Wednesday, January 12, 2011

Snow is a 4 Letter Word

I borrowed that title from my cousin's wife's blog. I must give credit where credit is due.

I know that I suffer from Seasonal Affective Disorder. According to Wikipedia, the symptoms of SAD "may consist of difficulty waking up in the morning, morning sickness, tendency to oversleep as well as to overeat, especially a craving for carbohydrates, which leads to weight gain. Other symptoms include a lack of energy, difficulty concentrating on completing tasks, and withdrawal from friends, family, and social activities."

A lot of things are common to just having to deal with living in North Dakota. Let's examine that definition a little closer, shall we?

"Difficulty waking up... Tendency to oversleep." Yes, because there is so few hours of sunlight, I might as well be living in Alaska. Up when it's still dark, drive home from work when it's dark and a whole lot of clouds in between. Break out the vitamin D.

"Morning sickness." North Dakota has one of the highest alcohol consumption rates in the nation. Nothing to brag about, but what else is there to do in the winter? Except for maybe stay in bed with the one you love...and technically that could lead to morning sickness.

"Overeat, especially carbs." Well, duh, comfort food. Not to mention some of the main crops grown here include wheat, soybeans and sugar beets. Don't forget Thanksgiving, Christmas and New Years all fall during the winter months. It doesn't really matter if you're overweight anyway because your body shape is completely hidden under several layers of clothes and bulky down coats. You could carry a baby to term and no one would be the wiser.

"Lack of energy, difficulty concentrating on and completing tasks." That just called having kids.

And finally, "withdrawal from friends and family;" only because it's nearly impossible to get around in several feet of snow! Not that you really want to be seen by anyone. By the time you arrive anywhere, your mascara is halfway down your face since the cold wind immediately brings tears to your eyes. Forget having a hairstyle, hat head it the best you'll do. Not to mention a red nose you're honking and the cough that sounds eerily like a dying seal because you have a cold that just won't go away.(And hey, you're toting around a few extra pounds from those carbs and alcohol, right?) Now that's attractive!

There are so many other reasons to hate winters in North Dakota. I can't afford to move. I came here to go to college and now I'm stuck. The idea of trying to sell and buy a house let alone pack it up, well, I guess I hate the thought of that just a little bit more.

Not only do we get lots and lots of snow, there are no nearby mountains (or a whole lot of trees) to block the wind. A calm day here, winter or not, is rare. So take a typical January day where temperatures may or may not reach 0 degrees and toss in a 40 mph wind. This makes the windchill about -30. No kidding. And I've seen worse. I once saw windchills of -80. You know what you can do in that cold of weather? Nothing. Except, one cool thing, you can blow soap bubbles and they will slowly turn opaque, freeze, and when they hit the sidewalk, it'll break like an egg. You just can't stay out long enough to blow very many of them. Or you can hammer a nail into a piece of wood with a banana. Saw that one on the evening news. (Nothing too newsworthy happens in that weather either.)

To go anywhere is going to take at least an extra 45 minutes. More if you have 2 children you have to dress in snowpants, boots, coats, hats, gloves, and scarves...and then take it all off again when they forgot to tell you they had to go pee. Driving is at a snail's pace. Once you tap, tap, tap your brakes to make sure you stop at the intersection, you have to ease out slowly to see around the snowbanks. The only good thing about driving in the dark both ways, is that headlights will alert you to oncoming traffic. I'm tempted to glue a huge bike flag to the top of my car, so that other drivers will know I'm hiding behind that 9 ft snowbank waiting to turn. Some of the streets have such huge piles of snow along each side, you feel like you're in an oversized bobsled. It can feel something like this:

(I don't care if that train has a plow on the front and it's wheels on rails, that would just freak me the heck out!)

My sister-in-law came to visit South Dakota one year (not during the winter) and thought it was great how eco-friendly everyone was with so many electric cars around. They're not electric. We have to plug them in so that they will start after sitting overnight.

During the summer, you don't have to sweep or remove anything from your driveway before leaving. In the winter, not only do you spend a few hours shoveling snow, and scraping your car windows, you'll get to do it all over again when the plow comes by.

I've been racking my brain to think of anything good about winter. Crime rate goes down. You can leave your car running when you run into the store and people don't have the heart to steal it. My husband will tell you that there's snowmobiling and ice fishing. Yes, but then you have to be OUTSIDE. The reason we always end up with the ground hog telling us that there will be six more weeks of winter isn't because he's afraid of his's too dang cold to be outdoors! I'd go back to bed too.

1 comment:

  1. You just made me feel a little better, at least I don't have to plug my car in.

    Just discovered you have a blog so I will be reading along now - it's great to catch up with you! And thanks for the credit. :)