Winter Weather Woes

I live in the part of the United States that typically misses what many other parts receive in bucket loads:  snow.  So I was a wee bit skeptical when I started hearing weather reports last weekend that a snowpocalypse was heading my way.  I dutifully checked several weather reports and lo and behold, all of them had that lovely little snowflake action for many of this week’s days.  Wow!  A snowstorm!  Yippee!!!

I think we got about 20 flakes and some heavy frost out of the deal.

Lest you think I’m about to embark upon a rant over the inability of the weather forecasters to get the weather right, I must say this:  it must suck being a weather forecaster here in the northwest.  There’s all these pesky mountains and incoming jet streams off the freaking ocean.  Forecasting here isn’t like forecasting the weather in, say,  Phoenix.  “Today, it will be hot with a high of 180 degrees hotter than you want to be.  Tonight, we will have a cooling trend, if  you put a bowl of ice in front of that pathetic AC you’ve been babying along for the last 9 months.  Tomorrow will be more of the same.” Forecasting the weather some places is just pretty much an invitation to be wrong.

The trouble is, sometimes, the weather is just woeful.  And when it’s woeful, we get whiney.  Me more than most folks.

I don’t like being cold.  Some folks live for the days when they can bundle up and frolic in the snow.  Me?  I just want to bundle up in a blankie, drink a hot toddy in front of the roaring fire.  That’s my idea of a trip somewhere with the word “chalet” attached to it.  It is probably little surprise that I’m not a big fan of winter–at least the kind that includes lots of white stuff and temperatures smaller than my bosom.  Of course, my dislike of winter is due to the emotional and physical scarring caused by having lost the entire surface of my tongue one winter.  You know that scene in A Christmas Story? It is possible to be that dumb.  Also, even months later, it is possible to see the taste bud patterns of one’s tongue surface if you rip it off after being dared to lick snowflakes from a frozen gate.

Obviously I am needing a few more therapy sessions.

So you might be surprised that I lived for 9 years in the frozen tundra of the north, the land of ten thousand lakes with ice houses on them, Minnesnowta.  The story is, Mister Soandso is from there and when we were getting ready to make a big move in life we made a deal: whomever got the best job offer first got to pick. I was a public educator, he was a computer techie dude.  Yep, he won.

The summer we were preparing to move, I called my mother-in-law and asked her, the native Texan she is, just how bad is a Minnesota winter, anyway?  “Oh, it’s not so bad.  You just buy the right clothes and learn to do activities in the snow.  It’s not bad.”  Uhuh.

Fast forward a few weeks.  Yes, I said weeks.  On September 22, 1995 I phoned my husband at work.  The conversation went like this:

Me:  “Where the hell did  you move me to?!?!”

Him:  “Uh, what’s the matter?”

Me:  “It’s September 22nd and there are snowflakes coming out of the sky.  That’s the matter!”

Him:  “Oh, they won’t stick.”


So you might be guessing I had a bit of an issue that winter.  Because it really didn’t matter how many layers of unattractive coats, boots, mittens, scarves, and hats I put on, I was still cold.

That winter, I learned to wear “Choppers.” (A wool-lined leather mitten, tres chic baby, tres chic!) I learned to never allow anything metal to touch any of my flesh if I’d been outside for more than 15 seconds.  (Keys in mouth while juggling purse, lunch bag, Choppers, and book bag in order to chip into frozen car?  A very, very bad idea.)  And I learned that it is absolutely okay to drive for several miles with a kachunking sound until the flattish side of the tire warms up enough to round out again.

I also learned that there is just not much sexy in living in a cold environment.  First off, bed hair is marvelous compared to stocking cap hair with static.  And those parkas that keep you from losing all the feeling in your fatty deposits?  They just make you look like you have lots and lots of fatty deposits.  (A parking lot of folks scraping their cars?  Looks like the Michelin Man’s family reunion.)  And when you have dry skin to begin with, living in a cold environment is a killer.

My armpits chapped and peeled 6 times that first winter.  I’d strip off my upper layers in an attempt to seduce my husband and I’d shower him with skin flakes.  It’s hard to be sexy when you’re dusting somebody off.

Oh, and my mother-in-law, the Texan native who assured me it wasn’t too bad?  She spent most of that winter in Guatemala.

So, just the other day when all my kids and friends were giddy about the chance for some of the white stuff, I just sent up a prayer for rain to the weather gods.  I’d much rather the weather forecasters were wrong again, thank you very much.

9 thoughts on “Winter Weather Woes

  1. Pingback: Tweets that mention Winter Weather Woes « Ten Minute Missive --

  2. I’m with you on the cold. Not only that, no good deed goes unpunished. After being forty pounds overweight for decades, I finally shed the fat; got my blood pressure down below the numbers that made my doctor pass out; got my pre-diabetic insulin test down below the level where I was going to have to start mainlining insulin; got rid of the belly that made my wife say, “You’re not putting that on top of me, no way, buddy”; and now I’m so cold I don’t want to to take off my clothes ever again. In fact, I just bought my first set of long underwear.

    When I was a teenager, my defense contractor-employed dad moved us around the country (six schools in three states). I remember waiting for the school bus in Wisconsin with the wind-chill factor 37 degrees below. I thought, “When I grow up, No way will I live where it is this cold when I am a grown up.

    Here I am a grown-up (maybe) in Puget Sound and I bring my own cold with me.

  3. I HATE winter. Which is why I moved to FL. Apparently, I didn’t move far enough south. We are freezing our asses of here this winter. No snow, but it is cold enough to.

    As far as weather forecasting goes, I would really like to have a job where I can be wrong 90% of the time and remain employed. I know it is hard, but they are almost never right! It’s ridiculous! My favorite was when we were going to the symphony one night. I was about 7 mos pregnant. Got in a dress, pantyhose and heels for God’s sake. The dude on the news said he was 100% certain it would not rain. We got caught in a deluge on the way there, and it didn’t stop. Got soaked going in to the hall. Great forecasting!

  4. Yup, cold sucks. I’m a skinny guy(don’t hate me, it has it’s own draw backs). One of the draw backs to being a skinny guy is that one has abso-freakin-lutely NO NATURAL INSULATION!

    One of the reasons why I was glad to move to the Pac NW those years ago was to escape the winters in Kansas(ok & the summers) Not Minnesota by a long shot, but plenty windy-cold-nasty in it’s own right. Then in summers it would be 100 degrees with about 75-80% humidity. That means you wind up paying for maximum climate control on both ends.

    Here it rains a lot – I can handle that.

    Thanks Kristina, for another fine post.

  5. I think everyone agrees that the cold hasn’t been conducive to fair temperaments.

    The problem with forecasting the weather is one which we’ll never fix – there are too many variables, and even when the general forecast gets things right, there can be places within an indicated zone where anomalous weather patterns form, leading to the impression that the whole of the report is wrong. A few hundred years of people trying to seriously figure out the mechanics of weather hasn’t gotten us very far, comparatively.

    It could be a lot, lot worse for the forecasters than it is for the viewers – especially if the weather report is extraordinarily bad. I still feel (a little bit) sorry for the venomous outpouring against Michael Fish.

  6. LOL! I’m not fond of long winters, either, but I do like living in a place where all four seasons are about the same length. The variety suits me.

    That said, if I can avoid shoveling snow, that’s fine with me. A dusting — just for the ambiance — is plenty. 😉

  7. Love this. I happen to love snow, but I think it’s because I don’t see it or experience it often. And, yes, it can leave even me whining. This winter has been particularly white in the NYC area and it’s been periodically gorgeous and peaceful but the idea of spring doesn’t sound so bad!

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