Notes from the Arctic vortex:
Much of the country in a deep freeze. Temperature in Pittsburgh minus 9 early Tuesday morning, old record for the date minus 5 in 1884.
Frightening wind chill. Heating centers. Worries for the homeless, the elderly and pets. Closed government offices. Delighted government workers.
Canceled schools. Happy kids, teachers and weather alarmists on TV news. Unhappy, inconvenienced parents.
Layering the order of the day. Boots, heavy socks, long underwear, shirts and vests upon vests, knitted caps (ideally with Penguins logo), scarves, heavy coats, thick gloves.
Outside, grunts for good morning. Too cold for verbs in long sentences. Car warming. Ice chipping. Driveway salting. Wise ones in bed. Light traffic. Worries for icy conditions later.
Coughing, sneezing, running nose. Flu? Freezing fingers.
Cocoa or coffee? Why, thanks.
Power saving in big offices. Workers in dark more than usual. Lunch in the office. With luck, back home before the reduced rush hour.
Dinner. Stew? Excellent. On TV, film at 10 of a frozen nation. Dog walk like an epic polar expedition. Early to bed.
Fight for blankets. Objections to cold feet and hands. Late-night question from the vortex: Why do we live here again?
Because it’s our much-loved home. Now roll over — you’re snoring. Sound like a polar bear.