Mother Nature in throes of menopause

Saturday, April 14, 2007 | 12:00 a.m. CDT; updated 7:31 p.m. CDT, Sunday, July 20, 2008
Columnist Sharon Harl

Here it is the middle of April and I’m writing this column with a blanket thrown across my shoulders. Me! The queen of hot flashes has been freezing for most of the last three months.

I have a difficult time relating to all of the hoopla about global warming — I’d just like to see some warmth around my fingers and toes. I don’t much care for winter once I get past the white Christmas part. After I’ve taken down the ornaments and pitched the peppermint candy canes I start looking at seed catalogs. I don’t ever buy from those catalogs — I wouldn’t know what to do with embryo plants — but just looking at the pictures of gorgeous flowers lifts my spirits.

Because of the bizarre weather, I actually got to use the ergonomically correct snow shovel I bought three years ago. After shoveling for more than an hour I decided I want a refund. I could use the money to help pay for my chiropractic visits. I also bought a pair of snow boots. Not the cutesy ones with faux fur that take on water like a leaky rowboat, I got the heavy-duty kind that plumbers and fly fishermen wear. I also had to buy “real” gloves and a stocking cap. I had bad hair for almost a week after the few hours my locks were trapped beneath the crocheted wool.

Because I didn’t go out much, I spent hours on my computer. I googled every disease I could think of and I’m ready to play Spider Solitaire professionally. I also shopped a lot online. I think I went a bit overboard. I bought jewelry I’ll never wear and clothing with little ducks and bears I swore off a decade ago. I have gadgets I don’t need and gizmos I’ll never use. I knew I had crossed the line when I bought a George Foreman grill — I already have two.

The winter months are not good for my body. I reasoned it was too cold to walk outside. I have a membership to the ARC — but I didn’t want to put my coat in a locker so I opted for in-home exercise. Since the first of the year, I walked into my workout room at least a dozen times. Once, I actually got on my treadmill and walked about three minutes until the phone rang and saved me. I lifted my eight-pound weights one morning but I was so sore the next day I never picked them up again. By February I had gained 10 pounds so I decided to only snack on 100-calorie pre-packaged food. After I’d gained another five pounds I realized that 12 times 100 should be my entire daily intake.

When March blew in and the temperatures soared, so did my mood. I ran outside and almost started skipping (operative word here is almost) I was so happy. When I turned off the furnace I swear I think it sighed. I threw open windows and stripped the beds of their flannel sheets. I packed all of my winter duds and brought down my spring and summer clothes. My closet suddenly changed from dark to bright. I traded my heavy black knit pants for lightweight black knit pants. And when I unpacked my beloved flip flops, I almost wept with joy. I had made it through another winter without killing anyone or having to take medication. Now I could look forward to green grass and fields of flowers.

Having lived in Missouri most of my life I knew we’d have a cold snap — a day or two when the temperature would plummet to the high 40s — so I was prepared. I left one sweatshirt in my closet and one turtleneck for my husband.

Then winter returned. I think Mother Nature must be in the throes of peri-menopause because she turned mean this past month. I had to turn on the furnace and remake the bed with flannel sheets. I even prepared a pot of chili — but I refused to tramp up to the attic to retrieve my winter clothes.

My husband begged, but his pleading fell on deaf ears. Day after day, when the temperature never crawled above freezing, I would run into the store coatless, my feet almost naked in my sandals. I was able to cut two tulips before the patch in front of my window froze to death. I mowed the yard and almost killed myself when the mower slipped on a patch of ice. But all of that is behind me now. Everyday the temperature climbs along with my mental state. I figure I’ve got about six good weeks before I start whining about the heat.

If you have a comment or want to show me how to plant flowers that won’t fail please e-mail me at

Like what you see here? Become a member.

Show Me the Errors (What's this?)

Report corrections or additions here. Leave comments below here.

You must be logged in to participate in the Show Me the Errors contest.


Leave a comment

Speak up and join the conversation! Make sure to follow the guidelines outlined below and register with our site. You must be logged in to comment. (Our full comment policy is here.)

  • Don't use obscene, profane or vulgar language.
  • Don't use language that makes personal attacks on fellow commenters or discriminates based on race, religion, gender or ethnicity.
  • Use your real first and last name when registering on the website. It will be published with every comment. (Read why we ask for that here.)
  • Don’t solicit or promote businesses.

We are not able to monitor every comment that comes through. If you see something objectionable, please click the "Report comment" link.

You must be logged in to comment.

Forget your password?

Don't have an account? Register here.