winter bird

So I heard on the news today that Environment Canada, our national weather service, is thinking of issuing a NATIONAL cold weather warning. A NATIONAL COLD WEATHER WARNING.

Whoah, whoah, whoah…this is Canada, people. A land where Canadians pride themselves on their ability to adapt and handle the cold.

How cold does it have to friggin’ get before we need to issue a warning to everyone in Canada? (Except, I am guessing, the wool sock and sandal-wearers on the West Coast – it is a balmy 3*C there…)

I think this graphic shows our predicament clearly. It is so cold, that I heard some guy comment that his nipples and penis were actually the same size. That’s effin’ “shrinkage” cold.

It's figgin' cold....

It’s figgin’ cold….

idyllic coldI know, I know. I can hear the diehards saying,”… but winter is so beautiful”; the snow, the crisp air, theBonhomme tobogganing, the skiing, the skating, ice fishing…blah blah blah.  They are selling kool-aid; a stereotypical but seldom attained image of an idyllic cold – warm snow encrusted cabins, cheerful winter carnivals, and beautiful hoar-frosted winter-scapes.

But where are those stupid visions now?  Now after several freeze/thaw cycles, the snow is that crusty, dirty, yucky brown. Now when I step outside to enjoy the great outdoors, my nostril hair freezes instantaneously. Now when I turn the key, my car starter and battery generate that low groaning “whrrrr-whrrrr-whrrrr”, which literally translates to “Seriously…it was -29*C last night.  You expect me to start?”

Where is the beauty in any of that?

Cue flashback…

When I was a kid, I think I liked, and maybe even loved, winter; but then I used to eat dirt, too.  I used to stay outside and play street hockey, and skate on the outdoor rink, and sled with my friends and my brother.  I would stay outside so long that when I came into the house for supper, my hands and feet ached with unimaginable pain – neurons thawing as my hands and feet fought to make it back to an appropriate body temperature.  And what kid didn’t try to hurry the process by sticking their hands under warm water…duh! Every other week, it seems I would forget the painful feeling of my fingertips and toes “exploding” and would try again.

When I was a kid, temperature was irrelevant…maybe because I was so busy generating heat that I forgot it was cold, and I had the metabolism of a rabbit.

You all know I love Canada.  It is a great country full of great things. And I take great pleasure in complaining about the cold and telling the rest of the world they are wussies as they bundle up in their frigid temperatures…

While the East Coast basks in relatively warm weather for mid-January, California is being hit with a blistering cold front. 

Oooh...those frigid fahrenheit temperatures. Poor Californians....

Oooh…those frigid fahrenheit temperatures. Poor Californians….

The unusually frigid weather has brought snowstorms and temperatures below 30 degrees to the Pacific Coast state, alarming motorists, farmers and zoo keepers, among others.

I take pride that our winters are harsher and tougher and meaner…makes us look stronger.

I still, on occasion, enjoy the Canadian winter for brief flashes; especially when it is sunny, and there is no wind and the thermometer is hovering around the freezing point.  I love it when my layered winter clothes keep me warm and cozy as I glide effortlessly on the ice or enjoy the bright, white landscape – everything so clean and fresh – and I love it when I enjoy a cold starry night sipping a bottle of beer in a bubbling 104*F hot tub, my bald pate protected by a colourful woolly toque with a bobble. (Sadly, I do not have a hot tub nor any friends with one now; alas, this is one of those idyllic images). 

Truthfully though, this “winter-affection” exists just before and during Christmas. Then, the love dies.

After Christmas, when there is nothing but months and months of darkness and cold to endure before Canada and the North tilt back toward the sun, I hate it. It sucks.

It sucks that I understand how to measure wind-chill in  watts per metre squared – and that I know a rating of 1600 watts/m2 means likely frost bite. I hate that I need a snow scoop (and more specifically that I do not own a snow blower.) Actually, I like my snow scoop…it’s the relentless snow I hate.

NL Blizzard WarningI mean, what Canadian has not been there…looking with dread at their driveway? Hoping beyond hope that the neighbour living two doors down, the one with the TORO Power Max 8260XE (26”) Dual Stage with the Briggs and Stratton 250cc OHV 4 cycle engine, will show mercy and save you 90 minutes of your life, and an aching back and possible cardiac arrest. You hope that he will clear your driveway in the same 15 minutes it took to clear his. (For those who don’t know, I am talking snow blower/snow thrower). Sadly, most times you are disappointed…and fuming; fuming that your neighbour is cracking a cold one while you struggle with your task, and that you gambled on the 52” LCD TV and Wii Fitness instead of the snow blower. But using The Force, you can channel that anger and disappointment into clearing that snow. Your only dilemma is where to put all the snow Mother Nature has dumped on your drive – plus the repeated bonus of the crusty, heavy, soul-destroying furrow of road snow that the “Plough-guy” gleefully pushes into the end of your drive (several times). Aaaaarrrgghhh…

Damn you SnowPlow Man, damn you!...

Damn you SnowPlow Man, damn you!…

I hate that every excursion now takes on the same epic proportions of Scott –Amundsen racing to the South Pole: sweater, fleece, coat, gloves, scarf, hat, boots. I hate that I have the agility of the Michelin Tire Man when I am appropriately bundled up.  I hate that I have too few layers to fight off the cold when I am outside, but too many layers to walk about inside a building without perspiring like an influenza victim.

..Say no more...

..Say no more…

And I hate scraping my car, and the wet trouser legs from my car mats. I hate the high heating bills and the cold spots in my house. I hate the winter…Please make it stop.

I hope this cold snap ends soon – I hate to see those Californians have to put on a sweater to stave off the extreme cold.

I hope we go back to “idyllic winter” because I want to go skating on the Rideau without risking my nose snapping off.  And I want winter to end, so that we can get to a Canadian summer quicker…the thing that makes a Canadian winter endurable.

A nice idyllic Canadian summer – and hopefully one that is not “crazy hot and humid” – ‘coz that sucks too…