Tuesday, January 30, 2007

Baby, it's arctic outside

I thought winter in NYC would be my one-way ticket back to Florida. But so far, I must say, it hasn't been unbearable. The experts say this winter is 20 degrees warmer than the last one... We even had one freakishly warm 70-degree in January. Is it global warming? And if it is, is it heinously reprehensible to support it? (Aside: ask the people in Denver whose cows died because they've been covered in not one, not two, but three blizzards in a month. Maybe it's not "scientific," but it seems to me those cows would love a bit of that warm globe, eh?)

I digress. When it got to about 60 degrees in late October, I started wearing long underwear. I was freezing at the time, but little did I know that it actually freezes here for weeks at a time. There is really ice on the street that never melts. Last Friday, it was five below. Yeah, below zero. It was somewhat of a milestone for me, because I've never experienced subzero temperatures before -- I thought that only happened in Alaska and Minnesota. I had this quaint vision that once it got to be about 32 degrees, it always snowed and no one had to work or go to school. This is because I was raised in Florida, where there are EMERGENCY FREEZE WARNINGS when it dips below 32 degrees for an hour.

In 1989, the one and only time it snowed in Jacksonville during my lifetime, the entire northern part of the state shut down. There was no work or school, no driving, no open stores -- nothing but building a one-foot-tall snowman made from the entire accumulation in the front yard. Naturally, I assumed that was the way of the world when it came to icy weather.

However, upon returning from my business trip to Atlanta on Thursday night, I found myself checking the weather in NYC on my T-Mobile Sidekick (which sucks like a Hoover, don't ever buy one.) With my mouth agape in terror, I saw that it would be below zero, and genuinely asked my boss, "Do I have to come to work tomorrow?" Then she laughed at me. "Sorry, Florida girl."

I talked to my grandma in Florida today who was concerned about me walking to work in the bitter cold temperatures. I finally understand why all my Wisconsin/Chicago relatives are always yammering on about trudging to school, uphill both ways, barefooted in the snow. I can now feasibly tell my kids that same baloney story. I say baloney because it's just not as bad as I thought it would be. Yes, I layer every shirt in my closet, two scarves, pants, long underwear, short underwear, two pairs of socks, furry boots, two pairs of gloves and a ski mask, but I expected the cold to hit much harder. (Aside: Okay, Yankees... no one mentioned that your eyeballs can get all frozen if that's the only thing exposed. Not fun. I look like a bug-eyed pug walking to work.)

p.s. We've had only the slightest smidge of snow with no accumulation, which is disappointing. Once we get some real snow action, I'll post pictures of me making my first snow angel & snow fort, and hopefully hurtling snowballs at unsuspecting victims in Central Park, just like Buddy the Elf.

Quote of the week:
"I walked outside and it was 26 degrees today. I tell ya what, it felt like summer."
--Me, to Erin, on Saturday morning following subzero Friday

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