The Longest Month
January is my least favorite month. In fact, I’d go so far as to say I detest the first 31 days of the year. How do I hate thee? Let me count the ways.
Let’s start with the temperature. Here in Athens, January is the coldest month of the year. The average high is 54, and the average low is 33. Not even freezing. We’ve had quite a few days with highs in the upper 60s and into the 70s this year, which helps…some. Even if what we call cold might be considered downright balmy elsewhere, I still hate it.
Then there’s the weather. Snow and ice are rare enough that even the threat of it is a major news event. Instead of snow, we get rain, and with the drought we’ve been in for most of the fifteen years I’ve lived in Georgia, I wouldn’t dare complain. But I’m addicted to sunshine and experience withdrawal on cloudy gray days. That we have so many sunny days makes me hate winter weather a tiny bit less here than if I lived farther north.
And what about those short days? Given my sun addiction, my body abhors them. Less daylight also forces me either to miss out on activities that require it, or to rush around trying to squeeze them in. I’ve only been able to run twice in the last month–down from three or four times a week when days are longer. At least I can go to the gym.
Unfortunately, thanks to the resolution crowd, January is the one month the gym gets too crowded to use. This year, because everything is torn up for a big expansion project, it’s even worse. Nothing is where it’s supposed to be, and the equipment is crammed so close together there’s barely room to walk. Unlike a year ago, I’m motivated to go, but between the construction chaos and the January crowd, I too often cut my workouts short.
Like all that’s not enough, annual reports are due at work. You wouldn’t believe the time this task requires. I’m one of those super-organized people and have learned to spend a few hours at the end of every month writing things up, entering what I can into the online reporting system, and adding notes to a file. Even so, I still spend days preparing the final report. I can’t imagine how much time a less organized person spends putting it all together.
And then there’s the money thing. Because cash burns a hole in my pocket, I have everything possible taken out of my paycheck or automatically transferred from my account so that what’s left is more or less what I need to live on for the month. This practice serves me well the rest of the year, but because we get paid before Christmas rather than the end of the month, my December check needs to cover six weeks of expenses during the most expensive time of the year. No matter how I plan, I always end up depleting whatever I’ve set aside for the long dry spell and dipping into my savings.
On the plus side, I don’t need to mow or do yard work. If I sat here long enough, I could perhaps come up with a few more. No matter how long the list, I’d still hate January. At least we’re two-thirds of the way through the horrid month. I can’t wait to stick a fork in it and call it done.
Daylight’s a wasting so I need to wrap this up. I’m still trying to think of a clever sign off. But for now, today’s rant is a reminder that I will likely always be…
The Crotchety Old Man