January makes me grumpy

grumpyJanuary makes me grumpy. Moody. Cranky. Crabby, cantankerous, crotchety and cross.


I want to slam January’s icy clutches in the door of an old Buick, punch its gloomy face with my frozen fists, and kick its windy, bone-chilling backside with steel-toed boots until my grumpiness goes away. And that may take a while.

The only thing I want from despicable, wretched January is one–just one!–HEAVY snow, the kind that drapes the woods in a blanket of stillness and embraces the moonlight in shimmering beauty, the kind that provides a few days of peaceful solitude before quickly melting in the blazing sunshine of a heat wave. And if I can’t have that one heavy snow (and every day it’s looking more and more like I can’t), then I want January to take its miserable self and march right on out of here.

And it doesn’t help my mood that my yearly physical falls in January, long before I’ve had a chance to rid myself of holiday excesses. Today, in fact, I am making the two-hour trek in order to pay a large sum of money for the opportunity of sitting in a germ-infested waiting room, followed by the pleasure of having blood drained from my arm and being told once again that I’m shorter than I thought I was and heavier than I really am. (Seriously, in this “high-tech” world in this “digital” age, is it too much to ask that the doctor offices finally start using digital scales to weigh us instead of relying on the good humor of an overworked nurse who, with one quick flick of her index finger, can slide that balance beam a few pounds to the right just for the heck of it?)

But that’s not the only thing stealing my sunshine this cold, gloomy January and turning me into a grumpy old woman whose withering stare could make even grumpy old men like Jack Lemmon and Walter Mathau melt into their ice fishing boots. I’m also fed up with the dry, itchy skin that crackles no matter how much lotion I apply, the bones that creak and joints that ache no matter how many Advil I swallow, and the nose that drips no matter how many times I sniffle or blow. And while I’m at it, I’ve had just about enough of the static that sends my hair strands shooting in 27 different directions while plastering my crumpled clothes to my electrified body in a most unflattering way.

And since I’m on a negativity roll, here are a few more little things currently grating on my nerves:

  • Waiting in line behind people scratching off one lottery ticket after another at the convenience store counter. I realize if they win a couple bucks, they will want to immediately invest it in even more lottery tickets, but should the rest of us have to pretend patience while they litter the counter with silver shavings and prevent us from paying for our purchases and going on our merry way?
  • Ordering water with a meal at a fast-food drive-up window and being told that water is not an option–or that it will cost more. Are we actually supposed to believe that you don’t have access to a water faucet–or is that a cup of water from the faucet is more expensive than a soft drink from the soda fountain–or that the two extra steps to the faucet is so much more labor intensive? Geesh.
  • Witnessing messes left by lazy people for others to clean up. Yard sale signs left taped to the stop signs, political campaign signs left littering the roadsides, food left splattered on the inside of the microwave, trash dropped on the floor, left on the table or thrown from the car window, and cigarette butts dropped anywhere–is it really that hard to clean up our messes and find appropriate receptacles for our rubbish?
  • Being too frequently confronted with the phrase, “Now that you’re retired, could you . . .?” Okay, I know that I should have more time on my hands now, but amazingly, I don’t, and even if I did, I seriously haven’t finished de-stressing yet. (Can’t you tell?) And I’m not bored yet, either, so please stop asking me to take on new challenges. I will someday . . . probably . . . but not now.
  • Watching someone cough or sneeze into his hands right before offering one of them for me to shake. Really? Even if we weren’t smack dab in the middle of one of the worst flu seasons in recent memory, I would still be mortified.
  • Banging my knee on the desk, stubbing my toe on the door frame, dropping the curling iron on my neck and biting the inside of my cheek. Yes, I am self-destructive (in oh-so-many ways).
  • Being exposed to Hardees commercials that use scantily clad women, sexually provocative postures and dripping condiments to sell burgers. And yes, I know sex is a tried and true marketing ploy that works–but that doesn’t mean I have to like it, agree with it, or ever buy your burgers again. And yes, maybe I did become a Diet Coke addict years ago because a rippled, shirtless construction worker was gulping one repeatedly on my television screen–but that was years ago when I was younger and not wise to the wicked ways of marketing.
  • Watching a colorized version of “The Andy Griffith Show.” Andy, Barney, Opie, Aunt Bea and all the rest of the gang visit my living room every weekday, sandwiched between the depressing noon news and an even more depressing afternoon soap opera. And even though I’ve probably already seen every episode (more than once), I still enjoy the silly humor and predictable plotlines, especially when the condescending city slickers are taught a lesson by the humble country folks of Mayberry. The show is a sweet remnant of a simpler time, and for some reason broadcasting it in color just doesn’t seem right.

Somewhere, buried deep within my grouchy, grumbling being, are two little rays of sunshine known as Spring and Summer. Their light may be faint and barely visible to the rest of the world right now, but I know from previous Januarys that they really are there, and one of these days they will glimmer through that gallbladder cesspool of bile and bitterness–and everything will be right again.

And yes, I know, I should be counting my blessings and reminding myself of all the goodness that exists in my life, today and every day–and normally I would. But today, I just don’t want to. Do you ever have days like that–days when you’re crabby, cantankerous, crotchety and cross, and you would rather wallow in your misery than exert the effort to claw your way out? Country music singer Terri Clark may have said it best years ago: “Please don’t make me smile, I just want to be mad for awhile.”

Hurry up, February.

A few things that normally make me smile . . . 

5The quiet companionship of one of my dogs, Annie . . . 

4The clear, rushing waters of a spring-fed stream . . . 

3The eery spark and glow of fire in our firepit . . . 

2A glass of sweet white wine . . . 

1And a fiery sunset over the hills.

About icedteawithlemon

I have recently retired from a 30-year career in education in one of the best school districts in the world. I hope to spend my second life reading, writing, photographing, traveling, biking, cheering on my favorite baseball team (the St. Louis Cardinals), and soaking up glorious sunshine. In my spare time I enjoy playing with my pet tarantulas, trying out new flavors of chewing gum, and knitting socks for prison inmates. I'm almost positive that in a past life I was one of the Seven Dwarfs (most likely "Grumpy"), and in my next life I'm going to be either a taste tester for Hershey's or a model for Victoria's Secret's new line, "Bloomers for Boomers." I want to travel country back roads, singing Vanilla Ice songs at every karaoke bar and rating bathroom cleanliness at every truckstop. And someday I plan to own a private beach where skinny girls aren't allowed. I want to be a writer when I grow up. "Our truest life is when we are in dreams awake."--Henry David Thoreau
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22 Responses to January makes me grumpy

  1. Sue says:

    My sentiments exactly & thank you for stating them in such a way that we actually find them humorous and laugh at ourselves! Good luck today – I solved that dreaded winter physical by postponing the appt. by 3 or 4 weeks at a time until it fell in the middle of beautiful spring when my attitude improved. Just a thought for you in the future.

    • Thank you, Sue. And today wasn’t as bad as I was expecting–no one else was in the waiting room, the phlebotomist hit my vein on the very first attempt, the nurse didn’t flick the balance beam to the right, and I followed it all up with a little “retail therapy.” All in all, not a bad day–but I’m still ready for spring. L)

  2. alice neal says:

    One word only: a-men, sister

  3. RayEtta says:

    I hear what you are saying! January has been a bad month for me for many years. I like Christmas and that hub-bub then January 1st is my birthday but shortly there after I get kind of funky myself. It lasts until about mid February and starts to improve then. The itchy skin and various things I can for sure find empathy for. Maybe everyone has a little SAD in the winter. When mine all started I was working in an office that had no windows. I left so early that it was usually not very bright in the morning and got home just late enough that there was not much daylight before dark. I spent 10 years in the dark. I used to say I wished I could hibernate for a while in the winter.

    • I have a January birthday, too, which used to be a source of delight–not anymore! The days are slowly getting longer (a minute here, a minute there), so maybe soon we can all put on our happy faces and kiss these long, cold days goodbye.

  4. Kip Light says:

    January does, indeed, suck pond water. Couldn’t agree more about the total incorrectness of Mayberry in color. It’s just wrong. What few TV shows I pay attention to are winding down and the only thing saving me this year is that football is still relevant in Atlanta. Fortunately, at least in respect to the foibles of the general population, I don’t get out a lot, so I don’t have to deal with many of your other peeves, but there are more than enough others to make up for that. I’m hoping that Spring gets here quickly, too.

    • Football? I can’t even remember the last time I watched a football game, but baseball–now, that’s a different story! 🙂 St. Louis Cardinals’ opening day is April 1, and any television programming I watch between now and then is just filler and noise … (Hope your February is better than your January, and that everything just keeps getting better and better after that.)

      • Kip Light says:

        I’m the same way with baseball, it’s just a time-killer ’till football season starts for me. That’s why we have multiple sports 🙂 So far, so good on the upcoming months being better. Every month gone is one more victory.

  5. KathyV says:

    On target, as usual! Thanks!

  6. Vicki Campbell says:

    Hi, Karen….

    Just a little helpful hint about moisturizing in the winter. Before finishing your shower, apply hair conditioner to your skin and then rinse it off gently. Towel dry as normal. This is has virtually stopped the dry skin itch in the winter I suffered with for years and years! Hope it helps!

    • Wow … I have NEVER heard that tip! I’ve always used a body oil in the shower, but lately I’m finding that I still need a body lotion shortly after. Thanks for the tip–and thanks for stopping by!

      • Vicki Campbell says:

        You’re welcome and I hope it helps! I used to use oil too and it did almost nothing to help. I just use a cheap hair conditioner (like Suave).

  7. Mary Fritz says:

    You are so right about January! We all need to endure it but a little snow is so great in this dreary month. As usual, you speak for all of us! And thanks to Vicki, will try that also. Somehow I always end up with a half of a tube of condition from a hotel stay and it is never enough to take with on the next trip! Good way to use it up.

    • Thank you, Mary! Unfortunately, January looks as if it’s going to wind down cold and dry, and the start of February isn’t looking very white, either. Oh well. And that’s a great idea to use the hotel samples to “condition” our dry skin–I have dozens of those little bottles that I just had to bring home to gather dust under the bathroom sink. 🙂

  8. bronxboy55 says:

    I love this post, Karen, especially the lottery ticket scratchers. Could we just add positive-thinking advocates to the list? How are we going to appreciate feeling good if we never acknowledge feeling bad?

    By the way, your memory seems as sharp as ever.

    • Ha! Thank you for pointing that out, Charles. I encounter memory “holes” almost every day, but I’m trying not to let them bother me so much and focusing instead on all the things I do remember–kind of goes along with your theory of acknowledging feeling bad in order to appreciate feeling good. 😉

      And I continue to be dumbfounded by the lottery ticket scratchers–as well as the store employees who allow them to do it while disgruntled customers wait in line behind them. Wouldn’t a simple poster from the management fix the problem? Ah, well. Hope you are enjoying a cold, snowy Canadian winter (so you’ll appreciate that cold, sunny Canadian spring even more!).

  9. liliofthefield27 says:

    Great post, Karen. I can empathize with your divine January jive talk. I’d offer you tea and sympathy, but on second thought, a hot rum toddy might be better suited. Oh, and I too have oodles of eensy weensy hotel conditioner and body lotion bottles collecting dust bunnies…somewhere. You know, there’s an ultimate skin moisturizer, but, this being a G rated blog, I’ll refrain from disclosing.

    “They” had better not colorize “I Love Lucy” episodes, or I shall shcreem!

    • Thank you, Lillian. I would gladly accept that hot rum toddy (and perhaps a refill as well)–it might actually warm me from top to toe, and it certainly couldn’t hurt my mood. Colorizing “I Love Lucy”? Sacrilege. There’s something magical and precious about those old black-and-white favorites of childhood, and to mess with such perfection is just plain silly.

      • liliofthefield27 says:

        Perhaps in order to beat these January blahs, we should all follow Lucy Ricardo’s advice, and run out and buy a great big bottle of Vitameatavegamin! It contains vitamins, meat, vegetables, and minerals! We can all spoon our way to health…and we won’t poop out at parties! LOL!

      • That does not sound the least bit appetizing! I would rather sleep my way to better health–long, daily naps induced by a “great big bottle” of wine sounds so much more appealing.

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