polar vortex recap.

The big news in the Lou this week is the Polar Vortex.

What is this crazy weather, you ask? Click here to learn more!

That’s the science of it…but really it just felt like super cold temps and a whole lot of snow. 

Naturally, there is no such thing as a true go-back-to-bed-no-work-at-all snow day in the world of zookeeping. Most animals need care 365 days a year, polar vortex or no polar vortex. So, I had to head into work both Sunday (blizzard day) and Monday (frigid day).

As you may recall, working outside everyday in the winter was my biggest concern upon becoming a carnivore keeper. I HATE being cold and I’m the type who is ALWAYS cold. I barely tolerate air conditioning, people. Little did I know I would spend the winter working the coldest routine in the carnivore unit and that we would face the coldest temps our city has seen in my lifetime! 

Needless to say, when I saw a forecasted windchill of -30 I was a tad concerned…

So, how was it really?

Actually, not bad. Really not bad at all.

Sunday it snowed constantly, which is always beautiful and exciting. There’s nothing like a blizzard. I can’t remember the last time it snowed so hard all day long and truly I loved it. 

I left work around 10:30 that day, which was a nice change of pace. THAT, my friends, is a Zookeeper Snow Day!

Upon leaving work, I had the idea to immediately swap Carhartt’s for sweatpants and spend the day on the couch drinking hot chocolate. 

My boyfriend, John (aka my 4 wheel drive chauffeur for the weekend), however, had other plans.

We ended up spending the rest of Sunday driving around St. Louis like two idiots. It started with a mission to shovel John’s grandma’s driveway and pick up some sleds and ended up turning into an all day “dig strangers out of the snow and push cars out of ditches on the highway” fest. 

I won’t lie, at first, I was pretty mad. I really had my eye on those sweatpants.

But it actually turned into quite an adventure and between the two of us, John and I “saved” eight cars from certain doom in the snow. 

I eventually got to the sweatpants, around 4:00 pm. Phew!

Snow is fun, super negative wind chills, however, are not. I really braced myself for Monday. But like I said, it actually was not bad! The sun helped. And it wasn’t too windy. Plus, it was just so freaking beautiful with all that SNOW!

At one point I took my glove off to take a picture, which was probably a mistake and several other employees commented on the fact that my nose and cheeks were the exact shade of my magenta hat, but other than that it was just fine.

I’ll chalk it up to really good gear. And the fact that we got to leave at noon! Not too shabby. This second “Zookeeper Snow Day” allowed me to clean my apartment AND finish my weekly laundry before 5:00 pm! Truly, everyone should be allowed to leave work at noon on their Friday just so they can get all of their dumb chores done and enjoy the weekend! It was glorious. 

To sum it up—vortex schmortex. 

The animals are fine and happy and, let’s be honest, extreme weather is always exciting.

For better or for worse, Zookeepers in the Midwest get to feel the full force of each different season. It’s something I both love and hate about my job. 

Here are some of the pics I took Sunday/Monday. Hope everyone enjoyed being snowed in!

(Sunrise in Forest Park Monday Morning)

(No, that’s not Santa’s Workshop. Just a bathroom at the Zoo.)

(It doesn’t LOOK that cold…)

(Preparing to work in the blizzard)

(Sledding. Obviously necessary.)