Wednesday, August 26, 2009

Southern California Gal Hits Below Zero & Grey Skies Forever

If you were not raised in California, this story is for you. My first winter in the Upper Peninsula of Michigan was a real eye opener. Renting a too big, but very nicely furnished house in Bessmer, Michigan was a great start to my first winter experience. It was snowing and so beautiful. After dinner it was still snowing and even though is was dark, the streetlights cast delightful blue shadows on the new snow. It was quiet too. Unlike the patter of rain or the wind, snow doesn't make any noise. Snow seems to insulate any noise.

The next morning I jumped out of bed. I couldn't wait to look outside. It was another grey day, but it had stopped snowing. OMG! The snow had completely covered those bushes along our sidewalk. Just white lumps now. I couldn't wait to get out and play in that soft-looking white stuff.

What? The back door won't open. The snow has piled up against it. Here's another find. Snow can be heavy. Who knew? My husband, from this North Country, had to climb out a window and shovel the snow away before we could get out to do a few errands and later have lunch with his Aunt Mary and Uncle Joe.

I had been warned to layer my clothing to keep warm. No problem, long turtleneck, sweater, jacket. Throwing a knit hat on my head, pulling those boots on, out I went. Brrr. It was so cold. How cold was it? Zero. That's thirty-two degrees below freezing!

Plowing my way through snow up to my knees was damn hard work. Certainly not soft. Fell once and it hurt. Then I tried to get up, what a joke. Thank heavens my husband, trying not to laugh, came over to give me a hand or I'd have floundered there until Spring.

Couldn't understand why my nose kept running. Hard to wipe your nose with gloves on. Of course taking them off and on all the time made my hands numb with the cold. I wondered how I would know when frostbite sets in.

I'm cold in every inch of my body, my feet are cold, and my nose is frozen, though still dripping. There is not a warm spot on me. Finally we get to our lunch date. It is a custom for everyone to take off their snowy, wet boots in the entry. So I complied and tugged those icky boots off.

"Oh, child," Aunt Mary had a shocked look on her face. "Where are your socks?" Looking down at my bare feet, I answered, "I don't own any socks." You see no one wears socks in California - sometimes pantyhose with heels for that special occasion, but no socks with tennis shoes or flats. These were my first boots ever.

Well, I've never been rushed anywhere as fast as Aunt Mary rushed me upstairs, opened a drawer and gave me a pair of Uncle Joe's wool socks. Ah, they felt so wonderful and warm. I'll be eternally grateful for those socks.

P.S. I also learned that jeans are not warm!!! Wool pants and long underwear are what you wear "Up North."