It’s relative.

Alabamians feel like the early part of this week was cold. Let’s face it; it was with temperatures dropping into the lower teens two mornings and to single digits another. Strong winds plunged the feels like temperature into the minus 10 degree range chilling people who had to be outside for more than a few seconds to the bone.

Talk with someone up north and they laugh. That’s right, out loud.

“You don’t know what cold is,” my daughter said as we talked about the weather last weekend when it was just approaching the area.

I must agree she had a point. Wisconsinites’ were already dealing with single digit below zero temperatures in advance of what was headed our way. The Cheese State was, by Alabama standards, shivering.

“Once it gets to zero it doesn’t feel any different when it drops lower,” Amanda deadpanned.

She learned a lesson the hard way. Just two days later she admitted it was time to eat her words.

“When I got up this morning and opened the door to walk outside I though, oh my. The wind hit me in the face and I’ve never felt anything so cold in my life,” she said of Monday morning.

The temperature was minus 19 with a 30 MPH wind making it feel like 44 below zero. Frostbite will occur in several minutes in that type weather.

That wasn’t the end of the story though. Amanda laughed when her coworkers went to start their cars at lunch until one explained that it was necessary if it was going to crank at quitting time. She bundled up, went outside and let her car run for about five minutes while others let their vehicles idle for almost 30 minutes.

When it was close to quitting time people started running outside to start their vehicles again. Amanda did the same when someone suggested she might want to make sure her car started before everyone had left the building.

She called on her way home from work lamenting how cold it was.

“Dad, I learned why these people start their cars at lunch and before leaving work. It’s to warm the engine not the inside of the car,” she said. “When I tried to start my car, it was very slow.”

It’s been two decades since we’ve seen it this cold in Alabama so, yes, we, as a people, shivered this week. As one coworker said “I’ve got so many layers on I can’t move.” She’s correct; we’re not prepared for weather this cold. We’re not used to it either

So, Amanda now knows it can get colder when the temperature falls below zero and that people who run outside to crank their cars and let them run for 15-20 minutes at lunch and at least that long before leaving work aren’t nuts.

On Tuesday, the coldest morning of the week, the temperature was 5 degrees when I got up. As I stepped onto the deck dressed in sweats, a heavy coat and toboggan to greet the day, it didn’t feel too bad. That changed later in the morning when I got out of the vehicle upon getting to work.

I’ve determined 5 degrees is too cold for me but, after this week, I promise I won’t complain quite so much in the future when I’m greeted by lows in the mid to upper 20s on those frosty mornings. After all, I don’t want to seem like I’m whining.

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