Lovin' Life Graphic

After the reasonably nice weather we’ve had the past week, I’m not predicting anything ever again, at least about the weather. I’ll leave that up to the Old Farmers of the Almanac fame. They use the tried and true method of tracking sunspots.

I was bracing for snow, but they aren’t calling for a lot of snow in our neck of the woods between now and spring.

The inch or two over we had Thanksgiving was gone the next day, and we had a just dusting a couple of weeks ago, which suits me just fine. Don’t get me wrong. I’m not necessarily anti-snow, but when it gets so deep we can’t see the car, we are more or less cooped up in our house in Magdalena, and cabin fever can set in.

I’m talking about those not-uncommon January mornings when Highway 60 is all iced up and snow-packed, and nmroads.com says “difficult driving conditions,” it’s not exactly a feel-good Courier and Ives picture moment. With me being such a jellyfish about driving in those conditions, especially after my history of risking life and limb vehiculating on snow-packed mountain roads in Colorado and spinning on the black ice of Tennessee, I’ve had enough, and to paraphrase Greyhound, leave the driving to my wife.

Did I just write “vehiculating?”

I’ve heard the Inuit and other Eskimo peoples in northern climes have something like 99 different words to describe snow. I’m not sure if that’s precisely true, but I could find a few choice words for the mess it makes of things, as well as my wife for the mess I make on the living room floor make when I come in with icy, wet boots.

Anyway, when the wind is blowing, and you look out the window and it keeps snowing and drifting up higher and higher, it seems like the world has temporarily stopped. Everyday wants and worries are put on hold, and survival mode kicks in. Bring in another armload of wood. Get the candles ready. Check the propane tank. Spread the pallets by the heater.

Me, I want to eat. Pack in another inch or two of body fat. That’s my subconscious talking to my subcutaneous, if I may. Nature’s answer to staying warm. Well...that, and not dying of starvation.

For me, hot food is the remedy. Not hot like a frying pan, but hot like what is being cooked in the frying pan. Hot like the steam coming out of a hamburger after that first bite. Warm gravy over hot biscuits with a garnish of green chile. Hot like a cheese enchilada with red chile and a fried egg on top at Sofia’s.

Well, you get the idea. It’s just that my appetite that seems to be governed by the weather. Accordingly, last weekend my wife made a pot of her secret recipe chicken noodle soup. A sure cure for the common cold. And possibly for the flu, regardless of that bacterial versus viral thing, but please don’t quote me on that. What you can quote me on is: go ahead and get that flu shot.

Or should I say, “influenza,” which makes it sound as serious as it really is. Like, you can die from it. I just read that over 170 million doses of flu vaccine have been distributed to date this cold and flu season. I’ve had my shot so luckily I’ve only had to deal with the flue on our woodstove. But, never mind.

It’s been a few years since I came down with a full-blown bed-ridden feverish bad cold, but there’s always some sort of stuffy head and chest congestion lingering right around the corner.

It was such the case last week when I found myself nervously asking the pharmacist for a decongestant with pseudoephedrine. Nervous, because he was asking about my blood pressure and allergies and what-not, and I was standing there wondering if he thought I was going to go back home and cook up a batch of methamphetamine.

Times have gotten weird.

Used to be, you’d take a couple of aspirins, sip on flat Seven-Up and blow your nose raw. Now you stand in front of racks and racks of store-bought remedies trying to take an educated guess as to which over-the-counter wonder drug will fix you up. Do I need a decongestant or an antihistamine? Chlorpheniramine maleate? Phenylephrine? Loratadine? Diphenhydramine HCL? My goodness.

Then there’s Vitamin C with zinc, echinacea with zinc, probiotics with zinc, and just zinc. And don’t forget the adhesive strip that stretches out your nostrils. Which sounds like another job for duct tape.

Growing up, we didn’t get much more than Vicks Vapo-Rub and the dreaded mustard plaster. That was back when the back of our mother’s hand was more accurate than a mercury thermometer. She’d also have us drink lots of water. Of course, these days you don’t drink water; you “hydrate.”

Now if you don’t mind, I’m going into the bathroom to make a mess with my neti-pot.