Living in the Polar Vortex |

Living in the Polar Vortex

You know it’s cold in North Dakota when they close schools, universities and airports and cancel garbage pickup.

With windchills causing temperatures to drop below minus 50 degrees in my home state, my Facebook feed filled up with memes about the cold weather.

For example one of my male Facebook friends posted, “Had gender change today. Not on purpose it’s that cold.” And then there was this one for all you horse lovers, “You know it’s cold when you trip over horse poop instead of stepping in it.”

And, several people threw cups of hot water into the air to watch the water turn to snow and steam.

One person shared a photo of a case of Pepsi that they left in their car overnight. Of course, it froze and exploded. Been there done that before.

Some people praised Andrew Freeman, who supposedly invented the head bolt heater for vehicles, which is a Godsend when it is cold.

If you can’t joke about it you better move to a place where winters aren’t as harsh.

But there is a very serious side to dangerously cold temperatures and windchills, especially for animals. Many farmers and ranchers have to brave the elements to feed their livestock. I remember when my father would have to be outside in freezing temperatures to feed the sheep, but he never complained about it because it was something that had to be done.

It is also dangerous for pets and I know several of my Facebook friends have taken in their pets and others that they find wandering in the cold.

There is also the danger of the power going out, which did happen in some areas in North Dakota and Minnesota. We, in the upper Midwest, are always grateful for the linemen, who go out in inclement weather to keep out electricity flowing. And, also appreciate the people who come out to fix furnaces.

But people who live in North Dakota are used to the cold and dress for it. Except for teenagers, they would rather freeze to death than wear socks or a coat in the dead of winter. So it is a good thing they closed the schools.

OK, I wasn’t so smart when I was young either. I used to make fun of my mother who in the winter always had a snowsuit, matches, a roll of toilet paper and some candy bars in the car. Then one winter I had car trouble and had to walk a couple of miles in sub zero temperatures. Learned my lesson. ❖