Friday, February 29, 2008

Zero degrees

“It’s zero degrees outside. Check to see whether school is canceled,” my husband urged me.

I dragged myself out of bed to check the computer. Zero degrees Fahrenheit is minus 18 degrees Celsius, and that sounds even worse.

For Jacob, homeschool is certainly not canceled due to cold, but it’s possible that for our younger daughters, who are still in public school, school could be closed because of the low temperature. The combination of temperature and wind has to reach the equivalent of -20° F (-29° C), I believe, for school to be canceled due to danger of frostbite.

It was the third time this week that directly after I got up, I went to my computer and logged on to the local radio station’s website, the official station for school closings. I have found that going directly to the Web is the easiest way to check for closings.

“No school closings reported,” read the site. I announced this to my husband and daughter, much to her chagrin.

The ultra low temperatures this entire week have affected not just my body, but also my mood. The cold permeates everything, imparting a chill throughout the house that defies logic. The wood-burning stove can’t seem to take the edge off the cold. Why should I feel chilly sitting in front of a wood-burning stove that is blowing hot air? Sitting by a space heater didn’t stave off the chill, either. And the afghan on my lap didn’t help. You would think that the layers upon layers of clothes that I wear would warm me, yet still I feel cold. It’s as if the cold settled in my very bones, chilling me from the inside out. I can’t wait for spring…

I’m slowly getting used to staying home in the mornings. It’s not a difficult adjustment. My home office is quiet and conducive to concentrating on my technical writing. And being home with Jacob has a warmth to it, too – not in temperature, but in attitude. It warms my heart when Jacob comes to me and recites some facts from The Yanks Are Coming, some tidbit he just learned, some information I never knew. Did you know that rats attacked men in trenches during the First World War? Or that the Red Baron, the German flying ace, shot down 80 planes before he was killed? Jacob read me some rumors fabricated by both sides, rumors meant to scare and demoralize.

Other times Jacob reads me a passage from It’s a Jungle Out There, his currently assigned book by Ron Snell about his childhood as a missionary kid in the Peruvian jungles, his misadventures riding rapids, tipping canoes, escaping from wild boar. It warms my heart to see Jacob excited by the humorous writing, the descriptions, and the imagery of the book. We can actually have discussions, review vocabulary words, or talk about assignments.

It’s great to be home.

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What we have done for ourselves alone dies with us; what we have done for others and the world remains and is immortal.”
— Albert Pike, Scottish Rite Freemason (1809-1891)