Don’t let the weather catch you off guard

Temperatures haven’t been terrible very much this winter. In fact, in some areas of the state, they’ve been downright balmy. But I’m sure we can expect sub-zero weather again soon. And just because the temperature hasn’t spent too much time below zero doesn’t mean you don’t have to start taking precautions.

A few winters ago, I went out to feed the horses one morning right after I got out of the shower, but before I checked the thermometer. I stepped out the door and reached to swing the storm door shut behind me. That’s when I realized it was a bit on the chilly side. As I heaved the metal storm door closed, I found myself being pulled off balance by some strange force. Once the pain in my fingers reached my brain, I realized I was stuck to the door. My hands were still a bit damp, and they had become one with the house.

There was a chance I could reach the laundry room sink if I opened the storm door. I could fill one of the dogs’ food bowls with hot water, pour it on my hand, and get unstuck. The door handle was plastic, so I didn’t worry about getting both hands frozen to the door. I grasped the handle and pushed the plunger. Nothing.

When I swung the door shut, the lock must have dropped on the inside. It had happened before, and the only way to get back inside was to go out the gate and around the house to the front door (which has a metal handle). Unfortunately, my arms weren’t long enough to take that route.

Standing there in my jeans and a sweatshirt, my body temperature was dropping rapidly. I employed the nasal thermometer method for determining the temperature. If the hairs stick together when you snort in a huge breath, it’s a good bet that the mercury is stalled out somewhere south of zero. That was the case that morning.

Knowing time was of the essence, I bit the bullet and yanked. Not only did my fingers come free, but the door itself popped open. The storm door latch wasn’t heavy enough to take the strain, and the door swung open.

Since that experience, I’ve been a little more careful about checking the temperature before going outside. If it’s any kind of cold out there, I wear gloves. I may still freeze to death feeding the horses someday, but it won’t be because I’m stuck to the back door.