Tag Archives: Polar Vortex

Coldest Chicago Temp -27 on 1-20-85

ICYMI ~ It’s COLD in Chicago!!

I’m from Chicago, born & raised. I never left (ok, technically I moved to the suburbs), but I still consider myself a Chicagoan. I’ve lived through some tough winters in my lifetime. I was around for the Blizzard of ’67 (kindergartner), and lots of snow storms during my high school years in the late ’70s. I made a lot of cash shoveling people out and setting up lawn chairs with brooms laying across them … It’s a Chicago thing – DIBS, you can Google it 🙂 I also remember Christmas week in 1983, it was so cold that my pet fish, Oscar, (he was a giant, you guessed it, Oscar) died because the power was out for several days and the tank nearly froze. However, my most prominent, vivid memory is January 20, 1985.

Ice Crystal Bird by Lorra Rudman - llinois Birding Network FB 1-30-19
Photo Credit: Lorra Rudman

Ironically, January 20, 1985, the coldest day in Chicago history, was the first day at my new job … as a ramp agent working at O’Hare airport. I remember coming in from running bags (as a trainee, I had to shadow each type of job position) from our incoming flight to the baggage claim … when we got back to the ready room, I had actual frost on my eyelashes (similar to my feathered friend above)! I was never so cold in my life. I kept asking myself why the heck I quit my job as a travel agent at a Michigan Avenue travel agency. I honestly have no idea why I didn’t quit then and there (I stayed close to 15 years), but I’m glad I didn’t because I have so many wonderful memories of my years there and met so many great people.

Delicate Frost Bubble

Which brings me to our current Polar Vortex. This time I was blessed to be able to stay indoors for the duration. I was blessed with a nice warm home to stay cozy and safe. My husband’s employer closed down for the extreme cold. We didn’t have any major emergencies, no broken pipes or furnace mishaps. My furnace was able to keep the temperature a reasonable 60 degrees, I wore layers and snuggled under a blanket to watch movies with my family 🙂 I also spent way too much time on social media. Everyone was posting about the temperature. Many braved the elements to throw boiling water into the air to watch it freeze, and some people recorded these beautiful frost bubbles. I am fascinated by them, they are so beautifully intricate and fragile … amazing! Sadly, they were also posting about some of the struggles they were having trying to cope with this extreme cold … frozen pipes, broken furnaces, etc. We had only one problem because of the weather, one (of 3) vehicles wouldn’t start. That’s OK, we had no place we needed to be yesterday. Late this afternoon, in a balmy -5 degrees, we replaced the battery and it started right up. They are predicting a high of 13 tomorrow … that’s practically a heatwave 🙂

Fully Stocked Pantry

Polar Vortex, Round Two – Do You Have A Fully Stocked Freezer and Pantry ??

Well, it’s another freezing cold day in the Chicagoland area. They are calling it the second wave of the Polar Vortex we experienced a couple of weeks ago. Although it’s not as extreme as the harsh sub-zero wind chill temperatures we had on January 6th, it’s still frigid. They were also saying that we have already had more snow accumulation than the yearly average and its only January … there’s still a lot of winter left.

I went to Wal-Mart yesterday afternoon to pick up a few things. It was really crowded … all the checkout lines were full. It kinda felt like Christmas shopping dejavue. While I was waiting in line, I overheard some people commenting on having to stock up on groceries so they wouldn’t have to go out in the extreme weather that was coming.

I looked in my cart … fish food, razors, shampoo and printer paper. No last minute food items were there, because I try to always have my pantry and freezer stocked. I’ve always been this way. I think I must have learned it from my Grandma (who raised me). I’m not totally sure, but I do remember her saying something to the effect of “ TP is not something you ever want to run out of “ … haha … and I totally agree with her 🙂

I like to have the replacement item on a shelf somewhere, ready and waiting … be it TP or shampoo. My motto is “Its better to have it and not need it than to need it and not have it”.

I can’t afford to just go out and buy enough food to fully stock the freezer and pantry, so I’ve come up with a couple of ideas that have worked for me:

  • I try to take advantage of BOGO (buy one, get one free) sales. It’s even better for my budget if I can use coupons 🙂
  • Shopping in bulk at stores like Costco or Sam’s Club has helped me build up a back-up supply.
  • When I cook dinner, I try to make a double batch of the recipe, and then freeze half of it for a future meal.

I consider my family to be truly blessed that we are able to have plenty of food to eat. Knowing my pantry and freezer are full gives me peace of mind knowing that if the weather is extreme, or if we get sick, no one has to run out to the store.

I hope my ideas and tips are helpful to you … I’d love to hear some of your thoughts 🙂