Two Seasons - winter and getting ready for winter






This winter we have been really lucky. When you see that what do you think luck means? For us it means the temperatures are warm and there is very little snow and ice. Yes, I do realize that this will be an issue later in the year when it is dry, but at least no one I know has broken any bones yet... When you get older, this really does become a concern.

As a general rule, winter in Minnesota is really cold. There is no reason to compare to other places because there really is no comparison. Let's start with the actual season. Winter is the major season here and it usually runs from October through May. Once it gets going, there is squeaky snow -- that only happens when it is less than 10-degrees and it gets more intense as the temps drop below zero. As you inhale through your nose, you'll feel all the moisture in your nose freeze -- yes, you read that correctly, the inside of your nose will freeze. Your skin will feel like gnomes -- or whatever those creepy things in people's yards are called -- stabbing your body with sharp gnome knives. Some people say living here makes you hardy, but I suspect they have had a psychotic episode. No matter how many times someone tries to convince me that living here is great is selling themselves a bill of goods.

This year I headed to the AKC Eukanuba National Championship in Orlando, Orange, Florida and I can tell you this trip just cemented my extreme dislike of long, hard winters. I hesitate to use the word "hate" here, but it certainly does fit.

As I went through security at the Orlando airport, I felt like I was getting ready to hop on a tram to take me to the airplane that was taking me to Siberia. Yes, Minnesota is very similar to Siberia. How do you like it now? Once on the plane, I was able to look out the window at the changing landscape. It went from lush and green to brown to dirty white. I knew once I got back I would need to be in layers, heavy boots, hats and gloves. The upside is the really white bread life style -- there aren't too many things that will kill you if you walk outside barefoot, but don't do that in the first season... winter.

Those of you that love Minnesota, more power to you. Are you considering posting the quality of life points? Please do! Don't forget to encourage people to come here for the high taxes -- you'll hear folks call it the Land of 10,000 Lakes, you may also want to know that people also call it the Land of 10,000 Taxes. If you like to drink -- a lot -- Minnesota is your ticket. Apparently the weather and those Germanic and Nordic roots of lots of the residents contributes to heavy drinking.
To summarize winter, it is really cold. You'll need layer-upon-layer of clothes and some really heavy clumping along boots, hats, gloves, coats and you'll appreciate Sorels and Carharts as part of everyday language. Air bites and will kill anything that is exposed. Your car won't start -- and you may even plug your car into an electric outlet overnight. Everything cracks and nothing bends -- are you seeing the pattern now? You'll walk -- okay it isn't really walking -- with tiny little old lady steps like you are crossing a giant ravine on a greased pole, knowing that your next step could send you tumbling to the emergency room. Yes, it really is like that.

To be fair, we do have a second season -- getting ready for winter. Season two is spent prepping for season one. We try to tell ourselves that we love being outside doing all that yard work and repairing

our homes, but it is what you do to keep from going loony. This season brings high heat and high humidity that might even make you think winter isn't all that bad. The best part of season two is you'll have a chance to see the state bird. Don't imagine the loon, that is the official state bird. You'll want to envision the unofficial state bird, the mosquito, that arrives in hoards buzzing around waiting to feast on your blood and then create new hoards of mosquitoes to feast on you and so on and so on... I've heard of children being carried away into the woods by mosquitoes but I have no proof -- I think they just morph into larger mosquitoes and return to suck the life out of you. DEET is your friend for mosquitoes and ticks too. Ah, the good life.

Once in a great while we get a brief glimpse of Fall. This really is my favorite season and it is a little like capturing a unicorn -- elusive and possibly mythical. You'll sense the possibility when the snowbirds head south to fulfill their six-months-plus-one-day commitment to their chosen state of residence -- usually one without income tax. This is a time of crisp morning air that the dogs and horses love -- and I do too. Wonder if there is somewhere that is like that all year? Then the inevitable occurs, days get shorter, frost is on the pumpkin and you feel deep in your bones -- especially those bones that were broken on the ice -- that winter is coming.


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