Category Archives: clothing

Keeping Warm in a “Polar Vortex”

I am writing you from what the weather people are referring to as the “polar vortex”. It sounds like   something straight out a science fiction novel, but it’s more of a horror story if you ask me. The temperature outside is currently -14 degrees and the high today is supposed to be 0. That isn’t even factoring in the wind chill. You don’t want to know about the wind chill. We also have about 18 inches of snow.

I do not like cold weather. My Daddy lived in Florida for years before I was born, and had he met my mother there, I might have been a beach bunny; instead, he came home to Michigan and I was born in a state where phrases like polar vortex are coined. My Cerebral Palsy does not make the cold any easier; as soon as the temperature drops below freezing, my muscles tense up so much that I can barely move and my joints begin to give me grief. So you can imagine that my number one priority during this record breaking weather event has been to stay warm.

The first few days were easy. I was off work and spent my days in my sewing room where it is nice and toasty. Tuesday, however, I had to return to work, which meant I had to grit my teeth and face the cold weather head on. I was only going to be outside for a few minutes, but in subzero temperatures, that’s all it takes for your skin to freeze. So I made sure I was well prepared.

Two of the most essential items you need in order to keep warm in weather like this are a scarf and a hat. A scarf is important because it helps keep your airways warm, which makes it easier to breathe; and it helps to warm the air around your nose and mouth so that your lungs don’t get shocked by that super cold air. I would recommend a knitted scarf made of wool or other warm material. Your head is where you lose the majority of your body heat, according to my mother and many others, so a hat will keep your body heat where it belongs, in your body.

The next item in my cold weather armory is my Omni-Heat jacket by Columbia. It is lined with a shiny material that helps trap your body heat and consists of two layers, making it both warm and waterproof. It also has these neat little hand protectors attached to the sleeves that fit over your thumbs to help keep the air from blowing up your sleeves. This is a huge problem when I am using my power chair because my arms are usually in a position where the air can blow right in. It also keeps the snow out of my sleeves when I fall.

One thing I really have to keep warm is my legs. My sister and I both have scrawny legs, but mine are extra scrawny do to my CP. In these temperatures, I would love to be able to wear my fleece lined jeans, but they are not exactly appropriate for work. Instead I wear fleece leggings under my work pants along with calf length socks and high boots.

Despite all these layers I am still cold and cannot wait to get home and bury myself under a pile of warm blankets and cats; but until then, I at least know I won’t freeze to death. If you ever find yourself in the middle of a polar vortex, stay inside. But if you can’t, these essentials should help keep you safe and at least a little warmer.

Are You Afraid of the Dark?

This weekend, Michigan’s weather forecast predicted a pretty bad storm. Heavy rains, high winds and even possible tornadoes. Most of us paid little attention to the forecast.  After all, Michigan weathermen cry ‘bad storms’ more than Peter cried wolf. This time, however, the weatherman wasn’t kidding. This storm was a doozie, mostly because of the wind. There was plenty of damage done during the storm, and many people lost power for days afterwards.

Our power flickered a few times and then finally went out for good at eight o’clock on Sunday night. It didn’t come back on for 26 hours. How did I survive? With the help of a good blanket, a good book, some wine and my husband’s baseball cap.

The wine and the blanket kept me warm. Though, to be honest, the wine had the dual purpose of drowning out another type of whine coming from other members of the household. My husband and my cats simply cannot tolerate a power outage; especially when, “the house three doors down has lights, why don’t we?” The book kept the hours ticking away at a steady pace; but that hat was the real key to my survival.

I am sure you are asking yourself, “How can a mere baseball cap help one survive a power outage?” Well, this is no ordinary hat. This is an ingenious hat. A hat designed for lazy people; and we all know that those kinds of inventions are usually quite helpful for people with disabilities.

This brilliant hat is a lighted baseball cap. The bill of this hat discreetly houses a set of small, L.E.D. lights, along with a little wired button for turning it on and off. Not only was I able to read my book with ease, but when I inevitably got up to use the bathroom (I was drinking wine, after all), I didn’t have to juggle a flashlight, or worse, a hot candle. The beam of light from this hat is not obnoxious either; it won’t blind your pets or your people. It gives just enough light to comfortably see by.

Granted, this is not the first time I have used my husband’s baseball cap. When there isn’t a power outage, I have used it to conveniently create a little more light while I am hand sewing on couch. I also use it when I want to read in bed and my husband is asleep.

For some reason, this hat is only marketed for men, so the color selections sucks; but I am willing to forgo fashion for practicality. Especially during a power outage when no one can see me anyway.

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