Deep freeze

It’s cold. Not the wimpy kind of cold we Torontonians generally moan about — inducing much eye rolling from other parts of the country, except the west coast of BC, of course — but real cold. 22 below zero cold, with a -36C wind chill.

The first clue that today was even colder than yesterday was when I let the dog out this morning, and my fingers stuck to the metal doorknob — on the inside! My second clue was when I tried to run the shower, and nothing came out but scalding hot water. The cold water pipes have frozen on the outside wall of the building. It could be worse — at least we have hot water, and the cold water is running in the kitchen. I managed to avoid second degree burns by using the watering cans to ferry cold water to the tub.

The third clue owes its dues to Murphy’s Law. The streetcar stop is right outside my door, and runs every 5 minutes during rush hour. This morning I waited with a dozen other miserable commuters, perfect strangers huddled for warmth as far as propriety would allow, waiting for a streetcar that never arrived. Every once in a while someone would break from the crowd to run and stand in the middle of the road, peering anxiously down the street to see if it was coming while the rest of us watched hopefully. Repeated disappointment induced disgusted shaking of heads and stamping of feet. Finally the stamping turned into a stampede of people speed-walking several blocks up to the subway station, suffering all the way. By the time I burst through the doors, my nostrils were stuck together, my forehead and ears were burning, my eyes were streaming, and my thighs were numb. So were my fingers, and it took several tries to hold the token long enough to push it into the slot to let me through the turnstiles.

After listening patiently to my whining (a taste of which you have just experienced), Laird told me he is taking me to Mountain Equipment Co-op tomorrow to buy me a warm down jacket with a hood. I keep borrowing his, so the joke is that only one of us can go outside at a time.

Tonight when I let the dog out, I spotted the raccoon huddled in the tree branches beside the deck, looking miserable. He was gazing sadly at the door, aware that therein lay warmth, orchids to chew, and a big bag of pet food to raid. I really felt sorry for him. So, God help me, I put out some dog food. He gobbled it down, and I refilled it. He looked at me, I looked at him and we called a truce for the moment. Once the cold breaks, the free lunch is over, buster.