Surviving The Polar Vortex

I’m sure we’ve all heard about the polar vortex that hid the midwest this week.  I’ve been through a few harsh winters, a couple of them have damaged my home and I’m just hoping that I’m protected well enough now.

As I write this, it is only -11 degrees F with a wind chill of -31 in Chicago.  I’m lucky enough to work from home, so I didn’t have to worry about commuting.  My wife works downtown, but her firm closed today and she has the option to work from home tomorrow as well.

We have enough food for the week, so the only reason to leave the house at all during these three coldest days is to take our dog out.

Time to show off some chilly looking cards

My dog absolutely loves walking and being in the snow to the point where he ignores his pain just to sniff a few more tracks or trees.  In this weather, it’s rough because the sidewalk is heavily salted and it gets in his paw pads and he’s hurting before he can even get to our normal areas.

Someone done froze the border

So, one way we prepared was to buy a new set of boots for him. We’ve tried some before, but he’s a big fluff ball and they don’t fit and he’s not happy about us putting anything on, so he tries to take them off instantly if they fit.  These are much better. They’re like socks with velcro straps so it’s easy to put on.  No salt or snow clumps getting stuck in his pads now.

Oh no! The snow is falling in Wrigley

But we can’t walk for these three days which is confusing for him. We’re staying in the front yard (which we’re not supposed to do) so we can be out and in as soon as possible.

Icy windshield

That’s pretty important.  I’m outside for less than 5 minutes at a time and my throat and nose have been irritated for the entire day.  Amazing how rough it is, even with your back to the wind.

I don’t know. Snow sparkles, I hear. You can fall in the snow.

They say that in this weather that you shouldn’t even talk outside because it lets more cold air in that could freeze your sinuses.  I certainly believe it.

You need good tires to drive in this stuff

I’m thankful that my heater works and that I changed the filter not too long ago.

Visibility may be limited if the snow drifts too much in the wind

I’m also thankful that we did have those house issues in those previously bitter cold winters, because that forced us to open up some drywall and further insulate our kitchen pipes and find an area where cold air could get in to patch it up.  Other units along this row have had those pipes burst.  Still, our fridge water dispenser will freeze and has done so today. That’s why we bought bottled water a week ago in preparation and still keep the sink running at a trickle.

It’s so cold the walls are freezing over

Our major house issues came about when there were massive snows and then shortly after, it rained.  We’ve been okay for a couple years, but I’m still very worried about it all.  Because, guess what….

The real scary stuff

Within a few days, they’re talking about 40-50 degree weather and possible storms.  Surviving the polar vortex seems pretty easy with a working heater.  Surviving the storms after the recent snowfalls may be another matter.  Nature is dangerous.

4 comments to Surviving The Polar Vortex

  • 25 years ago this month, I moved to a new apartment in a new city. That weekend, a cold snap hit and it was 30 to 40 below (this is without wind chill) for a week. I’ve never been so cold.

    It gets to 20 below just about every winter around here, but every time I hear about an extended cold snap like you’re going through I think of that week in 1994 and wonder how I got through it.

  • Freezing pipes are the worst… went through that miss at our previous house. Although we haven’t had a problem at this address, this past summer we decided to add more insulation just in case. Glad we did!

  • sanjosefuji

    Hope you’re staying warm and safe.

    P.S. That Obak Heyward is fantastic!

  • Jon

    N.O. – I can’t imagine having to do this every year. I don’t know why you’d stay there with -20 all the time. We’ve been talking about moving somewhere warmer for a while and this is accelerating the discussion. We just need to find the right city.

    Tom – Smart move! I hope it keeps working out for you. I’m very paranoid something will still go wrong. There’s so much you can’t plan for!

    Fuji – Thanks! We’re trying our best. The Obak is listed as being from the 2010 NSCC. I think it was a VIP pack promotion thing. The lightning looks cool for sure.

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