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Blizzard calculations

With the heat out and no water, a self-professed fat cat reassesses her creature comforts.

The refrigerator is 42 degrees F. The house is 42 degrees F. Therefore, the house is a refrigerator. Beside this syllogistic proposition, there is an irony here as well. While it grows colder in the house, the refrigerator is getting menacingly warmer and threatening to spoil a week's worth of food, including those nice fillets waiting to be formally dressed in béarnaise sauce for a future feast.

Under blizzard conditions and high winds, it seems petty to complain about lost fillets and a couple of days without power. The well pump is dead – no water, and the bathrooms are out of commission. Guess there are bigger fillets to fry.

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Spoiled fat cats, we sit and shiver with just a fireplace to rely on. It is cheery – the fire, I mean. Only a section of the body can be warmed at a sitting, though, and there is stiff competition for front-row seats. Taking turns is a step toward civility among us grouchy cats. No matter where we sit, a rosy side and a bluish side is the most we can expect of a few logs in 15-degree weather. But shifting around a lot gets the circulation going and burns calories. A good thing when boredom has been ameliorated by snacking on everything from soup to nuts. No lights, no TV, no computer. Very tough business.

Whatever did our ancestors do? Hard for us cats to imagine. Maybe it wasn't such a big deal to them, as it is for us pampered descendents. If you don't have electricity you can't lose it. Central heat didn't exist. It probably wasn't much colder in their houses during a blizzard than on any other winter day, when upon rising, they would break the shell of ice in the washbasin and splash water on their cold faces before going down to stir up the dying coals in the kitchen stove.

Still, to be cold then, or to be without respite from the cold now, has to be the worst fate, along with hunger and a lack of clean water. World poverty and homelessness is on the rise and so is the wealth of shared misery.

How comparatively little there is to complain about here. I sing this loud and joyously in harmony with the musical roar of the furnace. It just came on. I'm going to go downstairs and kiss it.


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