But I quietly got through the low digits without complaint. I didn't spend all my time under our big fleece blanket ("the bear"), didn't cry and cling to Tom (trying to warm my toes), didn't eat every carbohydrate in the kitchen, didn't commit mass murder. I even took a walk on the coldest day, almost two miles to look at the frozen edge of the James River.
My secret? Don't live in the moment. The moment is frigid; you don't want to be there.
Instead, I stayed focused on the past and the future.
In the past, as I recall, I actually liked winter. As a kid I would get my Flexible Flyer after dinner and spend hours sledding into the night. And I remember one peaceful moment lying on my sled in the driveway, watching the snowflakes illuminated by our garage light. Just hanging out in the cold!
I was also an ice skater. We'd listen to the reports on WHJB Radio, and when the ice on Roadman's Lake was thick enough, we'd be in that scene, a multigenerational version of a school dance. There'd be music from the 1940s, the scent of hot chocolate bouncing atop layers of cold air, the clomping of skates on wood in the "lodge."
I even took up skiing for a while, going on bus trips with my high school friends to Seven Springs and being dazzled by the ice-covered trees of Deer Lane, where I practiced my snowplow and learned how to grab a tow rope without falling.
It's said that too much of anything is bad for you, so maybe that's what happened to my relationship with winter. After a childhood of cold I went to a college where snow arrived Oct. 4 and didn't leave until graduation. I followed that with grad school in Cleveland, with its Lake Effect, then it was back to Pennsylvania for the early years of marriage. And I was shocked to find out that Richmond, Va., isn't really in the South, not when it comes to weather.
Enough is enough. The current moment is cold. Don't live in the moment.
Instead, I look forward to the future ... 19 days in the future, when I will be on North Caicos. I will be wearing flip-flops instead of Uggs, I'll have my coffee outside on the upper deck, then I'll take a barefoot walk on the beach. I will be warm, and I'll stay that way for a month.
So, no, don't tell me to live in the moment. The moment is cold. Unless a cat comes up on my lap and warms me with purring and furriness. Then, OK. But only for the moment.