>now I’m a pro

>”*&(!?>@#(#@*&#!! When on earth do you put on gloves in this whole *!%&^#% procession!?!?”

My coworkers thought I was crazy – what do you mean, when do you put your gloves on? But as a woman who had never worn gloves before, it was a dilemma. My hands are always cold, so instinct had me put on the gloves first…but then I couldn’t button my coat. So off they came, and then back on when I was done buttoning up….but then I couldn’t feel my keys in my purse and off the gloves would come again so I could more effectively rummage. And then back on… Getting ready to go out would involve three or four on-off-on combinations. It was exhausting.

Four – that’s how many times through the rigmarole of winter it took for me to become a hardy Minnesotan with the routine down. I can drive in snow, scrape ice from a windshield like a pro, I know what a snowblower is, know when to put on my gloves (by the way, the snowblower was another revelation for me – in my California-ized brain I thought it was something akin to a leafblower. Minnesotans ask me how I thought this would work, and the answer is – either it would blow snow away or melt it somehow, but really, I didn’t think about the logistics because I didn’t have to).

Nowadays I’m one of those crazy nuts who doesn’t wear a coat till it drops below 35 degrees, who thinks today is gorgeous with its 13 degree weather. I love the snow, love to take brisk winter walks, love the myriad creative ways to get and stay warm. When my fellow Minnesotans complain (and don’t let them fool you with their outward show of winter pride – they do this a LOT) about the cold weather I wonder how on earth they can feel this way. In February and March, okay, whine away – but in December? I’ve been waiting for a white Christmas since I moved here and I am REJOICING, my friends!

For the first time, I feel like I know who I am this winter. I was a blank slate the first year – I felt like a complete tabula rasa until the warmth returned and I let out a deep sigh of relief, slipping on my flip-flops. Oh yes, this is who I am. I moved here without a coat, without closed-toed shoes. Each year has been a repeat – slowly decreasing episodes of hideous winter gear, donuts on slick streets, falling on my ass in parking lots. This year I have finally mastered the art of winter dressing, and I know how to find hats and scarves that look stylish on me AND keep me warm. I know when to crack out my YakTraks and when to just schlep on out there. I have discovered my favorite ways to get warm and the cozy spots in the city I love to curl up in. I’m no longer afraid to walk out on frozen lakes (this is a big one).

Nowadays, I could never be a snow bird who leaves for the winter… if anything, should I ever end up where there is no winter, I would be a snow bird in that I’d have to come back. I think I would miss it too much.

Though, as a Minnesotan at heart, I’d still have to complain about it.

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