This morning I woke up old. And I am already sick of it. Remember when you used to stay at Camp 28 with your friends for the weekend up there by Rib Lake? But you all referred to the place as Camp 69, because it was more fun to say? And how you were never caught at home on New Year's Eve because you were too busy drinking shots of Wild Turkey after cross country skiing and then going through that salad bar and eating that medium rare steak and your plate had a stack of empty butter packages? And then how you traipsed up and down the streets in that little town, through the slush and snow and it was so fun? And no matter how late your head hit your pillow, the muffled sound of revving snowmobile engines never died? Yeah. I do too. But this morning, on the eve of the eve, I could barely get my ass out of bed. It wasn't my fault. It was because Hunter, the wonder dog, was waiting down there on the floor next to me on his geriatric-memory-foam-bed, from Bed Bath and Beyond. When I get up on a day off work we must go for a walk. Because Hunter is waiting. Not immediately. Hunter eats the breakfast that I pour into his dish first. And then he swallows all of his peanut-butter coated pills. And I too will take my blood pressure medicine while my cup of coffee is brewing. So I do have two minutes to relax before I have to go outside. Did you know that dogs do not listen to weather reports? They don't give a shit anyway. I could hear the cold hard facts come from the TV downstairs, beneath my covers. This morning while a very bright sun was blazing through my bedroom window, I heard her say it. "It is currently minus six degrees." "Minus six," I whimpered and pulled the comforter over my head. Uh-oh. I could feel Hunter's chin rest on my mattress. That is never good. "Hmmmm. She's moving and making noise. She must be planning to get up pretty soon," Hunter thought. "Maybe I won't have to bark in her face today." "Minus six, without the wind chill," the weather woman goes on. "That is six below naught." "But on second thought, maybe I should bark. Yes, I think my mom wants me to bark in her face." And then came the barking. "I'm old," I thought. "No. You are not," I snapped back. And then an argument ensued. I'm not old. It's just the cold that I am tired of. Or maybe it's the barking. Or maybe it's both. Because you see, winter is Millie Noe's favorite season. Of course spring, summer and fall all have their moments. I agree. And they do have nice weather. And there is boating. Yes. That is true. But winter. There is nothing I am closer to than winter. That is bullshit. No. It's not. I love winter. But. You don't like it anymore. What? You don't. But. You don't. No. Do not say that. I love winter. I cannot. I will not be a winter hater. Winter is my friend. Winter, winter, winter. Snow angels, devil dogs, snowmen. Ice skating. Skiing. Sledding. The woods. Big Flakes. Little Flakes. A snow day. Crackling fires. Jig Saw Puzzles. Books. Writing. I do not hate winter. Winter is my friend. I love it. My sweet Sven is having a birthday on New Year's Eve. He does every year. He is going to turn into our old camp up there in Rib Lake. The one with the salad bar, medium rare steaks and all my empty butter packets. And it ain't number 28. I am a little worried about my Sweet Sven. He has been complaining about winter for a few years now. And that is what old people do. They bitch about cold weather and taxes. He doesn't like taxes either. You know that old saying about birds of a feather flocking together. Well, now it's happening to me. I don't want to get out of bed. Because it's cold. And my dog is barking. In my face. Because he's always barking. In my face. And do you know why Hunter is barking in my face? Because he doesn't have a clue that he is ancient. Or that the only reason he can even get up the stairs is because he is a peanut butter coated opioid addict. And that next year I will be throwing a double surprise party when he and Sven both turn the big seven-oh. It must be nice to be a big furry kid with a drug problem. I want to be just like Hunter. I will not hate winter. No. Not me. I love winter. And I love taxes. PHEW. THAT WAS CLOSE.