Unlike the dustings we got earlier this fall, this latest round of snowfall appears to be sticking around for good, which in Minnesota weather terms means until the spring thaw hits sometime in April, possibly May, well into the official spring season. It also tells us, contrary to what the calendar says, that Old Man Winter has now enveloped us with all his rage and glory.
By nature, Minnesotans are tough cookies when it comes to the weather. We're equipped to handle waking up to an outside temperature 50 degrees colder than when we hit the hay the night before, without giving it much thought. Visitors to the state, on the other hand, complain profusely when this happens.
The real hearty residents who get into all seasons of outdoor activities are thrilled when it's around 90 degrees in the summer and -15 degrees in the winter. OK, maybe that's pushing it, but you still see these folks waterskiing, hunting and boating no matter how hot, rainy and/or winding it is out there. And they're out snowmobiling, ice fishing and downhill/cross country skiing in weather as cold as it can be without freezing a person's face in 30 seconds.
So given that I'm a lifelong Minnesota resident, I should be able to fabulously handle the weather that started on Thanksgiving Day with something short of a blizzard but still warranting a winter weather advisory from all the forecasters, right? Yeah, like I've done so well with it all these years. I may have been born a third-generation Minnesotan and subscribe to a lot of the Minnesota-isms like the dialect and Scandinavian food fixation, but my weather-adapting genes came from elsewhere.
In fact, nowhere in my genetic makeup have I found the strong, weather-hearty DNA so many living in these parts seem to possess, some of them even transplants from milder states or countries. My dad never owned a snowmobile or boat, nor did he go ice fishing or do any kind of skiing. When it was really pleasant out, and only then, Mom would take me for a walk or to the park and watch me swim in the wading pool. And while we did typically spend a week or weekend in a cabin at a lake for our summer vacation and went out on the boat with relatives who owned one, that was about as far as our family outdoors adventures went.
Come to think of it, I did like being outdoors a lot when I was a kid, so much so that Mom had to practically drag me inside at times. No matter how high the humidity and/or temp, I'd be out playing with all the neighborhood girls, finding plenty of stuff to do. In the winter, BFF and I would traipse around town all day in less than appropriate dress, coming home with numb toes and fingers, but complaining about nothing other than being forced to cut short our excursion so soon. We regularly went tobogganing down the hill a few blocks away, built snow forts and played king of the hill on the highest mounds of snow we could find.
I suspect my parents handled extreme weather better in their younger days, too, especially since they had to walk or be brought to school in open carts.
So what turns us into weather wimps when we get older? Hmm, is it that our younger bodies could simply take a lot more? Or maybe our more experienced bodies just experienced too many extremes earlier and want to take it easy now. Perhaps it's our state of mind; once we grew up, it dawned on us that we could avoid all this freezing and sweating by simply parking our butts inside. We only thought we were enjoying the great outdoors before. Deep down, we were really miserable but in denial.
Having been around for nearly half a century, my body has become extremely intolerant of weather extremes, to the point of not wanting to step foot outside the door of my cozy little home when the temp rises above 80 or dips below 10 degrees. I adjust the inside temp appropriately, sometimes eating up way too much electricity or gas that could better free up funds for things like food and fuel. And then I become a couch potato.
My weather wimpiness has really set in over the last few days, particularly after waking up to a zero-degree day. And while I would much rather be curled up in front of the fireplace 24/7, or at least during non-working hours, that just cannot be happening because there's so much to do, like moving stuff out and decorating for Christmas, that involves stepping out into the frigid air.
Any offers to relieve me of my moving duties will considered, with payment of hot chocolate and sitting around a warm fireplace. At least I don't have to move all that snow.