Friday, January 8, 2010

Coping With the Cold

It has been wicked cold here in sunny Florida since last Friday and I haven't met anyone who, by Sunday, wasn't all the way over it and ready for the balmy winter days to return. The problem with very cold weather here isn't that we're not used to it -- we're not, obviously, but that's not the problem. The problem is that we're not ready for it to last more than 24 hours. It has been bone-chilling cold here (comparatively speaking) since Friday and I didn't even think about looking for that pair of pink gloves Casey bought me for Christmas two years ago until this morning (Thursday). Our long johns disintegrated from the humidity seven years ago. We don't have even have heat in the front seat of the SUV because the heater coil is toast and because we only use the heat for one week out of the year, so why spend $650 to fix it? The heat in the back of the SUV works, but to run it, the fan in the front has to be turned on, so I stick a towel in the dashboard to keep the cold air from blowing on me so that the boys can get a little bit warm in the back. Our mindset in Florida is that if we'll just wait one more day, the temperature will be back up in the 70s.

Casey doesn't even own a coat and Mace wouldn't either if not for hand-me-down clothes from Heidi, who takes her kids up to the frozen north at least once a year. And blame the economy, but I'm not spending $40 on a coat for Casey that he'll wear three more times (tops) this winter, only to grow out of it by next Fall. So I've been layering him to send him off to school -- which is not easy when you are limited to the school uniform. He wears his uniform shorts under his school sweatpants with an undershirt, then a long-sleeved uniform shirt, topped off with the school sweat jacket. While we were driving home today, I was talking to my mom in Georgia (who is also freezing right now) about the cold weather and told her Casey didn't own a coat. Casey yells from the back, "Yes I DO!" and points at that flimsy jacket. That was when I realized Casey doesn't even know what a real coat is.

This morning Grandma went out and started the car for us while we were gathering up lunches and backpacks. When she came back in she told us there was ice on the car windows. You should have seen the looks on our faces -- Grandma and I were completely befuddled. "Duh what? Now what do we do? Guess we can't take the kids to school!" We looked at each other for a moment like we hadn't lived in Idaho for several years and had to pull cars out of ditches after sliding off the highway. It had been so long ago that we'd forgotten -- just for a moment -- how to get ice off the windshield of the car. But then the memories came flooding back -- we realized at the same moment that we no longer had those handy tools called ice scrapers that they make for these very situations and that were a dime a dozen in Idaho. It was like we were pioneers for a few seconds, "Hmmm. Let me think, let me think. Hmmmm. What could I use to get the ice off the car . . .?" Grandma said "Spatula!" I said, "Warm water!" Joe (from the couch) immediately yelled, "DON'T put hot water on the glass!!" In typical female fashion, I pouted and said, "Fine. YOU get the ice off the car."

So he found some of Grandpa's old cassette tapes, handed one to me and we went out to the car. When we got out there, Grandma had already started scraping with a plastic spatula. It wasn't going very well, but she was giving it a shot. The cassette tapes worked surprisingly well -- made quick work of the ice and we were on our way.

But you see my point, right? We're never ready -- and why be ready for cold weather that lasts for a couple of days at the most and then is gone? It cracks me up, too, that after a few days, Floridians start to get really mad about cold weather and start looking for someone to blame. I saw a few Facebook posts today that espoused a conspiracy theory wherein the government, specifically Nancy Pelosi, was accused of manipulating the weather to keep Republicans from protesting, well, every single thing that comes out of her mouth.

I have heard nasty rumors floating around that the high on Saturday will be 40 degrees and that we may even see snow. My children will be so happy! Too bad they'll be stuck inside waiting it out -- it's either that or socks for mittens!

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