I have a friend who used to be a seaman on a nuclear submarine. He went through a lot of psychological testing before he was approved for sea duty. And, even as emotionally placid as he is, I am sure it was tough at times in such close quarters and with the stress of high alerts.

Lately, I've been getting a taste of that myself. I have three children and do a lot of work at home. This winter the weather Gods have forced my kids to be here with me for many days – about 9 now – when school was closed for emergency reasons: wind storms and power outages, and two snow and ice storms. As I write this the kids are home again! 2 inches of snow and everything shuts down here in Seattle. Folks elsewhere would have to laugh!

What I am learning as we huddle together is how hard it can be emotionally. People get testy, tired of being out of their routine, and less willing to be "team players." Somehow we've lost those skills as so many of us run around focused on our own priorities.

I am trying to teach my kids, and myself, how to get along at close quarters even when the power has been out for eight days and it's cold and dark. We'll be better for it.

It has already been a tough winter emotionally. Is it global warming and more of this is in store for us? I have no idea. But I am betting we'll have more emotional challenges if our dependence on the "comforts of home" and a regular routine is too great. I am determined to be more flexible and get my kids to be that way too. The alternative of explosions under our roof is no fun!

If winter has got you down, how are things at your house as you cope? Got any tips for me?