I write this mostly for my own benefit as Robbie and I and the extended de Fleuriot’s are booking it to the south where we will spend Christmas. While I am there enjoying the heat and the truly warm sun (not the relative warm sun we get here in AB) I am sure that the tricks of winter will escape my mind and I might have to learn them all over again. So I have decided to draw my thoughts out of my brain and onto the keyboard in order that I may not forget them.
I admit that my true winter experience is limited, however, last year I did think about winter and how to deal with its sneaky ways quite a bit. I am sure that my true Albertan friends may find my ways extreme or ridiculous, but that’s ok because I can probably dress and cope with 6 months of seemingly strait rain in a manner that they may not possess.
My thoughts of note are as follows:
1. Embrace the ice. It will be there for a long time. The most important part of this process is buying ice-worthy shoes. This means forget walking outside in flats, toms, or any flimsy shoe with no grip. The ice is navigable. It is indeed possible to be the master of the vast seas of ice. Start by walking with purpose. Each footstep must hit the ground decisively or else somehow the ice will know that you are afraid of it’s potential peril. You will mostly win this battle, but with this combative attitude you also must accept that you will inevitably fail. Sometimes it’s hilarious, sometimes it’s physio worthy… Good thing I have one of those handy specialists around.
2. Toques are cute, but they are also necessary. I would say that the dividing line for me for absolute needed toque wearing weather is -8 degrees and colder. This is mostly in part due to the wind chill. Holy moley that wind can truly demolish your collective body heat. And believe me… having your noggin covered is worth the static engulfed hair. I have to admit that that is the hardest part. There are those that wear toques in the winter like flip flops in the summer, I do not fall into that category. I am now prepared to have oddly shaped hair, but the flip side is I will be warm enough to think coherently.
Note: wrapping a scarf around your face will save your face extreme discomfort. Breath into said scarf to increase its effectiveness.
3. Buy winter tires. Even if you get into a fender bender you have the peace of mind to say “I even had winter tires.”
4. Be careful about when you wear long johns. They do provide necessary extra heat, but they also can quickly transition to providing unnecessary extra heat. This can cause awkwardness at social gatherings when you are in the middle of a conversation and you start to feel faint because you are so over layered. Bite the bullet, get out of the conversation and take the long johns off. Your thighs will thank you.
5. Invest in a good pair of woolen socks. Pay up $25 or more for them. This would seem absurd to me before my prairie winters, but having feeling in my toes is something I am willing to pay a premium for.
6. Lastly, while you can look ‘cute’ in winter, save it for the indoors. When you’re outside just boot up, tire up, toque up, scarf up, and sock up. Create your own subtropical climate under your many layers.
With that I won’t think about winter for a good 2 weeks until my return to Canada. I think I’ll go sit on the deck now and enjoy a cup of tea.