I know it doesn't seem like it, but we actually ARE in the home stretch. We finally made it to March, so at least that's something.
I don't know how the experts are calling it, exactly, but I'm saying March came in like a lion. OK, maybe a cub but still I'm hoping for March to go out like a lamb.
Because, and I know this is patently obvious like the perpetual pimple between my brows, but we are at the stage of winter during which we are all barely hanging on to any semblance of contentment.
Maybe it's due to my recent trip to Florida or my Raynaud's syndrome (frozen fingers; can't move 'em) flaring up more frequently.
Maybe it's the fact that during the winter I carry a few extra pounds because I can't get outside and run up a good sweat.
Or maybe the overall grayness of post-holiday winter is just more insurmountable for those of us past the age of 40.
But, dude, I am so over winter in northeast Ohio.
So much so, that I literally had to force myself to speak out loud some of the best things about the winter season in this little corner of the world. Sure, sure, we've all seen the email trashing our region in relation to the weather. And I've certainly been dissing the season lately.
But, in fairness, there really are some good things about winter in this neck of the woods. First and foremost, the woods.
I mean, have you actually ever gone for a hike, walk or run through Mill Creek Park when it's blanketed in a majestic white blanket and huge flakes of snow are softly cascading down from the heavens? It's like walking through a snow globe breathtaking.
And what about cool clothes you can only wear in the cool? OK fine, it's a little more than cool but you get the gist. The boots, the scarves, the jackets - just think of how much we'd be sweltering in them if it wasn't quite so crisp?
My sister Gina chimed in with the obvious advantage of having family and friends close by in every season - and she said that trumps warmer temps. I hate it when she's right.
Some of the other things Gina likes about winter in the Mahoning Valley include: "Sled riding, high school basketball, what about all the great comfort foods you can only make when it's cold out such as meatloaf or that great oxymoron, chili?"
True story. I mean, it's not like you can have lasagna at your family reunion picnic in August. Well, we do, actually, but we're Italian. I digress.
Speaking of Italians, one of my favorites, buddy Chris Ruggieri of Warren, added some "pros" to my list, as well.
In addition to the fashion aspect of winter clothing I mentioned earlier, Chris digs the built-in camouflage feature.
"I like it here because it's always cold and you can wear fat clothes for at least nine months out of the year," she laughed.
Then she said something so sweet, I had to share it.
"I believe our area has retained some of the charm of the 'Old Country' with so many immigrants who migrated here to make this their new home - as my great-grandparents did. Most of my family remains here. To me, home is where the heart is!"
You think Gina and Chris are in cahoots? Hmm.
Oh well, guess some things really are more important than sunbathing, now aren't they?
Happy rest of winter, all!
Kimerer is a Tribune Chronicle columnist and a hater of winter between the dates of Jan. 1 and well, any time. Contact her with tales of the tropics at firstname.lastname@example.org.