Seriously. I know I've blogged about this before but I will never complain about British weather again. Ok, let me walk that back (as they say at the moment). I will never complain about British cold weather when it's winter; if I have the same weather in the summer (which has happened on my trips home) I will still whine and moan.
It's freezing here. We're talking about 5 Fahrenheit (that's -15 Celsius) actual temperature. When they factor in the wind chill, (which makes it feel colder) who knows where it will end?
Here's a few things that happen -
- You take your dog for a walk and get no further than the end of the street when she starts picking up one paw after the other, flattens her ears and looks as if you've just beaten her with a stick. Paws too cold even for a husky mix. (I managed to get her home without having to carry her, thank goodness.)
- The heating (which is air flowing through duct work) is on over-drive and is very loud. So loud that you have to turn the volume up on the telly and your shoulders start hunching up around your ears. You don't realize it's happening till the heating switches off and you suddenly find yourself listening to very loud TV and your shoulders return to their normal position - and, relax.
- It takes for EVER to get dressed for outdoors, whether or not you're a toddler wearing a snowsuit. For me, it's two layers of regular clothing, one preferably thermal or cashmere. An industrial style parka to the floor (not any old padded anorak), neck gator or balaclava, thick hat, thick gloves (we stopped using woolen ones in October), and fashion-abandoning snow boots. Here's what I look like when walking the dog -
- Skincare takes on a new meaning and it has nothing to do with anti-ageing! People un-used to this clime tend to panic as they shed dermi-layers every time they take off their socks. Not only is it cold at this time of year, but it's extremely dry. We're talking hair standing on end, electric-shocks-from-everything kind of dry. This makes for snake-like skin shedding and necessitates lots of lotion and lip balm. Chicagoans become pre-occupied with cracked finger tips and chapped hands, seeking out advice on the best solution and spreading valuable tips with gay abandon.
- Snow days. Chicagoans are pretty hardy when it comes to snow. What usually causes "snow days" (which are days when schools are closed), is the temps dipping to dangerous levels. When it gets that cold, you're really not advised to stay outside for more than a minute or so. That makes arrival and dismissal of the little ones very difficult as they usually have to stand in a queue and be escorted into school.
So, we're on snow day alert right now .......