Kokomo Tribune; Kokomo, Indiana

January 10, 2014

This cold is no joke

Kokomo Tribune

---- — I took a shortcut through my apartment complex Monday morning. Bad idea.

I needed a shovel to dig my car out. Yeah, I was the idiot who didn’t buy one when forecasters started predicting a snowpocalypse a week or two ago.

Anyway, I thought the front office might have one I could borrow. But instead of taking the long way to the office – through the plowed parking lots – I decided it would be much easier to cut through the playground blanketed in snow. It had to be faster, my confused brain thought. And speed is important when it feels like -36 degrees outside.

I was fine at first. The snow was only about 10 inches deep. It didn’t even hit the top of my bulky snow boots.

I didn’t account for the dip in the ground, though. It was conveniently hidden at the time. Suddenly, I was up to my knees in cold, wet snow and trudging toward the office.

And to add insult to injury, I realized when I got to the door that the office wasn’t even open. By that time, a minute or two had passed. My snow-soaked pants were freezing my legs.

My mind started racing. How long until my legs are frostbitten and have to be cut off? OK, that might be a little melodramatic. But who thinks clearly when it’s that cold out.

Nevertheless, I sprinted back to my apartment – through the plowed parking lots this time. I immediately pulled my pants off and examined my legs.

They were really red and so cold to the touch, but it probably wasn’t life threatening, I realized.

That all happened in a span of about five minutes. That kind of cold isn’t anything to joke about, people.

The whole fiasco got me thinking about a story I wrote last week on protecting pets in the bitter cold. The local humane society director pleaded with people to bring their animals inside when temperatures plummeted.

I hope everyone heeded her advice.

I was wearing pants, boots, a sweatshirt, fleece jacket, coat with hood, scarf, sock hat and gloves Monday and still froze in less than 10 minutes when I sank into the snow.

What about a dog with no clothes? Sure they have their fur, but vets say that isn’t enough to protect them when the temperatures fall below zero.

I just have this vision of a dog, its sad eyes looking up at me, barking for help as it’s buried in snow with icicles hanging from its fur.

Maybe that’s an extreme vision, but it couldn’t have been fun to be stuck outside for hours on end in sub-zero temperatures.

Quite frankly, I don’t know how anything – including deer, squirrels and birds – survived in the extreme weather we had this week. But at least the deer and squirrels and birds have survival instincts.

We’ve domesticated cats and dogs. They trust us to take care of them.

So if you left your pet outside and they survived, I’m glad. But maybe you should pamper them a little now. Give them a few extra treats or let them warm up inside for a few minutes to let them know that yes, you do still love them.

I know if someone locked me outside in this weather, I’d never wag my tail for them or give them sloppy kisses again.

-Lindsey Ziliak

[friday] editor / snow my goodness