Thanks in part to my shrink, I’m kinda-sorta enjoying winter this year. “Dr. X” is constantly encouraging me to “embrace the situation, whatever the circumstance.” Since …
Thanks in part to my shrink, I’m kinda-sorta enjoying winter this year. “Dr. X” is constantly encouraging me to “embrace the situation, whatever the circumstance.” Since I spend cold, hard cash to improve my quality of life “through self-discovery,” I’ve decided to heed his advice.
As for winter, it’s been an uphill climb. Seeking ways to “embrace” the bitter cold, snow and ice has been a challenge, but the entire last year has been a challenge, so, “What’s a little ice?” I asked the dog, who looked up and wagged. “Use the tools you have available,” Dr. X is fond of saying—so, of course, I turned to the internet. I scrolled through a few articles about outdoor activities until I found Vanessa Felie, a blogger from Granby, CT who was enthusing about an art project that (IMHO) looked like fun.
“Do it yourself (DIY) frozen water balloons” the headline screamed, catching my attention with a colorful image of bowling-ball-sized icy globes scattered in the snow outside of her home. “We found this cool winter project on Pinterest and had to share it,” Felie’s blog post declared. “Kids and grandkids will love it, too!”
Being a kid at heart, I delved further. “Simply fill the balloons with water,” it stated, “add a few drops of food coloring, tie off the ends and freeze them overnight in snow. Once frozen, use a pair of scissors to cut the balloon off. Line your cabin walkway with the colorful crystalline orbs,” the instructions encouraged, “or place them around the entry for a fun conversation piece. The little bursts of color will really stand out against the white snow. For more projects, visit www.cabinlife.com.”
“Well, okay, Vanessa, I’m gonna give it a shot,” I said out loud and called a pal who has kids still living at home. “Any chance you’ve got water balloons lying around?” I asked meekly. “I seem to be fresh out.”
Answering in the affirmative, my friend said she had “plenty” and that I was welcome to them. “But I thought you once told me that you’re afraid of balloons,” she said after I drove over to pick them up. “Terrified,” I replied. “Air, water or helium—I do not care for balloons. But I’m looking for ways to embrace the situation.”
Once home, I looked at the instructions again. “If possible, carry filled balloons outside before adding food coloring to avoid making a mess indoors.”
“Carry filled balloons outside?” I said incredulously to the dog. “That sounds like a recipe for disaster. I thought this was an outdoor project. And besides,” I continued, “these balloons look mighty small. I can’t imagine how they’re going to turn into frozen bowling balls.”
“Watch for leaks,” Vanessa warned, “as food coloring shooting out of a tiny hole in a balloon can stain wall paint, tiles and clothes.” Talk about a fun conversation piece. As I continued reading, her words “simply fill water balloons” echoed in my head, and I called my friend. “What’s with the teeny funnel?” I asked. “It doesn’t fit over my faucet, and the balloon babe is making me nervous. Her instructions say to ‘wear black gloves because they won’t show stains.’ Oy, it’s sounding less than simple,” I moaned. “Wish me luck.”
I headed for the water spigot on the side of the house, having learned that the “teeny funnel” was actually an “easy-fill nozzle” included with what turned out to be a hundred of the smallest (but no less intimidating) balloons I had ever seen. My so-called friend had already abandoned me by stating that it was 10 degrees outside and that she had no intention of freezing her “a** off for some stupid project that wasn’t gonna work anyhow.” Well, fine.
Have you ever tried to fill the world’s smallest balloon with water in 10-degree weather? Forget about Vanessa’s “black gloves” suggestion. Tying a one-inch-long balloon, filled with liquid, while dripping food coloring (you heard me) into it with gloves on is “just not possible,” I wailed into the bitter, icy wind. “Oh look!” I yelped, dropping the damn thing. “It’s leaking. Just like she said it would. Glad I’m not in the kitchen.”
As the minutes dragged on and the fear of frostbite became real, I somehow managed to get one lemon-sized balloon filled and tied, food coloring not included.
I hastily beat a retreat, abandoning the project altogether, leaving the one miniature balloon outside to freeze overnight. When I awoke the next morning, Dharma and I went out to check up on Ms. Felie’s “fun-for-the-whole-family” near-death experience, and there it was: a small (clear, not colored) frozen blob, its rubbery skin cracked and split, openly mocking me. Determined to embrace the situation, I marched indoors, grabbed the food coloring and dribbled it onto the surface of my icy egg.
“Hmm,” I thought. “That’s kinda pretty. Looks like I’ve made lemonade out of lemons, after all. What do you think, girl?” Dharma looked at me like I was crazy and sashayed inside, “It’s cold out, dude,” she seemed to say with a yelp. “What’s wrong with you?” What indeed. Good thing I have Dr. X on speed dial. Still looking to embrace the situation, I might try another DIY project next week, but I’ll definitely take Vanessa’s advice and wear gloves next time, cuz, baby... it’s cold outside.
Fun Fact: “Baby, It’s Cold Outside” is a popular song written by Frank Loesser in 1944 and introduced to the public in the 1949 film “Neptune’s Daughter.”