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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Best Signs in New England

Hubbie and I traveled to the East Coast to get away from it all–and wound up lost for several days. Driving around Massachusetts is equivalent to walking through a busy mall blindfolded, finding Nordstrom and selecting the EXACTLY right color of beige socks. Impossible.

boston

As we drove aimlessly through what looked like cannibal country, we saw several signs that made us chuckle. Which was good, because when we weren’t chuckling, we were cursing the Massachusetts cartographers and road engineers. To save you from an unnecessary drive through the Live Free or Die state, here are my favorite signs:

Cape Cod (1)

Yeah. Me, too. But I don’t want a sign in front of my house advertising the size of my a**.

DSC_1230

By the time we’d driven MILES in the wrong direction, a bowl full of soup sounded perfect.

DSC_1258

For people afraid of heights, this sign should have been comforting–if it hadn’t been posted on the rickety Charlestown Bridge. The bridge crosses the Charles River, and looks like it would crumble if people stomped across it.

Salem (1)

This town must have a problem with senior citizens darting out of shrubbery, jumping into traffic and dashing across the road. At least I didn’t see any elderly roadkill.

Portsmouth--NH (56)

How many New Englanders had to suffer a head injury before the city erected this warning sign?

Fenway (33)

Yeah. How often do you see THIS sign?

There. Now you never have to drive across Massachusetts.

Buckle Up

If you’ve driven past my car and I stared out at you from the passenger seat with a terrified expression, understand I wasn’t afraid of you–but of my chauffeur: My teenage daughter. In December, the State of Utah decided my daughter should be given a learner’s permit based on the fact that she’s breathing and a legal citizen.

One of her first questions: “When are you going to teach me how to text while I’m driving?”

“Hahahahaha! You’re so funny,” was my response. Until I realized she wasn’t joking.

For the last six months, I’ve endured scary left turns, close-call parking incidents, the freeway, two-wheel turns and four-way stops. I’ve aged 20 years since December and have prayed to every deity in the phone book. Moms are the original crash-test dummies.

(Mick’s first attempt at parallel parking)

Well, today, my baby turns 16. She’s passed her driver’s ed courses, done all the requisite driving (torture) with her mom and is ready (or so the State says) to take the keys to my car. All we need to do is go to the DMV, wait in line for a couple of days (don’t worry, I’m taking a book), pay a small fee (with additional fees attached), brace our insurance company and fill up the gas tank.

I don’t think it should be so easy. She’s 16 for hell’s sake! She can’t vote for president of the United States but she can hurtle down the freeway in a two-ton vehicle. God help us all. I’ve survived four daughters-worth of driver’s training. Now I just need to survive the next 50 years of worrying about them.