I don’t think North Dakotans are under any misapprehension that it gets cold around here; there is, however, some inconsistency as to when it happens. I personally don’t officially acknowledge winter weather until two things occur: 1) I turn on the furnace; and 2) I need to wear socks.
A few days ago, our digital weather systems – we have two, one in the front of the house and one in the back, because my husband doesn’t trust the sun – both read 24 degrees. A gentle dusting of snow was beginning to fall from a blue-grey sky. I was working diligently at our dining room table, wearing both a sweater and a sweatshirt.
“Do you think we should turn on the heat?” My husband, Kyle, asked, blowing on his hands as ice crystals began to form in his coffee.
I looked at the thermostat. We had turned it from “Cool” to “Off” a while back in our annual fall-time ritual where we make a big show of opening the windows and forcing our children to breathe fresh air. The digital reader on the thermostat was frosted over, but I’m pretty sure it read 62 degrees.
“No, it’s supposed to warm up,” I said.
“When?” Kyle asked.
“Well, springtime, for sure,” I said, as a family of penguins waddled through the room.
For someone who goes out of her way to avoid mild inconveniences, I will live with refrigerator-like temperatures in my home if I think there’s even an inkling of a chance for 50-degree weather in the next 30 calendar days. The thing is this: once I turn on the furnace, I’m acknowledging that I’m cold. Cold is such a subjective feeling when you’re a North Dakotan because 30 degrees in October is glacial and 30 degrees in March is hot enough to cook an egg on the sidewalk. Using that logic, my theory is that if I don’t know that it’s cold, it’s not cold.
I have a similar feeling about socks.
In Laura Ingalls Wilder’s book “On the Banks of Plum Creek,” as soon as the frost is out of the ground, Ma packs away the children’s shoes and Laura and her sister go barefoot until the following winter. A recurring theme in our marriage is Kyle’s disappointment in my shoe choices. It’s a fair concern – I once went pheasant hunting in ballet flats – but I’ve come to realize the problem is much less with the shoes, and much more with the lack of socks. Because, like Laura Ingalls Wilder, I will only wear socks if there’s three feet of snow on the ground.
Case in point: it was snowing the other day when I dropped the boys off at school, and so I naturally put on a down coat, stocking cap, and gloves to keep warm. I also wore flip-flops, because it’s October and not January. When I got home, I noticed that Kyle tucked my flip-flops in the hall closet and set out my much-more-sensible-but-requiring-of-socks boots. I have since compromised by wearing slippers, because it’s definitely not cold enough for socks.
Speaking of socks, here’s an older story of one of my chillier Halloweens. And speaking of October, I was sitting at the aforementioned dining room table when the sun came over the trees just right and turned everything a brilliant gold – the photo is above. And speaking of North Dakota, here’s this week’s news – about National Adoption Month, some young honorary deputy sheriffs, and ornament makers. Read on.
November is National Adoption Month, and so the Roman Family in Jamestown is holding a toy drive to make sure that foster kids have something of their own. (Jamestown Sun)
Even though Homecoming has been cancelled, NDSU students are getting out to “Serve the Herd” around the Fargo area. (KVRR)
Seventy-two North Dakota National Guardsmen are off to Washington D.C. for a national mission. (KX Net)
Three Glen Ullin teenagers helped a deputy sheriff with an arrest, and got an award for it. (Bismarck Tribune)
Have a field photo that you’re itchin’ to share? The ND Corn Growers Association is looking for corn-related photos for their annual contest. (Jamestown Sun)
Minot’s Nancy Pietsch has published her first poetry book. (Minot Daily News)
My sons will bypass two bathrooms to go outside to go to the bathroom, so they would be all over this fancy outhouse in Harvey. (Fargo Forum)
There are 30 children in North Dakota looking for families through Adults Adopting Special Kids, an organization which helps place kids that are older, of a minority race, in a sibling group, or have physical, emotional, or psychological needs. (KFYR TV)
Mandan 4-Hers are beading up ornaments for the State Christmas Tree at the Morton County Law Enforcement Center. (Bismarck Tribune)
A good reminder for Katie Pinke to say thank you to the people who keep us humming. (Dickinson Press)
Twelve artists have been hired to paint murals in Bismarck’s Art Alley, including Mahalia Mees, who is featured in this article by KFYR TV. (KFYR TV)
Congratulations to Shawnee Kasemen, the newly-crowned Miss North Dakota! (McIntosh County Star Tribune)
Ten North Dakotans were honored by the National Extension Association for Family and Consumer Sciences for their work on health and nutrition programs for children. (McKenzie County Farmer)