Regular readers may have noticed that while my weekday posts in recent weeks have been about my travels, my weekend posts have been about some facet of Winter.
This weekend, when I ran out of winter posts, I racked my brain to come up with a post for today. Here it is.
If you live in a winter city/province/state/country, the conversation always seems to turn to the weather. When people ask us how we are today, we usually reply “Cold” or “Freezing” or “Frozen”. I know that makes us sound like pretty poor conversationalists, but that is just the way it is in winter.
It was also the way it was when I was growing up. There are things you learn, either by listening to or observing your parents, by accident or on a dare. For instance:
#1 – Never stick your tongue on a metal gate post or railing. I admit, I did not listen and the moment my tongue touched the cold steel, I immediately regretted it. In trying to get free, I left a part of myself behind. This impressed the boys, but not the girls, so much. I did not try to duplicate the effect for this post.
#2 – Don’t eat yellow snow. Lets face it, kids think eating snow is cool and perhaps in the old days, snow was a bit cleaner, but not now, especially with all the dog walking going on in town. I thought about just talking about this, but opted to post example photos from our walk today. Ughhh. Keep in mind, what you see in winter is also there in summer. You just can’t see it. Laying on a park lawn on a sunny summer day may be a bad idea. Just saying.
Now, as adults, we have developed or collected sayings and advice of our own.
#1 – Weather is no more than the choice of appropriate clothing. (credit to my wife)
– Here is what we wore today….and we were cozy….until we got inside the stores and then we were stinking hot. So, this saying is, in fact correct.
#2 – If you are going to commit a crime, do not do it after a fresh snowfall. See below.
#3 If you park your car outside, someone may ask you “Did you plug your car in?” When my soon to be brother-in-law arrived from Texas during a cold spell in 1975, he asked if the cords were connected to battery chargers. Nope, they connect to block heaters, embedded in the engine blocks to help keep engines and coolant from freezing in cold climates.
The arrival of an Australian Aboriginal hockey team in our city this week is partly what prompted this post. To go from +40 C to – 20 C must be one heck of a shock. I have felt the Australian heat and prefer our winter cold to their summer heat. I have heard that the Australian Government actually considers Canada a dangerous destination for their citizens and does not recommend it as a travel destination. I hope this is not true, but perhaps that is why we have so many Aussies working on our ski hills. They treat it as a dare.
#4 – Numerous sayings abound to indicate how cold it is outside: a) “Cold enough to freeze the nuts of a steel bridge.” b) “Colder than witch’s —-” c) “Colder than a well digger’s —-”
All those sayings aside, the colder the weather, the more water vapour you will see in the air from house furnaces, office buildings, factories, refineries, car exhausts and your breath. At -25 C and below, car exhaust vapour can create limited visibility leading to hazardous driving conditions.
Today was not too cold, so no breath photos and the number of plumes coming from houses is now limited as new houses with high efficiency furnaces no longer have chimneys. All I can say is thank goodness for central heating. If your furnace fails in the winter, you will get a first hand experience in climate change.
Here is another plume from a sewer grate hidden in the snow. Sorry to say, the cold air does not freeze the stink out of sewer gas.
5. – People (we) all have sayings to justify why they live in such a cold climate. In our neck of the woods, it is “But, its a dry cold.” This may be true, but only if you do not come from further North. People from the Northwest Territories who visit Edmonton say Edmonton is way colder at -20 than back home at -40.
In reference to the rainy We(s)t Coast and there grey rainy winters, we often say, better white (snow) than wet (rain). People from Vancouver say they do not mind the grey rainy winter and shoot back “Edmonton has 9 months of winter and 3 months of good skiing.” Ha Ha.
6 – Some people think Canada is colder because we use the Celsius temperature scale. Not so. -18 C is the same as 0 F. The two scales actually meet at -40, which is cold, no matter which scale you use. Add wind to the mix and it feels even colder. They are predicting -31 C for a high next week and down to -40 with the windchill. Can you say “Hibernation”?
7 – “Isn’t it pretty? “Again, my wife’s saying. This can drive winter haters mad, but I am with her. It is clean and white and coupled with a blue sky and sunshine, it is in fact pretty.
All kidding aside, we still love all our seasons, including winter.
Stay warm, my friends!