Up North Blog

The 2019 Polar Vortex

I thought it would be fun to share my Polar Vortex experience in words and photos. I love subzero cold and fresh snow, so this is going to be a positive review. If you wanted to hear complaints, I don’t know where to send you because everyone in my life seems pretty happy with this extreme winter experience.

Ok, I will start with when I was least happy with this cold. I took the boys on a drive around the county on our coldest day to see what it was like in our community. I stopped at the barren fields of Port Oneida with some ferocious winds blowing off Lake Michigan for this photo. It was 25 below zero and my hands were numb within seconds when I took my gloves off to snap the picture. Luckily, I picked up these desperate boys before they froze to death.

I guess this made me unhappy, too. The polar Vortex found a way into my house on a ferociously windy Tuesday night. I woke up early Wednesday morning to find a a puddle of water and snow sneaking through the base of our porch door. Colebrook stuffed some dishrags in the crack to stop the wind. This old fashioned trick worked until Steph removed it for looking too backwoods hillbilly. I said, “We’un are what we’are, arednt we?”

We left some screens in my house and the snow went through them and pressed against our windows. “Let me in, let me in, let me in,” the snow chanted all day. Colebrook, my lover of cold, is the Vortex’s best friend as he continually opens windows to let it in.  As I write this, I am looking right at a living room window he left open three inches. He left the window over his bed open for two days and the window in his playroom for 6 hours. I am going to punish him by sending him to Florida.

We have the wood stove going, and our house is super insulated. We can stand to have a window open once in a while and not even know it. It feels good to run the wood stove, especially since our Governor has asked us to do our best to save natural gas during this Polar Vortex. All of us Michigan residents pushing back against the Polar Vortex are really putting a strain on our natural gas distribution system.

Here is a favorite photo I took. The triumphant boys celebrating in front of Glen Lake Schools. Four straight snow days!

They’ve had a lot of outdoor time to play, and one day they shoveled four driveways clear of snow. I document this good work with fatherly pride. The most valuable driveway the boys dug out was the Cundiff’s, because it got their buddies Bryce and Dylan free to play with us after being grounded by their Mom. 

Just a week ago, the boys were praying for snow. Now the snow banks are twice as high as my truck in some places.  

We are having some fun with this perfect snow as well. I have been back-country telemark skiing in the deep powder nearly everyday. I just love seeing the tracks I make in the snow. It is amazing how warm a person can get climbing up the hills to make these steep runs.

Lake Michigan is a beautiful combination of snow, ice and water. Sleeping Bear Bay is so exposed, we’ve been able to visit for only very short stints.

Cherry Republic’s beer garden looks so inviting. I just don’t understand why we don’t have any customers. That sign in the background says, “Eat more cherry pie. The more you eat, the harder you are to kidnap.”

Sometime soon, climb over this 9-foot snowbank and come visit us!  

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