Hunkering Down

First thing this morning I got dressed and went outside to care for the outside cats. I was worried about the cats being too cold in this weather, but we can’t risk them bringing any illnesses into the house with JJ’s immune system so severely compromised. I considered putting them on the back porch, but they wouldn’t be any warmer there. So EJ lined a large wooden box with insulation (on the walls, ceiling, and floor) and he put a small light inside to help warm it. I put a blanket in the box and I also periodically warm a rice bag (a bag made of an old towel filled with rice) in the microwave and put that in the house to add more warmth. We put the box under the patio table on the front porch with a tarp over everything as a wind break. As the snow accumulated, it covered the tarp so it looks like an igloo. Snow provides good insulation. I put my hand in the house and it is very warm inside.  I think the cats are much cozier in their shelter than in the shelters The Weather Channel recommends making for outside cats. And my friend who studied animals back in college reassured me that our efforts were excellent.

While I was outside, I also fed the birds. I usually go through the front gate, but it had so much snow piled against it that I couldn’t get it open far enough to go through it. So I came in the house and through the back door and around the house to the feeders. The snow was very high and went up almost to my thighs. It was hard work getting to the feeders, but I made it. I am so glad I bought the feeders because watching the birds provides us with so much joy. Today the wind is so high that it pushes the birds backwards as they fly. They are clever though: They fly past the feeders and let the wind push them back onto the feeders.

The birds are just now discovering the see-through feeders attached to the windows. It’s so cool to see them up close. The cats are having a lot of fun leaping up at them. The birds are used to them now, and are getting bolder. They are even sitting on the window sill watching the cats.

After I cared for the cats, the birds, and made breakfast for my guys, I called the Cancer Center. I talked to the front desk, then talked to the doctor’s nurse, and then talked to the nurses at the Infusion Rooms. They all said that the Cancer Center was opened, but that the roads were treacherous. They said nine patients had already cancelled their appointments. I decided that we would be the tenth patient to cancel. I asked the Infusion nurse if we could reschedule, and she said she’d work on the schedule and call us back. I’m sure that so many people canceling is making the re-scheduling a nightmare.

I hated to cancel JJ’s treatment because I do not want anything to delay or interfere with his destroying this cancer. We would have driven in despite the deep snow and the extreme cold if it weren’t for the high wind. The wind will cause whiteouts and drifts and could make roads impassable. We couldn’t risk getting stuck. I appreciate a friend’s comment at FB: “God is still in control, you made a wise choice and a snowstorm won’t stop God from working in JJ’s body.”

So we are hunkering down today.

Our friend in Iowa sent us an awesome box of goodies the other day, filled with granola bars and packages of hot cocoa mixes. There were four varieties of hot cocoa: Arctic White, Caramel Chocolate, S’mores, and Warm Oatmeal Cookie. JJ chose Warm Oatmeal Cookie, so I made him a cup. It smelled delicious and JJ said it tasted delicious too.

In her box of goodies, my friend also sent me an old Jewish High Holiday Prayer Book which she thinks might have belonged to her mother’s parents. She has another prayer book that she is keeping for herself, of course. I will treasure this book. It is full of wonderful information and beautiful prayers. It is written on one side in English and another side in Hebrew. For the last few years I have been studying Hebrew and maybe one day I will know enough to be able to actually read the Hebrew side of the book.

EJ wasn’t sure this morning if he’d have to go to work this afternoon, so he went out to dig out the truck. After he bundled up in his long underwear and heavy coat, I laughed that he looked like the little brother in the classic movie, A Christmas Story. Ok, maybe he didn’t look that bundled, but he almost did.

The vehicles were buried under a ton of snow. While EJ shoveled them out, I went outside to take pictures. The wind was blowing the snow sideways and it was VERY cold. Currently the temperature is zero, but the weather app on my computer says it feels like -27 because the wind is so strong.

There on many warnings that the roads are treacherous and the cold dangerous, and that people should stay off the roads unless travel is essential. Schools and many companies closed today. Even Michigan State University and the State government were. Not my husband’s company, however. I was not happy that they expected employees to drive in this dangerous weather. They make car parts, which is not essential. EJ didn’t want to risk it, so he called in a vacation day.

Now that I know we are all safe at home, I am enjoying the storm again. I love snow storms when we are snuggly warm in our house. We warmed up the chili I made yesterday for lunch. It tasted extra yummy.

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We will brave the weather at least one more time. I need to feed the birds again and EJ is going to bring firewood into the house.

The Cancer Center just called. We now have an appointment for tomorrow morning at 10:30 a.m. Hopefully we can make it.

9 Comments on “Hunkering Down

  1. so glad you are all safe and warm. Such wonderful thoughts for the outside animals too. God’s Blessing to you all through this weather. Hope you have safe roads tomorrow.


  2. Dear Teri I’m glad you all are safe and warm, I just love your stories and feel so close when I read them. Wonderful how you are caring for the cats and the birds. I do hope and prayed for it, that you all are been able to go today to the cancer centre. It is really bad in your neck of the woods with the snow and the wind. Love you slide show . Take care you all and a big hug for the three of you ❤


    • Thank you, Simone. I loved watching the cats and birds, and taking pictures of them. 🙂 Love you too.


  3. Appreciating your journal…and your journey with JJ, your winter stories, and your heart. Blessings.


  4. Teri, I bet your cats are so aggravated that they can’t feast on a bird. ;). We too have animals outside in this cold. The cats like sitting in their empty water dish that is heated. ;). They have been moved to the shop where it is 50 degrees with plenty of mice to snack on. Our dog, PJ, has yet to want to get in the shop (we offered him the shop first so we decided to offer the cats a toasty place to stay). PJ finds it fun to run and jump in the snow. His new thing s of last week has been sitting on top of his dog house by our door. He kind of reminds me of Snoopy sitting on top of the dog house. I think he likes this place because he can see better from that perch. He does sleep in his dog house and isn’t shivering or anything like that so I know he is ok. Thanks for posting snow pictures…we don’t have hardly any snow here, it’s just cold.


    • Dorothy, I’m glad you are enjoying my pictures. I have a lot of fun taking them. I really love the beauty of the snow.

      The cats appear to view watching and leaping at the birds as a game more than an aggravation. They seem to be having lots of fun. I don’t know if it’s more entertaining to watch the birds or to watch the cats watching the birds. 🙂


      • I should take a picture of PJ sitting on his doghouse. He is a crazy dog. 🙂


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