Tuesday, September 23, 2008

Autumn blues

I'm going to write about this and then try to forget it. Like that'll happen. But I don't want to go on and on all fall/winter/chilly spring about how much I hate cold weather, so I'll do it now and maybe get it out of my system.

I hate cold weather. I hate wearing coats. I hate wearing hats. I hate running to the car, shivering and swearing, before the sun comes up. I hate not seeing the sun before I go to work and only seeing it for an hour and a half after I leave work. I hate having to turn on the heat in the house and pay the ridiculous amounts the gas company will charge this winter (even though we keep the temperature around 66 degrees). I hate having to wear sweatshirt, t-shirt, sweatpants and heavy socks in the house, sometimes having to wrap up in a blanket to keep from freezing.

Poor Tom is already wearing a hat (that I knit) while we're home, and it's not that cold yet. He really feels the cold, while I'm always (almost) too warm. One would think that a post-menopausal woman would be happy with cooler temperatures. Not so in my case.

As the days get shorter, I can feel that ol' melancholia stealing over me, stealing my energy (what energy that I have), my motivation, my life. By December or January I'm ready to hibernate. I don't want to get out of bed. I hate wishing my life away, waiting for warm weather again. I feel like I'm just enduring six or more months of the year, waiting to feel alive again.

Thank goodness for trips to Florida to see my daughter and her family. Not only do I get a good dose of being MomMom (or Nanamarana, as last January), I get a dose of sunshine and warmth. Green grass, flowers blooming, trees with actual green leaves on them. Life. Sun. It keeps me from wasting away inside while waiting for warm weather at home. Even if it gets down into the low 30s at night while I'm there, I know that it won't last long, and even if I miss the nice, warm days, I know that they'll come back quickly, unlike in the mid-Atlantic states where it's winter for six months.

Thank God I have an understanding husband. It bothers him that I sleep so much, even in the warm weather, but that's my natural rhythm. Always has been, since I was born. I'm not finding that I need less sleep as I get older; for me, it's the opposite.

I've been diagnosed with Chronic Depression and Generalized Anxiety Disorder. Depression is so much worse in the cold times of the year, but increasing my antidepressant turns me into a zombie, so I just have to endure. I don't want to risk changing antidepressants; I don't have six months to live in bed while waiting for one to get out of my system and another to get in, then finding that it doesn't work well, and having to go through it again.

I will not miss the seasons. There are only two seasons I want to have: summer and almost-summer. If it never got colder than 60 degrees, I'd be a happy camper. I have to force myself to see the color changes in the leaves; I can acknowledge their beauty only after I've forced myself to notice that they're no longer green. Snow is beautiful when it's falling, but it soon gets grubby, and living on the side of a mountain isn't the best place to be in an ice or snow storm. Working on the other side of a mountain, where the roads are maintained by two states, one of which (and it changes) is always more on-the-ball than the other, is a royal pain when the roads are slippery. Tom's site never closes, no matter how bad the weather, and being the maintenance manager, he has to go in even if there's a foot of ice on the road (a slight exhaggeration). I work for the city schools, in a city where school is rarely closed due to inclement weather and only once in a while opens late. Doesn't matter. We leave home at 6 each morning, and if we hear that school has been cancelled or will open late, no matter. I'm on the way at the regular time anyway. The weather at home or on the mountain may be treacherous, but we chose to live where we do, so we have to deal with it.

I'll just have to endure. I'll have happy times; I won't mope around for the next six months. But I will complain about the cold weather, the short days, no warm sun. It's my nature. Again, thank God that Tom feels the same way about cold weather and wants to move south when we retire.

South, as in South Florida, where there's no (or maybe a tiny bit, once in 25 years) frost, where there's almost always sun (HOT sun), where most places are air conditioned so there's somewhere cool to go when it's too hot in the sun. Where we can grow tropical plants outside, not in pots that have to be dragged out in the spring and back inside in the winter where the poor things just endure until spring. Where we can see my grandkids and Tom's daughter (who was smart and moved to Ft. Lauderdale when she was 18). Where there's a beach within an hour's drive east or west.

Where maybe I can defeat this cold-weather melancholy and feel alive year-round.


Turtle said...

lol, i can sympathize! anything under 70 and i get cold! i finally turtned the heat on in the house to at least keep it to 68. I'm a new englander but after 13 years in hawaii...the blood thinned. My poor mo hasn't got us to visit and thaw any longer as we are just as cold as her area now!

rita said...

You left HAWAII??? Voluntarily? The only reason I wouldn't want to live there (besides the expense) is that it would be so expensive to fly back to visit relatives or have them come visit.

So you're in Georgia now, or Seattle?

Knitting Nurd said...

Awwww...I totally understand! I just hope I can talk Scooter into not having us retire back in Idaho, but to stay here in Northern California. We get cold, but nothing like the places that get ice/snowstorms. I'm going to remind him how much he dislikes snow too!

rita said...

Oh my gosh, yes! California HAS to be nicer than Idaho, any time of year! I've never been to Idaho, and I'm sure it's lovely, but it's nowhere near a beach!

We're thinking about heading back to your coast next summer, starting in Washington state and ending in Monterey. Maybe we can meet again!

Kathy said...

Well you said it all just about perfectly FOR me! If it weren't for my knitting I think I'd go crazy in winter. I dread it now the older I get. I do Try and Try to find beauty in it. I am generally okay with it all, but when march and april come around I cannot stand it anymoe! I may have to get in a car and go somewhere warm in the spring with the rest of this chicago town. I put so much stock in that though, that I get crazy worrying it will rain the whole time or someone will be sick so it will be a waste of money. Maybe I'll just sleep until spring too.

Georgi said...

Do you know how freaking hot and huid it is in Florida? It is the most miserable place in the world for 6 months out of the year and the bugs are huge. No way will I live in FL ever again! (Do you think my story will change after a winter in CO?)

elisa said...

I can really empathize with your post, Rita.

I know that I am lucky that I am married to someone who thinks it's spiffy that "winter" means the high 50s during the day and ends in mid-February.

But I can tell you that even though I do miss fall in New England, I also know that I can visit it and then come home, put my short sleeve shirt back on, and never once have to think about getting my winter coat ready.

So, I hear ya', and keep hanging in there. You'll be a FL resident soon enough. And until then, you can always come back to California for a visit. :)

Anonymous said...

Joan, your sister, says..
It's got to be hereditary. Since becoming an adult I've wanted to hibernate at the first sign of winter until spring rolls in and stays. The darkness of winter, the lack of sunlight..is depressing, makes me sluggish. There are good times, but you have to make them happen. I have to force myself to see the beauty of autumn--the pleasant weather, the gorgeous colors...sleeping with the windows open. Snow is beautiful, as long as I don't have to mess with it. You'd think after all this time I'd get over it, but it sneaks in and manages to get me every time. I'll try to be positive. I'll try to go to Florida.

EJ said...

Depression is so very tough. I really understand. For me it's far more an issue of the day length than the temperature. That's why I've entered some contests to give me something to look forward to - but it's also introduced me to a bunch of new blogs, like yours.

Personally the idea of blogging is just overwhelming

rita said...

Georgi--yes. I've spent a lot of time if Florida, and I know about the "palmetto bugs" that are as big as crop dusters and the freaking humidity. I'll trade it in a second for the ice and cold we have here.

rita said...

Elisa, you're right, you're lucky! That's exactly my idea of winter. And yes, we'll probably come back to CA for a couple of weeks next summer (gotta use up those free flights!)

I wonder if it's genetic, Joan, or the result of hearing Dad rail against winter every year? That and going to Florida for two weeks every summer. But the depression part is alllll ours.

ej, I'm glad you're here. The cold temps just make it worse for me, but I'm sure it's the shortened days that's the biggest part. I'm glad you came here for the contest, and I hope you'll stick around. (Another one will be coming up shortly.)

Sometimes, if I let too much time go by, the idea of blogging is overwhelming. There's too much to tell and not enough time to get it all in, so sometimes I just don't. I try to keep going, though.

And Georgi--try living in WV in our 8 months of winter!

I guess we all have different perpectives. Maybe if I'd lived in Florida for years I'd want out, as my grandmother, aunt, and uncle did 18 years ago. I could not understand why they'd move so far north after being in Miami for 35 years!

Jenny Girl said...

Well I'm very sorry to hear about the depression and weather thing. It's completely understandable and you are certainly not alone.
I find I have issues after the holidays, when things quite down.

We are here for you girlie!

rita said...

Thank you, sweetie!