I recently studied a weather glossary so I could impress friends by going all Al Roker on them in describing the frigid weather we've been experiencing.
My studies took me to the definition of "absolute zero." I always figured it was the round number that pops up on my driver's information system, but, thanks to those that study weather for a living, there's much more to it.
Absolute zero is considered to be the point at which theoretically no molecular activity exists or the temperature at which the volume of a perfect gas vanishes. The value is zero degrees Kelvin, -273.15 Celsius and -459.67 Fahrenheit.
I think I might have experienced absolute zero when I arrived home at about 9 p.m. last Monday. Fumbling for my keys while holding a container of food and a glove in one hand, I quickly began to lose feeling in the other, unprotected hand.
I'm not sure what the temperature was on the Kelvin scale, but on the Michael scale it was freakin' cold. Once I managed to unlock the door, I quickly cranked up the natural gas fireplace and settled in for the evening.
It's during times like this that you think of ways to beat winter's kick in the mouth. You need more than a fire, hot chocolate and a good book to win the battle.
I've always been able to get through January on the back of the NFL playoffs. There's no better sports time of the year than the six days in January and one in February when the postseason games are conducted. Wild card weekend and the conference semifinals provide eight games combined that usually make me forget about the cold for a few hours.
I prefer watching games in Green Bay when an Arctic blast has taken up residence at Lambeau Field. As I sit in the comfort of home and watch the game on television, I feel fortunate that there are other people struggling with the extreme cold more than me.
There are some common mistakes made when trying to shed the winter blues. It usually happens when you try reverse psychology by imagining being in a warmer place.
Here are some mistakes people often make:
Watching the two PGA tournaments in Hawaii - one on Maui and the other on Oahu. There's no easier way to get depressed than to see professionals playing golf with the Pacific Ocean and swaying Palm trees in the background, knowing all too sadly that you're 6,000 miles away.
Along that same line, tuning in to the Pro Bowl. The game has been moved from the week after the Super Bowl to the week prior. Either way, looking at the beautiful weather will drive you crazy, if the game itself hasn't already done so.
Going to an indoor golf center. The one time I tried it, the place was filled with kids running around with their heads within close distance of my backswing and making more noise that a kindergarten class at recess time.
Trying a golf simulator that takes you to Pebble Beach without ever leaving Ohio. Therein lies the problem. I'm trying to escape Ohio, not stay here.
Uttering the standard line used every year at this time - "pitchers and catchers report in six weeks." Like that's going to help me feel warm and fuzzy all over. Don't you just love it when media representatives return from spring training all tanned and with smiles on their faces. Then they look at you and say, "Are you feeling well? You look kind of pale."
I've tried telling myself that it gets better when the daylight hours start to lengthen just before Christmas, but that seldom works. I use the short month of February as a psychological ploy to make winter somehow seem to go by faster, which is another waste of time.
I've decided the best way to deal with this weather is to complain about it incessantly. If I drive enough people mad, someone will say, "Please leave. I'll even buy you a plane ticket."
Make it for Palm Springs, if you could.