Arctic blasts and polar bears — oh my!

Published 8:20 pm Saturday, February 21, 2015

When we returned from a trip to Montana 10 years ago, I told my wife I was ready to move there. The magnificence of Glacier National Park, the incredible diversity of Yellowstone National Park and the vast expanses of the eastern portions of that state were breathtaking and provided some of the most memorable landscapes I’ve ever seen.

But we were there in May, and Annette — definitely the smart one in our marriage — pointed out that December and January in Montana would likely be a different story. Anywhere they measure snow by the foot is not a place we’d add to our retirement options, she said.

I figured that as long as I could get Internet service somehow, we’d be good to go, but she has steadfastly refused to budge on the matter.

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It doesn’t happen often, but this week I suggested that, while I might not have been “wrong” in the classical sense of the word, I was not also not exactly right, either.

Our taste of Montana winters this week has been enough to cause me to rethink my needs. Among those newly discovered needs are Fahrenheit temperatures that would be old enough to vote, streets that aren’t paved with ice and a knowledge of frostbite that is confined to the theoretical realm.

I’d be happy never again to hear the advice, “Don’t forget to drip your faucets,” though I’m glad for people like Realtor-friend Harry Cross who take the time to remind us to do so. Lots of people in Suffolk didn’t drip their faucets this week, and when the mercury dropped to single-digit-land, their pipes burst. Yes, Harry, you were right.

I’d be glad to press the brake pedal on my car, confident that I’m not going to slide into the next intersection, and I’d gladly forgo the use of my wife’s four-wheel drive pickup truck in exchange for a top-down cruise in the convertible.

It would bring me great joy to pack away my long underwear and go outside in something less than the 27 layers of clothing that give every movement the grace of the Michelin Man on a bender. And, while we’re on the subject, just who are these young fools I keep seeing in boots and shorts? I find myself pining for the day I can wear shorts again, but this week surely wasn’t the time for them.

With all the Arctic blasts and polar vortexes we’ve been experiencing, I fully expect to look out and see moose in the backyard. But I suspect they’re too afraid of the polar bears rummaging through our trash cans.

Come on, spring. You can’t get here soon enough.