I awake at 5 am, coughing, in a bed strewn with crumbled tissues. I am surrounded by cough drop wrappers, Tylenol, a half cup of cold tea and a mountain of pillows. The vaporizer purrs.  I am aware as I run my hands through my hair that there is honey stuck in my bangs.

This is what four days in bed with a virus looks like. I stagger to the bathroom. It is one of those times that what you feel on the inside matches exactly what you look like on the outside.  The mirror is not my friend. Eyes and nose are bright red, my skin is ashen. Forget my hair. I consider covering the mirror with a towel.

In my achy, sneezy, congested state, I check the weather forecast on my Kindle. There are no storms forecast for the next week and the temperature may hit 50! This news energizes me and sends me rummaging around for my garden journal. In the journal is an accounting of where I plant everything, and when it blooms. This is tremendously gratifying and helpful as I compare one year to the next.

As I microwave some water for tea, I flip to March, 2014. On March 20, my first two tulips appeared. I move toward the window and in the early light, take in the eight foot pile of snow that sits precisely where those tulips are due to make their spring debut. It occurs to me, that I might not see these blossoms until possibly, July.

What a hard, cold winter. I am usually unperturbed by the weather but storms every other day and sub- zero temps for a solid month have a way of messing with one’s psyche.  Lying low for the last few days waiting for this virus to exit my body, I had some time to consider what would have made this winter easier (for me, moving south is not an option) and I have come to the conclusion that it would have been much more helpful to get through this horrific February of storm after storm if we didn’t give them names of Greek gods, rock stars or royalty. Think about Sandy or Katrina- perky girls names that hardly should be associated in perpetuity with those catastrophic disasters.

So, I am considering a movement to change the way we name storms. For example, the first December storm could be called, “The Puts Us in the Holiday Mood Storm” or “It’s Going to be a White Christmas, after all, Storm”, then there would be “The Hooray, a Snow Day Storm!” As the season progresses, they would have names such as, “The Kids Will Be in School through August Storm”, “I Should Have Bought a Generator Storm”, “The Ice Dam Storm”, or “The Storm that Drove me over the Edge”.  How about “The Storm When I Ate an Entire Package of Oreos followed by the Chips Ahoy and Milano’s”? Then around the 4,000th storm we would have, “The OMG, Are You F*^#*ng Kidding Me Storm???”

As always, when we are honest with our challenges, they become easier to deal with. I am tired of seeing ads of people with the flu, just taking a pill, and strutting off to work looking fabulous. I am equally as tired of having storms packaged as “weather events”. No, an event is something I enjoy- like a party, a picnic, a football game, a wedding or a bowling tournament. And it certainly does not help to name them Apollo, or Blake. These heroic names or upbeat medicine ads do nothing to make us feel better.  These “spins” simply deny our reality which is this: This winter was hard and being sick isn’t fun.

So, here comes spring. As we change our clocks this weekend, I will focus on what’s under those huge piles of filthy snow and imagine those small bulbs, waking up , stretching, grabbing nutrients from the earth as they move toward the sunlight. Simultaneously, I will focus on what is under the huge pile of tissues, the red nose and old-man cough. I will also rest, stretch, grab nutrients and open the drapes to the sun, so when the snow is finally melted, the tulips and I will both rejoice that we made it through.

Right now though, I need to figure out how to get honey out of my hair.

And next year, I’ll work on renaming those storms.



© 2015 Donna F. Ferber, LPC, LADC is a psychotherapist in private practice in Farmington, CT since 1986.She is the author of the award winning From Ex-Wife to Exceptional Life: A Woman’s Journey through Divorce now available in Kindle format for $9.99 as well as in paperback.


  1. Stacy on the 08. Mar, 2015 remarked #

    One of my favorite posts ever! You are right on point and I couldn’t agree more. Thanks for putting a smile on my face as we awake to another below freezing morning. Spring can arrive soon enough. Glad you are feeling a little better:-)

  2. sandy on the 08. Mar, 2015 remarked #

    Thank you Donna for (once again) giving us a different spin on an old theme! It was just the shot in the arm (so-to-speak) that I needed. Given the challenges I am facing, it TRULY helped to put things in perspective. THANK YOU, THANK YOU!!!

  3. Barb W. on the 08. Mar, 2015 remarked #

    We live in southeastern Massachusetts and have never seen a winter like this before – and I lived through the blizzard of 78.

    I’m right there with you, except for the Oreos. For me, it’s been peanut butter and jelly sandwiches.

    This too shall pass.

    Take care!

    • Donna Ferber on the 08. Mar, 2015 remarked #

      I remember the blizzard of 78, too. That was merely flurries compared to this!
      How about “The Great Peanut Butter and Jelly Storm of 2015?

  4. Cj golden on the 08. Mar, 2015 remarked #

    This blog, like you, Donna, Is filled with great wit and insight. Love it!

  5. Msesq on the 08. Mar, 2015 remarked #

    Very funny. The Hartford Courant should hire you as a humor columnist!

    • Donna Ferber on the 08. Mar, 2015 remarked #

      I was hoping for a job naming storms!