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.”
Me: “THAT’S NOT THE POINT. THE POINT IS IT IS CURRENTLY SEPTEMBER AND IT IS SNOWING, YOU ASSHOLE!”
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.