Snow Day… Minus The Snow

Today, temperatures in Chicago dipped down to ridiculous lows. It was apparently due to something called a Polar Vortex, which I’d never heard of before, but suffice to say that a bunch of cold air came down from the Arctic, temporarily making Chicago and most of the midwest colder than Alaska.┬áThe actual temperature got down to 16 below zero, a record low, with wind chills of forty below and colder:

Polar Vortex Weather Map Chicago

Happily, both my office and Joe’s office sent out emails that they’d be letting people work from home due to the cold weather, so we were able to avoid the 15-minute walk to the train station. Lillian still went to daycare, which is luckily only about 100 feet from our house, so we were able to bundle her in many layers and then Joe carried her there as quickly as he could. (I’m told she said “Hurry! Cold!” the whole way, but they made it there safely.)

Overall it was sort of like a “snow day”, except with clear blue skies and without any actual snow to shovel. And it was nice to know that our house’s heating system is able to keep up with these record cold temperatures — it remained warm and toasty inside the entire day.

On Sunday, after hearing about the predicted cold but before knowing for sure that we wouldn’t be venturing outside, we were at Target and thought we’d try to pick up some long thermal underwear to help layer up against the cold. But it turned out to be a moot point — the rack where they’d been was picked over like a carcass by scavengers, with only a few undershirts remaining:

Thermal Underwear Rack

Moral of the story: Don’t expect to be able to buy long thermal underwear the day before a Polar Vortex, just like you can’t expect to be able to buy baby mittens in February.

And finally, when Lillian came home today, she proudly showed us this cute little construction paper penguin she made:

Construction Paper Penguin

It couldn’t have been more fitting. Today was definitely a day for the penguins!


  1. That’s great that both your employers let you work from home. I was concerned about you up there. Thank goodness Lillian’s daycare is so close so you could still take her. I imagine that getting any work done with her there would have been nearly impossible. What a cute penguin!!! Love you all!

    • Haha, that was pretty much it! An active two year old has a way of keeping you busy which wasn’t really an option if both of us needed to get job-work done. Thanks for reading and commenting and love to you all as well! :)

  2. Oh wow, and here I was more worried about Rachel and Geoff in Washington! I forgot the Great Lakes chills the surrounding areas so much. I hear you about the thermals, though, I know better than to even try – it’s like finding batteries and bottled water when the hurricane is already in the Gulf!

    {{{{{hugs}}}}} Did Lillian look like Ralphie in A Christmas Story? I can just imagine!

    • It’s crazy how Chicago was colder than places much further north! And as hard as it was to find gear for the cold, I can only imagine what it must be like looking for hurricane supplies when a hurricane is on the doorstep. Lillian didn’t look exactly like Ralphie but she was sure bundled up! Thanks for reading and commenting! :)

  3. I think penguins would feel right at home, even here in Pace, Florida! Glad you were able to stay home. I bet Lilly thought it was a great adventure to go out all bundled up and dash through the yard to the babysitter’s. Maybe not so much for Joe! Think it’s supposed to be warmer tomorrow!

    • It’s kinda funny — I was surprised to hear that even the penguins and polar bears at the zoo stayed inside on Monday! (Not that I blame them!) I can imagine it was new and different for Lillian, but Joe just tried to jog there and back as fast as he could. Thankfully it’s been getting “warmer” now though, and today’s 26 degrees felt positively balmy! :)

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