Top 5 Things to Avoid in January

January is #1 on my list of Top 10 Months I Hate. Once Christmas is cleaned up and the work holidays are over, there’s no reason to put up with January’s cold, blizzardy, moody attitude. It’s Mother Nature’s version of PMS.

Because my boss insists I show up EVERY workday this month, I can’t just hibernate in pajama pants and watch Netflix. I have to prioritize my list of January crappiness to make sure I avoid the very worst parts of the month. Here are the Top 5 Things to Avoid in January.

1. Going Outside.  Not cool. Okay, it’s VERY cool, but not in a cool way. I walk my dog before and after work (he works from 9 to 5) and it’s dark, it’s miserable, it’s snowy and it’s soggy. And did I mention it’s cold? I wear so many layers I was once photographed and put on the cover of Yeti magazine.

yeti(Just me. Walking in a Winter Wonderland from Hell.)

2. Driving.  I’ve been driving in the snow since Ford introduced the Edsel. But if you’re not comfortable driving in the snow, don’t get on the freeway! That is not the place to practice snow driving. If you’re from a state that shuts down during a spring rain, don’t get in your car at all until April.

3. The Air. Salt Lake has some of the worst air in the country.  Go, Utah! Each winter, a choking, germy, evil cloak of smog settles into homes and lungs, only lifting when the annual winter virgin sacrifice is offered to our heathen gods. I’ve never been chosen for the virgin sacrifice. #Biased

4. Skiers. These snow-enthusiasts are the most horrible creatures on the planet. If you grew up too poor to ski, you developed an innate prejudice against all the wealthy skiers who hit the slopes each winter to slide down the mountains on a pair of toothpicks. Plus, you have to listen to how much fun they had on their ski trips when you only spent your weekend crying into a hot water bottle.

skier

(He’s having the time of his life! And you’ll hear about it for three months.)

5. Darkness.  If I wanted to live in a bleak, dark world of sadness and despair, I’d move to Washington, D.C.. In Utah, the sun rises around 11:30 a.m. then hangs around the sky like a petulant teenager before slamming the bedroom door and going to bed at 4 p.m. Even with the sun “shining”, the Stephen King fog (see #3) hovers like a vulture just waiting for us to drop dead from asphyxiation. So there’s that.

Unless you like driving in the snowy, cold, dark, poisonous wasteland of winter, avoid Salt Lake until June. If you’re a skier, take up chess.

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Things Driving Me Crazy With This Cold

Since Jan. 1, I’ve had colds, laryngitis, a sore throat, a short-lived case of the flu and a sinus infection. I’m tired of whining, and everyone in my family is sick of hearing me whine. Besides, everyone in Utah has a cold because It’s WINTER. Plus the smoggy inversion allows particles of radioactive pollution to filter down to the lower lobes of the lungs, causing all kinds of respiratory problems. I might as well take up smoking.

January was a blur of cold medicine, Kleenex, phlegm and doctor visits. Here is what drives me crazy about being sick:

  • Blowing my nose. I have tissues all over my home like I’m offering a soft-paper sacrifice to the cold/flu gods.
  • My face is so swollen from my sinus infection, I look like a jack-0′-lantern with hair.

pumpkin(You thought this was a pumpkin. Nope, it’s me watching Brooklyn Nine-Nine.)

  • Give me either a runny nose or congested sinus cavities–NOT BOTH!
  • Hearing myself whine. I sound like a nasally, moaning middle-aged woman who sucks helium in her spare time.
  • The crunchy eye boogers that stick to my eyelashes when I’m sleeping.
  • Congestion has me talking like a cartoon character.

droopy(“Coldth make me tho mad.”

  • Nothing tastes good. So I eat more, trying to remember how good it feels to taste chocolate.
  • Trying all the crazy cold remedies–that don’t work. Umckaloabo Root Extract? Hot Black Currant Juice? Slices of onions in my socks? Nope. But my feet smell like onion rings. That I can’t taste.

Now that it’s February, I’m hoping Mr. Cold/Flu/Pink-Eye leaves us alone. We’ve done our time.

 

Stages of Utah Snow

Snow sucks. I don’t care if you ski. I don’t care if you snowboard. I don’t care if you live in an igloo. There is no reason for snow to fall before winter officially starts–and don’t give me the, “Well, we need water to live” argument. Wah, wah, wah.

snow

Unfortunately, I live in Utah. Also, unfortunately, Utah tends to attract snowstorms (and crazy religious zealots). Here are the stages of snow acclimation:

Early Fall: The “snow’s a-coming” warning shot. Sometime during late September, early October, Mother Freaking Nature jolts us from our summer reverie with a blast of cold weather, and a freak snowstorm. Freak-Out Level: 5

October/November: After experiencing a month of frost-covered lawns and withered vegetables, the first real snow of the season lands in the valley. You wake up–and it’s just there, sneaking onto lawns while you were sleeping. Ringo the Dog likes this snowstorm. He comes bursting in through the doggie door to tell us about it. Dismal Level: 3

December: This is the only month when snow is acceptable. Period. And it has to be the big, fluffy, soft snowflakes that fall and land gently on your tongue before dissolving into a cotton-candy-ish residue. These gentle snowfalls are accompanied by Christmas carolers, brightly wrapped gifts and sugar cookies. Cozy Level: 4

gentle snow(If you listen closely, you can hear sleigh bells.)

January/February: Any snowstorm during this time is met with a WTF?!? level of craziness. I’m not sure why. I mean, it happens every year. These storms bring hard-as-hell snow “flakes”–more like snow “grenades.” Blizzards, white-outs, ice storms, frozen roads.  I spend two months living in hoodies and fleece blankets. Everyone whines about the snow, the cold, the inversion, etc. Dismal Level: 75

March: This bleak time of year is when snow melts to slush, refreezes and creates concrete-style bricks of ice along sidewalks, driveways, roads and porch steps. Everything is grey. Everything is cold. And if this continues past mid-March, people get really grumpy. Dismal Level: 94

April/May: Snow during these months should be considered illegal–and all residents should remain in their homes until the sun shines. Rain/snow/slush combinations are just dreary. Tulips, daffodils, crocuses–all the pretty flowers get buried in snow. They usually just give up at some point. Dismal Level: 228

daffodil

(“April Fool’s!!! Hahahahaha,” laughs Mother Freaking Nature.)

So, the snow-free times to visit Utah are June through August. Although it has snowed in June. And there was skiing on The Fourth of July a couple of years ago. Just keep mittens in your glove box at all times.