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Matt Pallister: The cold reality of winter in the valley

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Matt Pallister







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This cold weather is making me fat.

For weeks, I've been wanting to run around the neighborhood or hit a giant tire with a sledgehammer (that's right) on a regular basis. But I can't, because it's too cold. I suppose I could. Suck it up and deal with the weather. But that's another strike against the cold: It makes me lazy.

As I sit here and lazily type this, it's about sundown, had the sun come out today. It's the last day of March, the first day of baseball season. It's opening day. And it's below 40 degrees and rainy outside. In six hours, I'll be driving home in the snow, and that's no April Fool's joke.

In watching highlights of opening day, the fans at all the afternoon games (brilliantly scheduled by Major League Baseball for places like Cincinnati, New York and D.C.) look like they're attending the Winter Classic hockey game, not a rite of spring. How refreshing do you think it was for Nats fans at the season-opening shutout loss to pass the time and drown their ballpark sorrows with a beer? A cold beer. It was 42 when Livan Hernandez delivered the first pitch.

The cold ruins everything. My chiseled physique, baseball, cookies. The wife and I had been planning for weeks a trip to the Woodbine Farm Market this past weekend. But eating those raspberry-filled shortbread cookies loses a bit of its luster with gloves on. And it's not like I can work them off afterward.

I know what you're thinking: "It's a beautiful, sunny day. What is this guy talking about?" Well, Tuesday's forecasts calls for rain and a high about 25 degrees cooler, barely breaking 50.

I'm ready to wile away the hours at home in shorts and a sleeveless shirt before coming to work. I long for the time of year when pants are only needed at work.

I'm tired of checking to see if the click I heard (or thought I heard) was the heat kicking on. I'm tired of letting the mail pile up (to the point I need a shoehorn and a can of Goop to get it out) so I can avoid those tense, anxious moments between opening the electric bill and focusing in on the amount owed.

If I could afford it, I'd buy up all the aerosol cans in the valley and do my best to expand the hole in the ozone layer, maybe get a tan. Mother Nature's a big girl; she can handle it.

I'm ready for some global warming. The warm kind. Not the "You understand that global warming consists of extremes of hot AND cold, right?" kind. I stop giving the environment the benefit of the doubt when my winter coat is still in rotation in April. This planet can't even warm itself correctly. Much like our house.

I lived on the Gulf Coast of Florida on three separate occasions over a span of five years and went to the beach twice, so my climate-related judgment can't be trusted. During that period -- a time when I became jaded to walking dogs when it was 72 and sunny in mid-January -- I used to tell people I'd take cold over hot because "you can put on as many layers as you need; you can only take off so much." That was stupid.

As my first Virginia winter has languished, the layers I've added are the kind I can't seem to take off. Man, this is depressing. Somebody bring me a cookie.




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