The winter wimps are grating on me

lakeski.JPGWhen temperatures dropped to single digits last week you’d have thought George W had declared an orange alert.

Only about half of the students showed for my 12:30 class Monday. Several no-shows emailed to say they just couldn’t come out in the frigid weather. Several more complained that our fine university had failed to declare a snow day.

It was about 0 degrees (Fahrenheit), and the wind chill was -20. But it hadn’t snowed much at all. The roads were clear and the air refreshingly brisk. We had three cold and glorious days — days that way too many chose not to embrace.

On my campus, students actually staged a protest to demand our president close the school and save them from the windchill. At nearby Akron U, over 1,000 joined a Facebook group making the same demand.

Then came this letter from a KSU alumnus who had heard about our winter woes. It appeared in the “letters” section of the Daily Kent Stater:

Dear editor,

My girlfriend e-mailed me the recent articles about how the administration isn’t canceling classes for inclement weather, and I have to say that I feel really sorry for you guys. I mean, you have to walk to class when it’s cold and snowy outside? Geez, no wonder you’re upset – it sounds like life is pretty rough over there!

2nd Lt. Tony Cox, ’06
82nd Airborne Division
COB Speicher, Iraq

Thank you, Lt. Cox, for your letter and for your service.

Maybe I’m being unfair. You see, I love everything about winter. As I look out across ice-covered Sandy Lake, I feel sorry for my friends who moved to warmer climes. They’re missing the miracle of this extraordinary season.

But I feel even sorrier for those who live here but remain indoors huddled round their space heaters. It’s not healthy.

sunsetlake.JPGJust before I drafted this post (yesterday), Sharon and I strapped on the slats and took a one-hour cruise around the lake. It took this photo at about 5 p.m.

As we watched the start of an icy sunset, we also saw nature at work all around us. Several hundred Canada geese passed overhead, doubtless seeking some open water. Good luck, honkers!

Then we skied past the carcass of a goose that two days earlier had joined the food chain. Poor guy was picked clean by a bald eagle — a scene I had watched on Thursday through the binoculars. As I write this, the crows are scavenging what’s left.

So let me encourage the winter wimps to get out for a breath of dry arctic air. Take a hike. Or better yet, strap on the cross-country skis and get some real exercise. You may find, as I have, that winter is the best of all seasons.

And get your butts to class tomorrow.


19 Responses to The winter wimps are grating on me

  1. Steve Shannon says:

    Blowing off class due to the cold weather is one thing, but demanding that school be closed because of it is another.

    Seems to me like the soon to be KSU grads would rather work hard at not working than doing the hard work their soon to be employers will be expecting.

  2. Bill Sledzik says:


    Funny you say that. My opening questions for an “employee relations” discussion in class today are: What do you expect from your employers? What do they expect from you? As for those working hard to get out of class, I can only assume none of them is planning to major in public relations. They’ll get a chilly reception.

  3. Andy Curran says:

    When an employer is dangling a paycheck in front of them, they’ll show up for work! They had better if they’re going to major in journalism…the news biz never shuts down. Ask those nutcase field reporters at the Weather Channel hanging onto stop signs during live hurricane reports!

    A couple of years ago I read an article about winter fashions. Evidently, young people don’t like to wear heavy coats anymore. They slog through the winter in hoodies and fleeces. So it’s no wonder some of them don’t want to go outside. They’re not dressed for it.

    I also wonder how many of the complainers will somehow manage to make their way to Boston Mills for some skiing or ‘boarding this weekend.

    But I gotta disagree on the best season…it’s spring! That mix of night chill and day warmth, the sounds of the birds, beer and burgers in the backyard, hiking without slipping on ice, and Opening Day. Well, I guess you Pirates and Indians fans don’t care much about that last one. But here in Cincinnati, it’s a holiday more or less (with a fairly large parade downtown), and we Mets fans think this could be the year. As we always do…

  4. mundopr says:

    Hi Bill,

    Wanted to let you know that a good friend of mine found ToughSledding on MundoPR’s Blogroll. She absolutely LOVES your blog and now aspires to be an avid reader.

    Looks like you’re hitting a diverse crowd–she’s a senior nursing major at Xavier.
    I’ll make sure to direct to Practical PR as well.

  5. Bill Sledzik says:

    Thanks for that feedback, Holly. I’m finding that the longer I do this, the more the following grows. I got two comments in German yesterday that I need to send out for translation.

    Glad your friend likes what she sees. Does she speak German?

    I’ll be checking in on MondoPR later to see more. I love the look, and the way you’ve tied the theme in with your travels to Mexico. Your essay in “About” let’s people see into your heart. And that’s the kind of blogger people want to read.

  6. Polly Wade says:

    I’ve lived in Atlanta for four years now, and one of the things I miss about Ohio is taking long, brisk walks on snowy evenings. The air feels clean, and it’s all just so … quiet. Now my husband and I are discussing the idea of a snow vacation next year — and I don’t even ski. A little snow shoeing sounds mighty appealing though.

    This morning, while on a consulting assignment in Wilmington, Delaware, I spent 20 minutes chipping inch-thick ice off my rental car so I could get to the client. Most of my clients are working at home today, functioning with Web-based email and conference calls — it’s pretty quiet here. And many left early yesterday when the storm started, with the blessings of their supervisors. I see work-at-home-when-the-weather’s-bad becoming the norm, and people are expecting the courtesy. Especially when kids are on delayed starts at school.

    But tell me to stay home cause the weather’s bad and I’ll take it as a challenge.

  7. mundopr says:

    Sorry Bill, my friend doesn’t speak German. Try It’ll give you a rough translation–and a good laugh at some of the literal translations.

  8. mundopr says:

    Hi Bill,

    Thanks for your comments. I played around a little with the picture sizes. I could spend all night doing this! …I actually did on Tuesday. Looks like I’m falling into the trap of the ‘blog addict.’

    I appreciate your advice anytime.

  9. Big echoes, Bill, on the Winter Wimp Syndrome. But it extends elsewhere too — our NE Ohio climate is often pilloried and cited as a reason why living here is a bad idea. I couldn’t disagree more. Take a look at the average life expectancies — people in colder climes live longer!

    I also love the winter, though I don’t live on a lake. I live in a leafy suburb that does a whacking great job clearing the roads, so it’s a rare occasion that the snow and ice keeps us in. Besides, today and yesterday have been filled with brilliant sunshine and blue skies. Truly, a tonic for the soul.

    Of course, i also have a garage at home and seldom find myself taking a pick-axe to my car windows…

  10. Stacy Wessels says:

    I have a fantastic view from my home-office window. The ice on the snow sparkles in the sun. When the sun shines through the ice on the trees, you would swear they were made by Waterford. On the other hand, people in Cincinnati freak out SO much more than people in NEO. My first winter here is certainly an eye-opener.

    As for your students, they should be grateful they don’t have to wear business attire to class. I hate schlepping through the snow in heels.

  11. I miss the days of snow days, not only because i’m in the working world now but I’m also out in California.

  12. Andy Curran says:

    Isn’t it funny how the mundane topics, such as this, get the most comments?

    Stacy, I have to stick up for the drivers of the Queen City. I’m not from here, but I’ve been here for almost 23 years. We have something that Northeast Ohio doesn’t have…namely, killer hills like Mt. Adams, Mt. Washington and Price Hill and dozens of bridges over the rivers. I lived in Columbus for a few years, and driving was a cakewalk compared to down here. I usually don’t have a problem, thanks to front-wheel drive, but some of those inclines can take their toll on even the best snow cars. If you’ve ever tried getting up Grand Avenue or St. Gregory Street in a storm, you know what I mean when I say, “Toto, we’re not on Euclid Avenue anymore”!

    I get tired of hearing how hardy the drivers “up north” are compared to us. I drove on I-96 in Michigan this week. There was just a dusting of snow and I couldn’t get the car over 55 (in a 70 zone) because all of the Michiganders in front of me were on the brakes. It was really annoying.

  13. Bill Sledzik says:


    What we’re doing blogging at this hour is anyone’s guess. But hey, I can’t go fishing in this weather. I have one word for both you and Stacy: Subaru. I own three of them and I’m shopping for a fourth. Yesterday I parked in a space that hadn’t been plowed. Foot of snow. No big deal. No one gets all-wheel-drive like the Subie folks.

    On my next trip to Cinci, let’s all get together and think snow — while we’re drinking a lotta beer, of course.

  14. stacy wessels says:

    You know I’m always up for a beverage. Andy, where do you live? Maybe you and I could get the bar warmed up for Bill. (With our respective spouses/partners/etc of course. I was in NEO for 15 years and only “warmed up” to the snow in the last couple. Now I’m in Cinci. It’s funny what you’ll do when the paychecks are getting sent someplace different.

  15. Andy Curran says:

    East Side…Anderson Twp. on the border of Mt. Washington. There’s a great little neighborhood watering hole, the Salem Gardens, right up the street from my house. It’s an institution in this part of town. Great hamburgers and an adventurous selection of drafts for a local joint. My wife and I usually walk there and crawl home (lol). The Sledziks have been there and can attest to its charm.

    And if you don’t believe us…surf to these two links:

  16. Stacy Wessels says:

    I’m in Mt Washington, off Wasigo from Beechmont. “Beechview Estates” according to Google maps. Aren’t we supposed to have horses or something on an “estate”? I’m not sure I’ve been on Salem Road, but I think I can find it. Tues or Wed? If not, maybe next week.

  17. Bill Sledzik says:

    Can you guys move this to email? I’m getting hungry just thinking about the Gardens.

  18. Stefanie Schroeder says:


    The blog is as refreshing as the wintry breeze on my cheeks. Since I’m now in the “Windy City,” seeing weather reports that claim “feels like -33” are always entertaining. I wish I could go back to KSU, grab a tray from the cafeteria and sled down the hill behind Taylor.

    Anyways, thanks for the good reads, and stay chilly!

  19. Flick says:

    I hear you bro. I cannot stand winter wimps. My dad and sister are, and it drives me crazy when they complain about winter… in FLORIDA. It gets into the high 40s and they curl into a fetal position. I have since moved to Chicago, and I am loving it. I won’t move south of DC.

    I would take a blizzard over a hurricane any day. I lived in Pensacola when Hurricane Ivan struck. we did not stay for it, but my sisters then fiancee did (he is a nurse so he was required by his job to stay), and watched our house when we evacuated. Keep in mind that the storm was coming in as a cat 5… if you don’t absolutely have to stay behind in a storm like that, evacuation is the only prudent option as staying would put your life at great risk… almost nothing survives those (think Hurricane Andrew… it is like that).

    Luckily it weakend sharply right before it hit to a cat 3 (it was 130 mph when it hit). However it was still devastating. Our power was out for a week, our water was contaminated for 2 weeks. We had no food, there were no clear routes out for a week (too much debris on the roads), and there was no gas so driving was not an option. The house was damaged (but still standing). Oh yeah, no power = no AC. Florida gets hot as it is… but a week without AC in that state is pure hell. There is nothing to do but clean up pieces of your house and sweat.

    Blizzards? I was in both the ’99 (visiting) and ’11 blizzards that hit Chicago (wasn’t alive for the ’67 or ’79 ones). These were the 2nd and 3rd worst in Chicago history, and the power didn’t go out for either one (didn’t know anyone who lost power either). The worst thing about blizzards is having to stay home for a couple of days while you catch up on your favorite tv shows and enjoy the rest.

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