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Tip-toeing through the winter of 2011-12

February 5, 2012
By JANICE R. KIASKI - Community editor, Herald-Star ( , The Herald-Star

So I'm driving home from work Wednesday, Feb. 1, and I see odd things for this time of year.

I see a guy wearing a pair of shorts and a T-shirt, washing windows at a downtown Steubenville building.

I see a woman jogging, attired as if it's spring, not the day before Groundhog Day.

I see people washing their cars.

I see roads that are dry and clear.

I see the sunshine as much as I feel its warmth.

I see people driving around with their car windows down.

I see kids enjoying playground equipment.

And I see the temperature reading on my car's dash panel - 58 degrees.

Fifty-eight degrees?

Are you kidding me?

Had I bought a new coat to help me persevere through winter, I would have been really bummed out since there's been little reason to even wear one.

It's been a crazy nonwinter kind of winter.

It was a thought I considered Feb. 1 when I was on my way to an interview and realized I didn't even really need to wear the sweater I'd brought along.

We're pretty much tip-toeing unscathed through the winter of 2011-12, each day another small victory in the big war that is usually the cold and nasty season.

I've hardly used a snow scraper on my windshield, and I suspect there's been more salt sprinkled on my French fries than there has been on the roads I travel.

Snow plows just aren't familiar sights this season.

It's fine and well with me to have this bonus good weather, to be without forecast fretting and worrying about driving in the ice or snow.

I don't remember a winter where I haven't had experiences of white knuckles on the steering wheel, worrying about getting somewhere safely, but so far, so good.

Our morning office conversations lack the usual accounts of who had the most treacherous drive to work.

If I were a kid desperate for a snow day or a sled ride, I'd be pretty bummed out.

But I'm a big kid, and there are no snow days anyway in the newspaper world.

Such as it is, I'm content to not shovel and shiver, to instead look out the window in the morning and see grass, green grass, not white stuff.

Granted, my tulips are as confused as I am about this streak of good weather.

They've pushed up through the ground, convinced that winter must be over, and spring can't be far behind.

And now the groundhog has done his weather thing.

He saw his shadow, the official call for six more weeks of winter.

If it's more of the same, I'll take it.

There's always next year for a new winter coat.

(Kiaski, a resident of Steubenville, is a staff columnist and features writer for the Herald-Star and The Weirton Daily Times and community editor for the Herald-Star. She can be contacted at

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