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Martin Fredricks, Published February 06 2011

One more hour is all we ask

Dear God or Universe or Higher Power or whatever controls these things: Can you please add an hour to our Midwestern winter days?

Because, you see, for weeks now, Mother Nature and Father Time have been hitting us daily with a wicked one-two, and it doesn’t look like they’re going to let up any time soon. Word is they work for you, and we’re tired of getting the short end of the clock.

Mama’s obvious. Temperatures in the double digits below zero, snow so high we have to dig out our mailboxes to ensure access for the frozen Postal Service delivery person, dogs trying to get away with doing their business on the floor of the garage instead of going out into the frigid air.

We’re used to dealing with her, though. The real trouble begins when she creeps in hand-in-hand with Papa, as she always seems to do. He’s sneaky, that one, quietly slipping in, snatching seconds and slipping away. An extra minute here, a few extra there, and our days are shot.

Taking the dogs in and out through the garage because the sliding-glass door to the patio is frozen shut takes an extra three minutes per outing, six outings a day. That’s 18 extra minutes gone before it’s time to crawl back under the comforter at night.

Walking around after dawn opening the heavy-duty blinds and curtains to let the sunshine in and warm the house (Martha Stewart says!) and again to shutter everything in the evening – four to five more minutes out the window.

Cramming six feet into boots, six hands into mittens, three hats onto heads and wrapping three scarves around necks to get the kids ready for school, all the while making logical justifications to a

7-year-old regarding the necessity of wearing a hat, mittens and zipping up his coat during frigid weather – seven minutes, minimum.

Days after a snowfall – and lately every day seems to be the day after a snowfall – there’s clearing the driveway and sidewalks. Depending on the depth, that’s another 20-35 minutes.

Add one-and-a-half every time we have to get ourselves ready to go outside, which is four to six times a day, and that’s another six to nine minutes.

And let’s not forget the extra drive time. Depending on the destination, slippery conditions add five to 10 minutes, easy. Make it two to four excursions per day on average, and that’s 10 to 40 more minutes.

Put it all together, and the Mama-Papa duo is snatching away an hour and 19 minutes to two hours and 20 minutes every single winter day. That’s a tremendous amount of valuable productivity down the drain, where it freezes and forces an after-hours, double-time service call to the plumber.

But, hey, we’re reasonable; another hour is all we’re asking. Let us know if you want to talk it over. We should have some time while we get the kids ready for school.

Fredricks is an advertising and marketing consultant and occasional contributor to The Forum commentary pages. E-mail martin@fredcomm.biz.