There are several things that living in Canada over the wintertime has taught me.
Whatever the weather report says, it isn’t true.
If it says there will be blizzards, fully expect to look out of the window and see a few tiny flakes. If your phone is consistently telling you there will simply be a few flurries expect to look out and not be able to see your neighbour’s house, your car, the steps down from your front door or any hope.
There are many different types of snow.
There is packing snow, the kids favourite. It’s great for snowman building, sledding, snowball fights and all the other healthy activities you see on smiling families faces on the television. Your children will be bored of this snow within half a day and refuse to step foot outside again for 6 months.
There is wet snow, it sticks to your car as you try to drive, it sticks to your feet as you walk making it impossible to get down your driveway without being able to lift at least 20lbs of weight per foot, it sticks to your house windows and your trees waiting to build up just enough so that every sticky bit can be dumped on your head as you walk by. It sticks fucking everywhere.
There is the really light kind of snow; it looks like gentle little flakes of no real consequence so you will happily bundle up to go to the shops. Once you step outside it is evil. It gets in to your eyes so you have to blindly stumble along grabbing random strangers for balance, it flies in to your mouth as you try to apologise to said stranger making you make gagging retching sounds as you try and spit it out convincing said stranger that not only did you just touch them up, you are actually disgusted by what you felt. It finds every tiny gap in your clothing and gets right in there causing you to shriek like a girl as the coldest tiniest flake finds the only warm spot at the base of your neck and settles in.
There are indeed many different types of snow and by March you will hate every single fucking one of them.
There is such a thing as ice rain.
What the actual fuck is that about? You will be walking along in a snow storm then all of a sudden something sharp will strike you in the side of the face, you don’t really give it a second thought until another one hits you then you realise there is ice falling from the sky, actual chunks of ice. It’s like being pelted by a hundred tiny needles all at once. If you are lucky enough to be inside and only need to head out to your car afterwards you will find your car coated in a slick ice barrier, the only way to get in to your car is to chip the ice from the locks and windows with the handy snow and ice scraper you always keep with you for such an occasion. You know the one, the one in the car. You are reduced to scratching at the lock with the key trying to clear enough frozen ice off of it to get the damn key in so you can start the slow process of defrosting the giant ice cube that used to be your truck. People would maybe look at you suspiciously as you are bent over a locked car scratching for all you are worth, but they don’t, because they are all doing the same fucking thing.
It takes over half an hour just to leave the house.
Not because you are fixing your hair or making sure you have your lip gloss just right but because every single person in the house needs more layers than you ever thought it was humanly possible to wear. Let’s start with the toddler. First he needs his base layers underneath to wick away the sweat he will build up with all those damn layers on. On top of that will go his jeans and a light t-shirt, over that a sweater. Next goes his neck protection, a scarf doesn’t really cut it with a toddler. After that you need to wrestle on snowpants, think about trying to get an octopus in to a sleeping bag with leg holes whilst they try to squirt you with ink and simultaneously wrestle with jelly and you are almost there. Once that is done the biggest padded jacket known to mankind is put over this, then you need to roll the snowpants up to fit the snow boots in to the waterproof part, roll the top part back down over the boots, zip them up and do the popper at the bottom so no snow gets in.
We aren’t finished yet. Now we have to get on the mittens. No toddler wants mittens at the best of times, let alone when they are each the size of small mattress, you need to get these mittens over the arms of the coat and then tighten them whilst your child tries to repeatedly punch you in the face. They will last approximately 3 minutes when you step out of the door and you will stop every few yards to retrieve them from a snowdrift/side of the road/next doors cat and fight them back on again.
Don’t forget the hat, it must cover the ears and your toddler must whine and complain the entire time that it hurts/it’s too big/it’s too small/they don’t like the colour/their ears are too hot/their ears are too cold/they would rather have a Fireman Sam hat, once it is on then you need to get the hood of the coat over the hat and fastened under the chin to keep everything in place and you are done.
Your tiny toddler is now a raging ball of fury and is the size of a full grown man.
Repeat this for every single person in your house and finally yourself and eventually you are now ready to walk to the car where you will take everything off because the car is hot and you will have to do it all again in the confines of a back seat before you walk in to the shop.
-38 with wind chill is a real thing.
I’m from the UK, -5 has us cowering in the house complaining to each other that this winter has the bitterest we can remember and scoffing at global warming.
I have no more sympathy for any of you.
You can be aware of every single hair on and in your body.
You may have all your layers on, you may have amazingly warm snug boots and the best neck protection ever but you still need to breathe. You will step out of the house on a bright sunny morning and take a deep breath. The first thing you will feel will be the hell fire that seems to have taken residence in your lungs as the frozen air you just inhaled burns its way through your respiratory system and as you desperately try not to breathe through your mouth again you will automatically switch to your nose. So the cold kicks it up a notch and freezes every single tiny fine hair in your nostrils. Every breath you take will freeze them further until you actually feel snapping in your nose as the hairs burn, to prevent this you open your mouth and take a deep breath and, well, you know the rest.
I think the most important thing the Canadian winters have taught me is this.
I fucking hate winter.
19 days until spring. ………………………………