My freeze-dried, flash-frozen lawn (which needs to be mowed, by the way) is encrusted in a cellophane-thin layer of ice. So is the lake. Maybe I can mount the icehouse on a rubber raft this year.

I fear I've forgotten how to shiver — but it'll come back to me. Mother nature suffered a nervous breakdown Wednesday with rain, hail, slush, thunder and lightning; an atmospheric exclamation point heralding the arrival of an old-fashioned cold front.

The sun breaks through a stubborn deck of stratus today, but it won't help much. Windchill readings hold in single digits. A few neighbors who don't know better may complain about the cold.

Any snorts of indignation won't last long. Another surge of Pacific-flavored air arrives over the weekend with a shot at 40 degrees by Sunday. The metro stays above freezing much of next week; highs in the 30s to near 40. A slushy mix is possible midweek, maybe a cold rain late Christmas Day. A white Christmas in the Twin Cities this year is doubtful.