This is how I walk the dog -
Fashionista on the loose!
But it wasn't until I started dispensing advise to Perfectly Happy Mum that I realized just how much we have to adapt living here. PHM has recently moved from England to a suburb of Chicago, and - the temps have just started to plummet. We are already existing below freezing (20's Fahrenheit) and trying to remind ourselves that this will seem positively balmy in a couple of months.
So yes, we all run out to buy snow-pants-that-actually-fit for the kids, more gloves and mittens than you think you would ever need ('cause they disappear mysteriously), hats, balaclavas (see above), warm boots etc. We stock up on de-icing salt for when the snow and ice comes, 'cause it's rarer than hens' teeth once that happens. If you're in the burbs (PHM) you might want to buy, or at least locate your nearest snow blower and your car needs to be prepped to the max. That's not just with de-icer, but the emergency stuff for when you break down and have to wait. Even in the inside of a car, if the heat's not on it can get dangerous in no time.
Remind me - why do I live here?
But there are other things that, unless you have a friendly person who also doesn't take it for granted, you'd only learn through bitter experience.
Static - is fierce at this time of year. When you touch someone else, it's electric, but not in a good way! Opening a car door without first putting your sleeve over your hand can be painful and just pray to the heavens that your indoor carpeting isn't too synthetic! There's not a lot you can do about this unfortunately. Many heating systems (being air that's circulated through the house) have a built-in humidifier, and you can also buy small portable devices. Or - you can place bowls of water all over the place and watch in amazement at how quickly the water evaporates!
Chapped-ness - a big one. Everyone here has a Chapstick in the pocket at all times. Not only do lips get chapped, but hands too; particularly fingertips. There's a wealth of creams on the market to deal with this and it's usually just a question of finding one that works for you. Perfectly Happy Mum went out shopping for supplies the other day and came back with what she thought was the most disgusting taste ever on a Chapstick -
Believe me, there are worse, including one called Carmex, - the heavy duty stuff that stings like a mother!
Outerwear - your namby pamby European winter coat will last you till about the second week in November and then it's the Eskimo look for you! As seen from the photo above, fashion goes out the window as everyone dons floor length duvets cunningly disguised as extra long parkas. Woolley gloves are abandoned in favor of ski gloves, jeans are of the fleece-lined variety, and boots must come up to your mid-calf at the very least. And no heels. Are you kidding me? Actually, having landed arse over tit once too often last winter while walking the dog, I'm going one better than flat boots this time. Oh yes, I'm purchasing me some of these babies from LL Bean -
I'm nothing if not prepared!