Column, Looking Back

Remember the cold, snow and ice?

By Mary Ellen Shaw

When I submitted my column to Polly recently I added a comment about how much I dislike hot weather. I told her I had much rather have it cold. I also gave her permission to remind me of those words when freezing temperatures come back to bite us!

Polly responded that my comment might spark an idea for my “Looking Back” column. I decided to see where those memories of last winter took me.

First of all, let’s admit that most of us don’t like extreme temperatures of either hot or cold. My husband tells me that I am only happy with the temperature about 7 -10 days out of the entire year. I think he may be onto something!

So how did I feel about the cold days last winter? A nice snow fall with the temperature in the 20s was a welcome winter day. But when the wind howled and blew snow around from gale force winds I did not get the greeting I wanted as I stepped out the door. The meteorologists even refer to very cold days as “nose hair freezing weather.” Here in Vermont we know what that is like. When your nose hair freezes it will not be a fun day out in the elements.

I actually like to shovel snow in the winter and mow the lawn in the summer. I think the main reason is because of the instant gratification that comes from everything looking nice and neat as soon as I am done.

I recall how much more time and effort it took last winter as I was getting ready to shovel compared to going out to mow. Putting on my winter attire was a whole lot more complicated than getting into my mowing clothes which consist of a tee shirt and Capri pants.

Getting ready to shovel last winter went like this: First I dug out a shirt that wicks away the perspiration that comes from shoveling. Next was a turtleneck to keep me warm up to my chin. A wool sweater completed the top part of my ensemble. Thermal underwear and fleece pants kept the lower part of me warm. Wool rag socks kept my feet toasty and hand warmers went into my mittens. A stretchy headband was added to keep my ears warm and a winter hat was added next. A fleece jacket was the last piece of clothing to put on before I stepped into my boots. Finally, I was ready to shovel. Boy, that sounds like a whole lot of prep time and it was.

Once I got out the door the wind felt like it was biting my face. Motivation to stick with the task at hand without taking a break came from not wanting to re-live the dressing ritual that got me out the door in the first place.

If you live in the city it helps if you can time your shoveling after the road plow has come by. The snow they push can get pretty deep. It’s heavy and wet from the salt content and if you don’t tend to it during the day it tends to re-freeze during the night and is one hard mess in the morning. Cleaning up the snow from the city plow burns extra calories compared to shoveling the snow in the driveway. Layers of clothing were shed as I dealt with the city’s pile of snow.

We have a carport roof that can hold the weight of the snow with no problem but if you don’t clean it off the snow slides off on its own eventually and lands right behind the car. So, I might as well take care of that while dressed in my winter attire.

Let’s not forget our second car that isn’t under the carport. That needs to be brushed off and the windshield cleared of ice if sleet has fallen. Getting the car door open when it’s iced over is always a challenge. Maybe the hot days of summer aren’t so bad after all!

So I ask myself, “Why would I declare a preference for the cold of winter compared to the heat of summer”? That’s a good question and as I type this I am thinking that maybe my comment to Polly was said in haste!

I will just stretch out on the couch in my air conditioned house and watch Hallmark Christmas movies or read a good book. No layers of clothes, hat or boots required. It’s almost a guarantee that when winter rolls in once again I will say that I would rather be mowing my lawn or working in my flower garden. Some people are just hard to please. But I will try to think of my snow covered driveway as my own personal gym and playground. Stay tuned to see how that logic works.

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