Tuesday, January 22, 2013

Baby it's COLD Outside!

Whew!  I woke up this morning and the temp is a whole 11 degrees.  With the windchill, it's at a minus 4 degrees outside!  Harley and Auggie were NOT fans of going out this morning and they made it a quick trip.  Now, I am not complaining-per se, because I know that it is much colder elsewhere.  I have friends in Northern Maine who have temps below freezing with 20-25mph winds today making it -45-50!  My hubby is up in MA this week and he has had snow since last night with more to come. That said, one reason we moved south of the Mason-Dixon to get away from this bitter cold.

As many of you know, when you live with joint and muscle issues the cold can be truly brutal.  For me, probably because I had not loosened up yet, the mere act of putting the dogs out (they are on "runner leads") and bringing them back in (removing their leads outside) a few minutes later caused instant shooting pain in my hands. Even though it took less than a minute each time my knuckles felt like they had vices on them and someone was turning those vices very quickly.  Additionally, going outside from my nice warm house caused immediate static throughout my hair.  It was literally clinging to my face as soon as I walked back inside.  I don't mean just fly aways- I mean full on clinging to my face.

Today is definitely the kind of day that you just want to snuggle up under a mountain of blankets and stay that way but, alas, work beckons.  So what's a girl to do?  First the hair.  It's been almost 2 hours since I got up so my hands have eased down to a throb.  I won't be able to manipulate a curling iron, the hands are not remotely ready to do a braid and if I try to just throw it in my usual messy bun, the static will cause crazy "pulling out and sticking up" hair.  That leaves (aerosol) hairspray and hot rollers.  Here's what's great about hot rollers:   I use a lot of hairspray on my comb or brush as I smooth the hair to it into the rollers and that will tame the static while the radiant heat from handling the rollers keep my fingers moving enough to get the job done.  I just timed it and it took 23 minutes to do 18 rollers, eyeliner (twice- I botched it the first time) and mascara.  I will leave the rollers in my hair until just before I need to get dressed.

Next, I have to layer up or my joints will protest all day.  For me that means warm socks ( they are in the dryer right now getting toasty), thicker pants (wool, denim, etc), a turtleneck, a sweater, a scarf around the neck, jacket, and gloves.  No hat today- that would bring back the static instantly.

I have also stocked up on "Hot Hands" for the winter.  Though I love Thermacare, it can get expensive.   Hot Hands work the same way and are relatively inexpensive.  Most likely because the are much smaller, don't have adhesive and don't last as long as Thermacare, but they get the job done well.  Whenever I venture into Walmart- I pick up a 4 pack for less than a dollar.  I open up a pack before I go out to start my car to get ready for work and slide them inside my gloves so that my hands don't seize up when I go to drive.  Many people put them on the palm side but I find that if I put them on top of my hands as far up as they will go inside my gloves and a second one where the wrist piece is, they keep my hands and wrists flexible enough to wrap around and manipulate the steering wheel.  When I get to work, I keep my gloves on until I am truly warm and then keep the Hot Hands on my desk when I am in there or in my pockets while I am on the sales floor so I can pick them up as needed to loosen my joints throughout the day.

Next, I have prepared my house for when I get home tonight.  My heating pad is plugged in and ready to turn on.  I will turn it on before I take the dogs out for their walk so that it's warm when I get back in.  I have a toasty blanket in my chair to snuggle under, I have an extra blanket on my bed and depending on my mood- Lipton Extra Noodle soup sitting next to the stove and a bunch of veggies that I prepped last night so that if I am not in the mood for soup I can do a quick stir-fry.  I also will, when I get dressed, leave my pajamas and spa socks in the laundry room so I can toss them in the dryer and warm them up before I put them on for the night.

Finally- two little "tricks" to combat the static and dry skin that the cold brings.  I know that I need to drink more water.  That's a big issue for me because I usually get my "water" for the day through coffee and iced tea.  Yesterday I bought an 8 pack of 12oz bottled water.  I left it in my car so that it's nice and cold and will take two bottles in to work with me.  I will refill them throughout the day and try to get in at least 8 of those bottles in before bed.  The second trick is to warm lotion and use it before I put on my pajamas.  What I do is to boil water in my tea kettle and pour it into a bowl.  I take the lotion and put it in one of the Ziplock or Glad small storage bowls with  the lid on and drop it into the bowl of water for about 15 minutes.  The lotion will be nice and warm and I find that it soaks in more effectively when it's been warmed.

What do you do to combat the cold?  Any tips or tricks that you use that you would like to share?

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