When your nostrils freeze together…

If you live up here where January can be a real bitch sometimes, you’ve probably noticed weirdly familiar things happening to you and the bodies of those around you.

I say weirdly familiar because it’s been awhile, but you are suddenly very aware that you’ve felt like this before, sometime, in a frozen land far, far away…

Like the sensation of your  nostrils freezing together when you step outside to start your car and take your first breath …and then that other sensation of…what is it? Oh yeah, fuming rage. Fuming rage that sends steam boiling out of your ears and thaws out your icy nostrils when you discover that your car won’t start.

And when you stomp back into warm house, visible steam escapes out the open door as you rubbing your hands together while blowing your breath into them to help get the blood flowing again. And as you holler to your husband the news about the damn piece of crap car and you could use his help here, he informs you that Cliff the weatherman just reported that it is 14 degrees below zero out there.

You scoff at the thought. And as you start to spew the following phrases like, “So what?!”  That’s not that cold.”  “My car has started in those types of temperatures before.”  “The world is out to get me this morning.” and “Now would be a good time for a tropical vacation,” your sweet dear, husband, whom you’ve cut off in mid-sentence declaring war on the shitty Mazda you’ve been meaning to trade-in for a year now through partially frozen lips and snot dripping down your now thawed out nose, he politely interrupts you to ask you to guess what Cliff says it feels like out there with wind chill.

“35 below zero,” he says as he fills his giant coffee mug, not waiting for your guess.

“Damn you windchill,” you reply as you strip off your coat and contemplate whether the world would come to an end if you spent the rest of the day living it from underneath the covers.

What -38 with windchill looks like.

Are you with me here North Dakotans and Minnesotans who are currently under the Red Flag warning of an, and I quote, “Extreme Cold Warning”?

Insert sound of teeth chattering....

Yeah, they’re not kidding either. Yesterday husband came home and informed me that as he was walking outside at work the bottoms of his boots literally froze.

Yup. Like crackle, snap, pop went the soles of his supposed to be extreme temperature gear.


I don’t know about you, but all I can say is, we knew this was coming didn’t we? I mean, if we thought we were going to get through one full month of January without a couple days of “freeze your toes, nose, nipples, and ass off” cold, then we were all living in a fantasy world now weren’t we? A fantasy world where North Dakota in the winter could possibly be warmer than some parts of Texas in the same season.

It’s possible friends, but not for long.

So here we are, freezing our toes, nose, nipples and asses off. And for those of you who have ventured out from under the covers in the last few days to get to work, bring the kids to school, pick up milk, grab some soup, or fill up gas, to you I say, you’re looking sexy in your furry hat, wool scarf pulled up over your nose, leather mittens, giant boots, and your hoodie under your fleece jacket, under your down coat that hits just below the knees. Really, that’s a ravishing look on you.

I'm too sexy for these goggles, too sexy for these goggles...

For those of you who are sipping Mai Tais down in a place that has a palm tree or two, or sand, or cactuses or temperatures above forty degrees, I would like say two things:

1. I must have missed your call/text/email/written note inviting me to your house for the month of January because I haven’t yet received a call/text/email/written note inviting me to your house for the month of January. Which seems strange, because I am almost certain you said you were going to send it.


2.  Forget it, I am sure you sent it. I mean, we’re best friends right?  Get out the beach towels and the Speedos then because once I get my car started I’m on my way!

Until then me and the other durable and somewhat weather resistant northerners will be performing the following rituals to get us through this cold snap. Rituals like:

  • Running from the nearest heated building to our cars, heads down while holding our breath, shoving our hands in our pockets and jumping around like school-girls who have to pee as we fumble for our keys.
  • Greeting one another on the street, in the grocery store and at work with the following phrases: “Cold enough for ya?” “Stayin’ warm?” “Chilly out there isn’t it?” and my favorite “mmmwwwhhhhaaaa, shit, it’s cooolllddd out thheerrre!!!”
  • Pausing in the entryways of buildings for a few moments while our eyeballs thaw out
  • Sniffing. Constantly.
  • Asking our neighbors/friends/colleagues/children/mothers/grandfathers/sisters/people we’ve never met before if they have their hats/boots/scarves/giant blankets/fully charged cell phones/winter survival kits before they head out the door and into their cars
  • Dressing like this

  • Dressing our dogs like this

    Ok, this one might only apply to me...

  • Wondering if we’ll ever regain feeling in our toes/nose/nipples/ass. Ever.
  • Squinting before me make the forbidden decision to remove the duct tape husband has put over the thermostat controls along with a strict “do not touch” message in magic marker. I mean, you’re only going to nudge it up a degree or two more…(Ok, this one may also only apply to me…)
  • Taking photos of the temperature gauge on our vehicles or outside our homes and sending them to friends who we are sure will share in our astonishment.
  • Booking tropical vacations
Yup. It’s cold.
Damn cold.

So I’ll be seeing ya down south!

12 thoughts on “When your nostrils freeze together…

  1. LOL, Jessie..pretty much sums it up. Many things were postponed last night but not confirmation in good ‘ole Fargo. My 13 yr old son wined cuz it was too cold and the “What if’s” started. What if the car dies, ect. So he went to confirmation and I walked around Wally World. I saw a warm protector for the face and almost bought it but thought,”No, I’m from ND, I can handle it”. The sun is shining today so this helps but still darn cold out. I got my butt to the gym to work out but drove there. I live 3 blocks from the gym I work out at. After I was done decided to go to the mall..not really sure why except to wonder. I went to Bed, Bath and Body and they have all kinds of “Tropical Lotions” out. At this time I’m thinking of my friends in FL and HI. How nice it would be there for a cpl days. Outside I go and reality set in..far from tropical anything. Stay warm and stay warm. Nicole

  2. That poor pug!!

    I grew up in Toronto but have been subjected to the nostril-freeze/hurts-to-breathe when I visited Banff, Alberta last March (same temps. as you now have) and also in Montreal. Yowza!

  3. Hi, Jessie, I am glad it is you up there and not me! I am very interested in the photo of the tracks in the snow. What kind of creature made those? I don’t see how a 4 legged animal or a 2 legged bird could make single tracks in an almost straight line like that. Were you out there on a Pogo stick??? I live in Texas by the way, so I don’t know much about tracks in the snow. Lois

  4. We’re going to be receiving your icebox at this end tomorrow and I am ready–mac and cheese (2 boxes), hot chocolate, candy bars and some trashy magazines to occupy my time, while letting housework, projects and other productive stuff go to waste. I can watch Brad and Angie and their six kids romping in the Bahamas, while I wait this out. Or, I can go to the health club, work out and go for a swim, then a dip in the hot tub. I’ll probably do the latter on Saturday when my husband upends the sofa and says “This was your idea, you’d better get going.” Lots of luck, and I have a little giftie just for you when I go to the post office.

  5. Well Jess I was doing pretty well until you posted the EXTREME COLD WEATHER warning map!!!!! I moved to MN so I could say things like “Hah This is nothin Im a Prairie Girl from ND and then you really know what cold is”or “Quite your whining Im from ND” as I puff out my chest and walk out of the conveience store without gloves or hat.
    Nope not today based on the map that you forced me to look at. Seems it is actually as cold here, and I live smack dab in the middle of MN, as it is there. Glad I stayed home.
    Tomorrow Ill just tell them I was out ice fishing, or maybe cross country sking or maybe no really cleaning the stalls in the heated barn for my two incredibly spoiled mares who would blow a gasket if you requested they take their fat buts outside on a day like today….and in my flannel pajamas. Maybe this Prairie Girl will think about goin to town and braggin tomorrow….or I think we can make it till Sat……..

  6. I’d tell you that here in East Texas it is 64F this morning, shooting for 73 this afternoon, and that there are a hundred robins in the yard preparing to migrate, and that the flowering quince is loaded with blooms, but that might make you feel bad. Instead, I’ll make you feel better by telling you that my personal “best” in North Dakota was minus 52F.

    PS…We do have an extra guest room and a big fenced yard where the pug and the lab can play with our Shar Pei and Maltese.

  7. Pingback: On a green January day… « Meanwhile, back at the ranch…

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