Things we have learnt about living through a Polar Vortex and beyond

You had to know this was coming…

As a Brit living though extreme cold there was no way I could turn my back on the unwritten rules of my home culture and not discuss the weather.

Garden in the snow

Garden in the snow

But first a disclaimer: While I realize that there are those of you who choose to live and work in colder climes, this is the first time in a long while I have had to live though such horribly cold conditions. I appreciate those of you who do this year after year – I know I couldn’t.

Apparently we have been living though one of the coldest winters in the area, and it feels like it. We’ve had lots of snow, a Polar Vortex and mornings so cold that it has been too dangerous to let the school buses out for the usual pick-up time.

The perfect tree

The perfect tree

It wasn’t too bad before Christmas, maybe slightly chilly, but I am now so hardened that I look back to those balmy pre-Christmas days with longing. After Christmas, blissfully unaware what was coming, we headed to the slopes of Colorado. Those of you who have read my previous posts, may remember my less than enthusiastic feelings about skiing. This time the lack of injury, sunny days, clear air and the company of mum and our friends from home on non-skiing days made this trip much more pleasant. I did manage to get to the bottom of the slopes with most of my dignity intact and not too much gritting teeth and cursing the world around me. As with all my other ski experiences I spent most of my skiing time alone, as I was considered ‘too slow mummy’. I don’t think I ventured off the green slopes, but I did mange to regain some confidence, which had been eroded in the past 14 years of definitely not going skiing. The boy however, I am happy to say, has no such issues and my lasting impression of him and Garnet skiing was Garnet frantically trying to catch up with him, whilst yelling ‘more turns, more turns’.

Top of the mountain

Top of the mountain

Since we got back though, the tolerable cold of sunshiny Colorado days has turned into something much more unbearable.

You really know it’s too cold when:

  • even Monty won’t leave the garage, and when he does spends most of his time going lame on alternate feet as the snow freezes in between the pads on his paws
  • your glasses freeze from the condensation as you breath out
  • anything that is in your nose hardens instantly
  • the logs have to be defrosted before being burnt (even after being stacked inside)
  • it takes a longer time to get dressed to go outside than you spend outdoors, and you are still cold outside – even with 3 coats and 4 layers of thermals
  • you have to defrost the gate with boiling water before you can get out of the drive (twice)
  • there are scary warnings about windchill and frostbite in dogs ears
  • it feels like you will never be warm again
  • you have completed most of your todo list due to lack of time that you can physically spend outside

On the bright side though Monty has been fully enjoying snow baths and the unexpected crunchiness of frozen deer droppings.

Happy Monty

Happy Monty

This weekend has been a bit of an exception and has been almost spring-like and very muddy – although the local lake is still frozen solid. This has had the unexpected side effect of underdressing for being outside – as one completely forgets that any temperature above freezing can still feel cold. It was a relief for a while to only wear three layers. That was until the inevitable shivering set in and the boy realized that one should actually wear gloves when handling snow. Apparently we have 6 more inches due tonight and tomorrow – oh well, it does make for some pretty pictures.

Stay warm everyone!

Skaters on the canal

Skaters on the canal

Trees in the snow

Trees in the snow

Snow on old barn

Snow on old barn

Frozen hot chocolate

Frozen hot chocolate

More pictures in this gallery: Winter 2013-2014

Christmas spent with friends and family

I just wanted a shout-out for a lovely Christmas and New Year happily spent with friends from Melbourne and Mum. Thanks all for travelling out to spend it with us!  We even got to celebrate Jo and Mark’s engagement in style – congrats you guys!

4 thoughts on “Things we have learnt about living through a Polar Vortex and beyond

  1. John Monaghan

    Glad to hear that you are all surviving. Edinburgh seems positively balmy by comparison.

    Even my friends in Alabama suffered from the bad weather. Still he’s from Dumfries and she’s from Albany (NY) so they must have seen snow and low temperatures before.

    Reply
  2. Emma

    Hi Em,
    We’ve tried to Skype you a few times but never seem to catch you when you’re on!
    Perhaps we can try and co-ordinate ourselves?
    Em xx

    Reply

Looking forward to reading your comments!