The cold has slowed us all

“Now is the winter of our discontent,” Shakespeare’s king proclaimed at a play’s beginning. For us, I suggest that we should paraphrase the bard and say, “We are discontent with winter.”

Oh, I know I am one of the fortunate ones. My power has not gone off – thank you, Ohio Edison. And, my pre-millennium furnace is throbbing but working hard – thank you, Ainsley Heating.

In fact, I am sitting midway between my thermostat, with an orange glowing “emergency heat” light illuminated, and the heat pump, which is just outside the window, struggling with the basement furnace to keep our house at 65 degrees. We usually set it at 67 degrees and only raise it to 70 when we anticipate guests. We suspect that our friends leave our house muttering about our chilly conditions.

You will be reading this about one week after I write it. Undoubtedly, we will be experiencing a “heat wave” by then, and temperatures will be in the teens or twenties.

But for now, it is just “wicked cold” as my acquaintances in Boston taught me to say. “Bitter cold,” the usual northeast Ohio phrase makes, the weather so objective; “wicked cold,” as spoken by the people who must endure those “nor’easters,” seems to personify the winter weather and make it some malevolent creaturewhich it is, of course.

If this discourse is rambling, you can blame it on my garage door and my hoodie. Yes, it is so cold that, not only am I dressed in layers inside my house, but my top layer is the fluorescent yellow hoodie which I usually wear on morning bike rides in late fall and early spring. I had to take out the trash, so I pushed the garage door opener, threw on my coat, also hooded, and emerged into the garage.

Because of the cold, the garage door opened more slowly than ever, and with my peripheral vision obstructed, I banged the door with my right temple. The door shuddered, and I staggered. My wounded moan brought my wife to the door. Later, she told me that she only laughed because I was not on the concrete, unconscious. She laughed.

My own diagnosis was “concussion-like symptoms” possibly because I have been watching too much NFL football lately. I should have been wearing a helmet under my hooded coat.

Speaking of NFL football, how about our sports editor, Dana Sulonen? Poor Dana – not only does she finally give up on the Browns after all her years of fan fidelity, but her “renewed” team, the glorious Packers, suffered a “one-and-done” playoff run within days after her column appeared.

I apologize: My use of the phrase “one and done” is so passe; in northeast Ohio, the new version is “Chud and done.”

Dana, I give you credit for longevity and faithfulness; I realized what was happening in Cleveland soon after that city defeated the NFL in court to retain the team name and legacy. The NFL does not like to lose, so Cleveland, which won in the courtroom, will never win on the gridiron.

Quoth the Ravens, “Nevermore.”

(Now that should prove to my wife that my head injury is no laughing matter; I am quoting Poe and alluding to that hated team from Baltimore in one short sentence.)

Yes, I maintain that Cleveland’s football demise ranks among the top three conspiracy theories of all times.

Where was I? Oh, I remember. I am making my cold fingers work the keys of my laptop in the warm glow of that same orange lighted indicator on the thermostat which tells me that the heat is now being generated by the furnace solely.

The news report yesterday informed that 10,000 customers in Columbiana County were without power for several hours. The television footage gave us glimpses of electric company workers in each of our area’s counties braving the frigid weather to restore power to homes and businesses.

My wife was right to laugh at my folly after all. I am fortunate; I am blessed. If my only problems this week are a bruised forehead and no NFL team to cheer, I am lucky indeed.

Williams is a Hubbard resident. Email him at