Winter

We had our first blast of winter weather on Saturday, snowing all day, bitterly cold.  It was the kind of day when you just want to stay inside and not move from the couch and/or bed.  Unfortunately, I had to do some errands in the morning (including meeting with my painter – work on the house is progressing and it looks like we should be home in February, or at least that’s what I’m aiming for), but I managed to return home before any significant accumulation.  I even blew off my volunteering gig at the shelter – in fact, my daughter was working there, so she was able to ease my guilt a little by saying that the cat rooms were clean and I wasn’t really needed – and just holed up with the fur kids.

While the wind whipped the powdery snow outside, my abode was uncharacteristically cold.  Sometimes my apartment is so hot I have to keep windows and even the terrace door open to allow some cooling air.  But evidently the building’s heating system was either set for conserving energy or on the fritz.  At one point, it was so chilly that I cuddled up in the bed for a brief nap with the boys and also, interestingly, Mimi, who somehow managed to hoist her 15-year-old body up on to the bed.

It wasn’t as difficult as I thought it would be to dig my car out of a public parking spot.  Luckily I was right in front of the building and the plows didn’t block me in.  The snow probably won’t melt right away because the temperatures are going to be below freezing for at least the next few days (although back up into the 50s by Wednesday – a very odd state of affairs weather-wise) but it was very dry and easily swept aside.  When I move back home, I’ll have covered parking so I will be able to avoid major car-shoveling, although I must admit I was surprised by how much snow had blown into the carport when I was there.

I really hate the winter; I’ve written about it before [“The Blizzard of 2016 and Some Thoughts About My Job,” 1/27/16, among others].  The only thing that gets me through is, of course, my Rangers, who have been giving me more pleasure than pain so far this season.

I don’t know how I feel about this mandatory five-day hiatus for each team in the NHL between the first of the year and April 9, and there will even be another forced break for the All-Star festivities at the end of January.  Ostensibly the bye week was instituted at the request of the NHL Players Association, but it created a situation where the schedule has been condensed and the timing may be unfortunate for many teams – let’s say they’re on a hot streak and now they have to quit for five days, especially coming so soon after the holiday break.  On the other hand, it gives the players a chance to heal from the inevitable bumps and bruises that everyone suffers from at this halfway point of the season.

For the Rangers, they’ve gone into their forced vacation on a high note, with two strong performances against divisional opponents.  In their last game before the break on Saturday night, against the red-hot Columbus Blue Jackets, they had to come from behind after giving up early goals (an all-too-common habit that really needs to stop) but showed the grit and fortitude to rebound and put some pucks in the net and end the game in spectacular fashion.  Where I was content for them to protect the point and maybe go for two in OT, speedster Michael Grabner came in on one of his patented once-a-game breakaways and put the contest away with 16.5 seconds remaining.  Yay, Rangers.

Katie Baker, one of my favorite writers about hockey (and other topics), had an article the other day  in The Ringer covering the highs, lows, mosts and leasts of the first half of the NHL season.  [Katie Baker, “The Off-Kilter NHL Midseason Awards,” The Ringer, 1/2/17, https://theringer.com/the-best-and-worst-of-the-nhl-season-so-far-21a5bb91b83b#.1javpov3u]  Her take on the Rangers was interesting.  (She is a fan, it must be said, but fans are often the Rangers’ harshest critics.)  She talked about how they have shown brilliant highs and crushing lows so far this season, potting tons of goals but also occasionally porous on defense (including in that category the usually infallible King Henrik).  I don’t disagree.  But the thing that has struck me most about the Rangers this season is, despite their inconsistencies on the scoreboard, they are remarkably consistent when it comes to winning.  They have more wins (and more games, but still . . . ) than any other team in the league.  They’ve lost two in a row in regulation only once this season (although admittedly those were two colossal tanks).  They have winning records both at home and on the road (although I would love to see them absolutely kill it at home and never disappoint the fans who spend a ton of money just to see them; to have them throw up a stinker like they did against Buffalo the other night is just embarrassing).

So I’ll have to find some other sources of entertainment for the next five days, until the boys return to the ice.  Some possibilities?  Maybe some movies or TV series?  I’ve been seriously considering getting Netflix again, especially now that they have so much original content (“Orange is the New Black,” “Stranger Things”), plus it will give me a chance to check out some other series that I’ve somehow missed in their entirety (“Breaking Bad”, “Orphan Black”, “How To Get Away With Murder”).  Maybe I’ll catch up on my podcasts.  I haven’t listened to “Marek v. Wyshynski” all season, nor Greg Wyshynski’s other podcast, “Puck Soup”.  I’ve also sort of abandoned my cousin George’s podcast, “The George and Tony Entertainment Show,” which he has diligently been posting every week for over two years now.  His co-host Tony actually left the show recently, but George has become such a good interviewer, and has developed such a dependable stable of permanent substitute co-hosts (including, most recently, his wife Connie, who was a natural – they sounded like an old married couple, maybe because they actually ARE an old (adorable) married couple!), that he has managed to carry on without the eponymous Tony.

I can catch up on my reading.  I recently finished The Girl on a Train by Paula Hawkins, and I’m almost done with A Reliable Wife by Robert Goolrick, both of which were lent to me by my friend Marcia from work.  Soon it will be time for a trip to the local library to tackle my book list (always including a bonus graphic novel, usually at the recommendation of cousin George, who is the comics expert).  I could also work on what I call my “CD restoration project,” which involves saving all the songs I have on the computer (or in some cases in the “cloud”, whatever that means)  to CD, so if my computer ever crashes again, I’ll have a recoverable version of every song I currently have in my music library.  I’m also making playlists for my friend Wendy while she’s recovering from a debilitating bout with chemo.  It’s been fun going through my collection A to Z to cull some of my favorite tunes for one of my favorite people.

So I have plenty to keep me busy for the next five days, the next six weeks or so (before I move back home) and the next few months, before the torture of winter will be over and spring will come again.

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