31 January 2019

What Level of Winter are You?

As my beloved Midwest faces some rather frigid weather this week, I've been reminiscing (from the safety of my 85 degree tropical home)  about my former lives as a Michigander. And the distinctly "Winter" experiences I've had there. I'm sure that to the Minnesotans and Alaskans and Canadians out there, along with the polar bears, could say, if they wished: "That ain't nothing. Wait till you hear about..."

But that's exactly the point of this post. What level of winter have you achieved? Have you done all of these and more? Or have you spent most of your life in sunny Texas, weathering only the occasional ice storm?

(My former home, Winter 2014)

During winter I have:

+ Spun my car 180 degrees my very first time driving on my own while it was snowing (I got my license in December). And then calmed myself down and continued on to school.

(view from outside the house, standing in the driveway, looking toward the garage and street, Winter 2014)

+Desperately shoveled as much of the snow out of our long driveway as I could, so that Angel's car wouldn't get stuck out in the road. When the snow was bad, I'd only manage to get about one car length semi-cleared so that he could at least pull in and not have his car in the road. And he'd come home from the hospital after 8 in the dark and finish the driveway.

+ Tried to go into school on a horrible blizzard day because the school would charge me $30 if I didn't show up, but couldn't get my car out of the driveway, so went right back in the house and called my school to say I wasn't coming in. My life wasn't worth $30.

+Slid off the highway while driving alone to visit my grandparents on Christmas Eve.

+Closed my eyes and white knuckled the door handle while Angel drove through a horrible November blizzard from Michigan to Chicago to pick up my parents from the airport.

+ Worried about Angel driving 27 miles each way to the hospital. A couple times I got snow days and school got canceled, but nurses can't have snow days, and he had to leave at 6 a.m. or earlier, before the sun came out to start melting the ice, and he'd be home after 8. Every day he'd call me before he left work so that I'd know around what time I could expect him to arrive home.

+Spray-painted messages into the snowbanks that lined our driveway.

+ Got into an accident with a sign after the car slid on black ice (I was a passenger, not the driver). I hear that the sign is still bent, all these years later.

+ Kept our thermostat at 65 degrees normally, turning it up when we had guests visit. Also, closed off part of the house during the entire winter to save on the gas bill.

+Related: Bought a new pair of slippers each year, after wearing my previous pair to shreds every single year before spring would arrive.

+ Wore wildly weather-inappropriate outfits for photos outside because I wanted pretty pictures on Christmas day!

+ Dressed properly for the weather, which obviously involved a 20-year old jumpsuit layered over winter clothing and my coat and gloves.

+Went sledding. With our cat. Because of Angel, of course.

+ Walked around with a blanket wrapped around me at nearly all times indoors.

+ Had an actual boot collection with a variety of boots: some for wading through deep piles of snow, some that were okay for just a couple inches of snow, and others that I didn't want to be salt or water-stained so I'd only wear them when it wasn't actively snowing or icy.

And here, for good measure, is an ancient home video of me and Angel playing in the snow with our cats:

So, tell me, what are your winter claims to fame?
Moonofsilver said...

it rarely gets below zero here. we consider it cold when its in the 20f.

Michelle said...

When I was a teenager, my mom and I got stranded in a ditch of snow with our car turned on it’s side because we slid off the road. Our neighbor (who happened to be a contractor, fortunately) once had to plow our driveway with a bulldozer. Survived two weeks straight of temperatures that never got above zero. Went skiing one full day a week every winter with my school ski program in elementary school in Nevada. And this morning, I shoveled 6 inches of snow off our very long driveway. My arms are jello.

Suzanne said...

As a Canadian and having lived in some of the worst conditions in Alberta, Edmonton to be exact we've seen it cold enough that nothing outside works, like nothing. The car doors won't open, windows don't move, the car doesn't start even if it has been plugged in all night. I've had the rear end of my car come right around while driving on the freeway (black ice) and I kept driving right through it like a stunt driver from Hollywood. I still can't believe I did it. A couple of people in cars behind us honked while giving me the thumbs up as they passed. One thing I learned when I lived there, don't go for the breaks. Try to drive out of it. When you break you generally lose control of the car.


AnneMarie said...

Going sledding with your cat sounds like such an adventure! I thankfully haven't been through any winters as intense as the ones you mention (at least that I remember). When I was young and we lived in Upstate NY, we'd mainly just get several inches of snow at a time and spend lots of time outside sledding and building forts and that kind of thing, but since I was a kid I was ignorant of how it affected driving conditions. Now that we live in Oklahoma, the main feature of wintertime is ice, and a few years ago we came back from Thanksgiving break to an apartment complex that didn't have power and iced-over tree branches everywhere due to an ice storm. But within a couple days, everything was pretty much back to normal-ish!

Kay R. said...

Oh lord these stories are both funny and scary lol. I've travelled in winter twice, once to London which didnt know and we took public transport and once to Romania. I love the cold but we went to a ski resort on a mountain to have dinner in Romania on a particularly icy day and I nearly slid down the mountain. It was then that I knew I was made for tropical weather even if I love cold temps haha

Brita Long said...

When Dan and I were engaged, I got snowed in at his (soon-to-be-ours) house. I forget what level snow emergency it was, but basically only hospital/police/etc. employees were allowed on the roads.

Before Dan moved to Georgia, he gave me a driving lesson in the snow in our Ford Focus, a manual. I usually drove a run-down automatic, but with the chance of it dying, I needed to know how to drive a manual in the snow.

rooth said...

I've done both the Michigan and Texas winters - I'll stick to Texas thank you very much. That doesn't mean I'm not jealous of those snow days though!