Freezing Points: A Survivor’s ManualJanuary 30, 2012 at 3:36 pm | Posted in Bun, Family, Giggles, Lollipop, Transylvania | 23 Comments
Tags: Challenges, Children, Expats, Family, Fun, Humor, Outdoors, Romania, Snow, Winter
Do you know what the dash thermometer read when I got in the car to take the kids to school this morning? -14.5°C. (Yes, that’s a minus.) And the windshield was iced over. On the inside. The five-liter bottle of water I had left on the floorboard? Frozen solid.
All this is to say, it’s cold here. Nose-numbing cold. Ear-burning cold. Booger-freezing cold.
We are so out of our element.
To prepare others who may one day find themselves in a land where no one thinks twice about icicles hanging off their bumper, I have drafted a survivor’s manual* with tips and tools for staying warm — and conserving your socks — through the winter season. Toss your earmuffs on the radiator, wrap your non-mouse hand around a mug of hot chocolate, and enjoy.
1. Buy snow chains.
Put them in the car before you drive two hours to the wilderness to go sledding.
2. Buy mittens. In bulk.
Your children will lose one approximately every 3.72 days.
3. Listen to the teacher.
When your son’s teacher sends a note home that he needs weatherproof pants to wear at recess, don’t ignore it. If you do, she’ll tell you, in detail, how he cried his beautiful brown eyes out over his wet jeans and socks.
4. Follow the New Yorker’s lead.
When driving in treacherous conditions, make sure to have a New Yorker in the car. Watch her. If she’s not flinching, gripping the armrest, or dialing a tow truck, chances are, you’re going to be okay. (Stop flinching, gripping the armrest, and wondering if you should call a tow truck.)
5. Bake for the neighbors.
When you back your car into the bushes and the tires refuse to free themselves from the roots and snow, it will become crystal clear to those around you (and possibly those on the next street over, depending on how loud your engine is) that you have no idea what you’re doing. Neighbors will come to your rescue. For more than an hour.
Bake for them. Bake lots. And use your super-secret-and-scarce cache of chocolate chips.
6. Boycott Facebook.
Do not, under any circumstances, read Facebook updates from friends who are wearing shorts, getting their RDA of Vitamin D, and walking to the mailbox without dodging icicles.
7. Look for the sleigh.
Your car is stuck in the snow near a picturesque village. Your children are either (1) unhappily frozen to their sled seats or (2) flailing in knee-deep drifts. Odds are even that a horse-drawn sleigh will come to your rescue. (In Romania, at least.)
8. Beware of the sun.
One day, the sun will finally burst through that gray infinity of sky. It will. And you will give in to the temptation to hang your laundry out. Then? You will get busy doing dishes, chauffeuring tiny people, rearranging boots to minimize snow meltage, sneaking spoonfuls of Nutella, and worrying about the snow-laden power lines outside.
You will forget your laundry. And, yes, it will be frozen.
*These tips may or may not be the direct result of personal errors. I’ll never tell.
Have you ever learned about winter the hard way? Ever gotten a talking-to from your child’s teacher? Ever frozen your skivvies?