We are currently riding a weather rollercoaster. Lows in the 40s and 50s overnight and highs in the 80s and 90s during the day. Up and down we go, shedding the morning’s layers as the sun climbs higher and higher in the sky, only to repeat the dance in reverse order hours later, layer by wicking layer. The process doesn’t really make me want to throw my hands up in glee.
I’ve never experienced such a thing before. In Florida, our temperatures are hot, hotter, and fuck, you’ve got to be kidding me! Temperatures don’t take a 30-degree jump during the course of the day and you generally know what the day will bring – sweat. And a lot of it. But here, it’s anyone’s guess. If you were to open the trunk of my car right now, you’d find a fleece pullover, a zip-up Puma jacket, a gray, thin sweater and a bathing suit (!).
All sharing space in the trunk because…well, because you never know what you may want or need. Which brings me to the next thing. I have absolutely no idea what to expect about winter. I know winter means cold, snow and wind, carrots sticking haphazardly out of white balls, lots of brown things, possible snow angels, bowls of soup, and warm, chocolate chip cookies. But I don’t really know what it means. I am thus at a loss to prepare. Everyone around me laughs maniacally when I tell them I’m from Florida and I’ve gotten such mixed advice that my head starts spinning and my ears ring whenever a “well-meaning” Minnesooootan tells me what I should do. Winter is a concept I don’t understand. I’ve lived in Florida my whole life. What do I know about long underwear and ice scrapers?
My proverbial winter to-do list looks something like this, minus all the bullshit (or at least what I think is bullshit) advice that I’ve been given:
(1) Winterize my car by getting my fluids changed. Apparently, my Florida car doesn’t like the concept of winter any more than I do and will freeze up and crack to pieces if I don’t administer some warming liquids.
(2) Buy wool socks, boots, long underwear called “Cuddle Duds” and beanies.
(3) Keep a bag of kitty litter in my trunk to help weigh down the back of my car and to sprinkle under my back tires in the event that they can’t gain traction pulling out of a parking spot (is a 25 lb bag really going to do anything? I’d be better off hiring a small child to ride in the trunk all winter and sprinkle skittles on the snow behind me).
(4) Head to a nearby parking lot after the first snow and practice losing, and then regaining (if possible) control of my vehicle.
(5) Become okay with being out-of-control. Take extra time to apply the breaks when approaching an intersection and don’t freak out when the native Minnesotan in the lane next to me goes skidding right through the red light because “he’s from MN and knows how to drive in the damn snow”.
(6) Buy a crock pot and learn some vegetarian slow-cook recipes.
(7) Buy winter gloves that have leather in the palm so the car’s steering wheel doesn’t feel like it’s been dipped in a vat of butter.
(8) Don’t freak out. It’s gonna be great! Uh, yeah….
Winter is coming. And I am afraid.