be the kind of weather depicted in the movie “Fargo” – pretty darn bad. So I’ll go to the store to get a few things and come home with everything, including the wrong stuff.

Among the bagged necessities I lugged in earlier this week was something I can’t do without – coffee.

“That’s the wrong kind,” Better Half said without emotion as he held up the bag for inspection.

“That’s the brand I always get,” I challenged the purchase assessment.

“It’s decaf, dear,” he said solemnly.

I hate it when he’s right, and I hate it when I don’t read labels. Maybe my brain had fallen victim to wind chill exposure or something.

Decaf is the ultimate insult to a high-test coffee drinker.

Speaking of coffee, I worried about my horse of the same name being out in the elements with her buddy Tucker, my son’s horse. Sure they were in the barn that feels like a barn with the door left open.

I had half a notion to bring them in to the spare bedroom even if the sheets weren’t clean.

I like to cook when it’s cold. It seems like a good excuse to fire up the oven and make something artery clogging.

I made a tray of Little Smokies in crescent rolls, then dipped them in spicy mustard.

Me like these sassy foods on sedentary winter days.

I chowed down as I admired a spider plant with flower blooms and a begonia oblivious to the calendar’s January declaration.

Winter won’t linger.

And I’ll drink to that – anything but decaf, that is.

(Kiaski, a resident o Steubenville, is a staff columnist and features writer for the Herald-Star and The Weirton Daily Times and community editor for the Herald-Star. She can be contacted at