I've never had a snowy Christmas.
I know for most Minnesotans that is not only shocking, but borders on horrifying. What can I say? I grew up in Northern California. My neighbors put Christmas lights in their palm trees.
I've lived in Minnesota for a grand total of 16 months and am heading into my second real winter. Ever.
Last winter I learned a few things about living in the snow, driving in the snow and walking in the snow. Some of my "lessons" were painful. Some were expensive. All remind me of my own smallness.
1- The thing people use to scrape the ice from their windshields is not a spatula. A spatula does the trick — it just takes a lot longer and requires a great deal more upper body strength. On the same note, a windshield scraper should not be used to remove cookies from a hot cookie sheet.
2- It is not necessary to wear snow pants whenever there is snow on the ground. It is particularly unnecessary to wear them to the grocery store, the mall or the doctor. Unless you plan to submerge your entire body in the snow, layers of regular clothing usually suffice.
3- A lake has to be frozen at least two inches before its safe to walk on, but most people won't go on it until it's been frozen for at least a week or two and they know it's a good four or five inches thick. You (and by you, I mean me) should never drive on a lake.
4- If you do drive on a lake don't assume turning around will be easy. Also, whipping a u-turn is a terrible idea.
5- Running in the snow isn't so bad. It's actually kind of nice. Until you reach a hill. A helmet is a wise investment.
6- Arctic sun is not what it sounds like it might be. It means colder not hotter. Arctic sun is a lie.
I have to admit my anticipation of winter number two is a mix of emotion. I kind of like the snow. It makes Christmas cozier. It means not cutting the grass. And driving in it is like a six month long physics experiement.
However, the days when it's so cold the inside of your nose freezes, I'm not the biggest fan of those. Those are the moments when I wonder if I might be knocking a few days off the end of my life.