Here we are just days into the new year and already we have some issues with 2015. Here are 15 reasons why the air is leaving our 2015 balloon:
1. The deep freeze.
Much of the country is one big iceberg. More than two dozen states are under severe wind chill warning or watches because of a weather phenomenon known as a polar vortex -- an arctic cyclone that normally sits near the North Pole but has pushed unusually far south.
In Chicago, also known as "Chi-Beria," the high forecast for Monday was minus-11, the lowest high temperature in the city's history. The air was so cold that steam rose from the comparatively warm waters of Lake Michigan.
Let's just say it: Contrary to ice cream, people don't keep well when it's this cold out.
2. The 21-day junk food challenge.
You knew there would be something like this, right? A Facebook effort to start the new year off healthy began making the rounds again over this past weekend. This one calls for total abstinence from sweets, white bread, candy and cake. So in the spirit of things, we dutifully ate our spinach egg-white omelettes this morning. But over there in the corner, an English muffin was calling our names and sidling up to the toaster all sexy-like.
We are weak. We are hungry. We want bread. And we would prefer to have our diet failures occur away from social media's prying eyes.
3. The kids went back to school.
Did you see those sad faces on Monday morning? After two weeks off -- most of it spent in front of an Xbox or an iPad -- rising to an alarm clock at the crack of dawn was a battle of wills in many households. How many backpacks were retrieved from the back of the closet with the last school day's lunch remnants still in them? Let's face it: We love the holidays and we love our family time. And maybe sometimes we also love it when the kids go back to school and routine returns to our universe.
But no, nobody likes homework. Ever.
4. We returned to work.
Just. Shut. Up. We may love our jobs and adore our colleagues, but there is still something about coming back to work after a break that is hard. WebMd suggests reducing that email tsunami that awaits you by setting up filters before you leave. Getting a good night's sleep the night before your re-entry is essential too.
5. All the treats are gone.
From Halloween on, our offices have been sweet-tooth fests with people bringing in leftover candy, baked goods, treats galore. Plus most businesses throw parties for employees, feed them a meal or two. The result is we overeat at Thanksgiving, overindulge in December without regard for calories, and then go skidding into the new year generally carrying a few extra pounds. January is when we pay the piper. Nobody brings treats into the office this month and we are surrounded by a sea of salads in the lunchroom. Just not as much fun, is it?
6. The good cheer is gone too.
People are kinder and gentler in December. In the name of holiday spirit, they let you have the last parking spot, hold doors open for strangers, and in some cities, actually make eye contact and smile. Come January, it returns to being a dog-eat-dog world.
We're not sure why we can only be nice to one another based on calendar holidays, but maybe this is something that should be studied.
7. "Downton Abbey's" return was -- for some -- a letdown.
Chalk it up to too much anticipation, and we might be in the minority when we say this, but did we really stop the football-watching marathon for this?
8. We had to watch "The Interview" and again -- for some -- it didn't measure up to our expectations.
Yeah, well, what'd we expect? We watched it because we are patriots and didn't want North Korea to tell us we couldn't. Or more realistically, we watched it because everyone we know watched it and we wanted to be able to hold our own in the conversation.
Surprise, surprise: It just wasn't as good as it was hyped up to be and had it not been pulled from the theaters we probably never would have watched it. Well-played, Sony.
9. The Consumer Electronics Show rollout of new gadgets appears to be just more of the same.
While the toothbrushes that record how well your kid is brushing seem great at first blush, don't we all already know that our kids' dental hygiene needs some attention? We like electronics that improve our lives but for the past few years, mostly what we are seeing are gadgets. And our opinion of the non-invasive wearable calorie counter? Take a guess.
10. Kale is still being sold.
Have you ever stopped and asked yourself, "How could something that tastes so bad really be that good for me?" And now there are reports that hipsters' need for green juices has caused a worldwide shortage of the vegetable that once was used to decorate salad bars. And with that, the state rests, Your Honor.
11. Mario Cuomo, longtime ESPN sportscaster Stuart Scott, and Donna Douglas (Elly May Clampett) died.
Mario Cuomo, the former governor of New York and Donna Douglas, the actress who played the bombshell on "The Beverly Hillbillies," both died at age 82 in the opening days of 2015. Both were giants in their respective worlds. In addition, Stuart Scott, a talented sportscaster who had been battling cancer for years, died at the age of 49.
12. The Boston Marathon bomber is back in the news.
Jury selection is beginning in the case against 21-year-old Dzhokhar Tsarnaev, who is charged with 30 counts of murder and terrorism. He faces the death penalty if convicted. The Marathon bombing and the manhunt that ensued scarred our national psyche in a way that hadn't happened since 9/11. And now we get to relive it all over again with a trial. Fingers crossed for a plea bargain.
13. Many of us want to go to Cuba -- and can't yet.
We got our hopes up in December when President Obama announced a warming up of relations with Cuba. Currently, there are up to 650,000 U.S. visitors to Cuba a year, the overwhelming majority being Cuban-Americans who travel under family visit visas. Under Obama's new exceptions to the travel embargo, the number of non-Cuban-American U.S. visitors may triple, to about 300,000 over the next three or four years, he estimates. But frankly, we want to go now before the "new" Cuba bears no resemblance to the Cuba of today.
14. College bowl games shocked us.
So now what? We all have to quack like Ducks? We're still getting off saying "It's the Ducks against the Bucks." Sad, right?
15. The CDC has already called flu season an epidemic this year.
The most recent FluView report for the 2014-2015 flu season shows that about half the country is experiencing high levels of flu activity. Reports of hospitalizations and deaths from flu are higher. Activity is expected to continue for several weeks, especially in parts of the country that have not yet seen significant activity, says the CDC's website.