Sunday, February 27, 2011

Surviving a Wisconsin Winter

When people in Wisconsin learn that I grew up in Florida, Wisconsinites all suddenly want to talk about the weather. Usually this conversation ends in some kind of evasive maneuvering on my part. I really didn't have a hard time adjusting to the cold weather. I feel like there are very few people that enjoy the long winters. But, I complain when I'm uncomfortable, which most people do. Anyways, my dearest blogger cousin, Rachel, is moving to Delaware from Alabama/Mississippi soon. I put together a little list of all the things that helped drag this snow-hater through some of the "worst winter"s of Wisconsin. I admit some are obvious, but the obvious needs to be said.

Hats and Gloves
Hats are a smart choice from the moment the humidity is sucked out of the air. It protects the wearer from red, frozen ears as well as dry, crispy hair. That being said, buying a cute hat that doesn't provide ample ear coverage is a waste of hard earned money. (Unless it's a summer hat, but we're not talking about summer here.) What's great about hats is that they work as a two-fer. They can be used to hide bad hair days and keep heat from leaving your body.

Gloves are necessary in cold climates. Personally, I'm not a fan. They make me clumsier with my hands, I lose them constantly and knit gloves absorb water which can defeat the purpose. There isn't much to do about thick fingers making keys harder to find and coins more difficult to pick up. I have found a pseudo solution for lost gloves. I buy them in bright, neon if I can, colors.
I have Lime Green and Bright Blue ISOTONER Gloves
Don't retire your sunglasses after summer. Snow blindness is real and painful. It's a danger while driving or walking. Sun reflection off of the snow is brighter than the beaches of Destin. And that's pretty darn bright.
Good Coat(s)
I suggest getting a snow coat that is water resistant and captures heat along with a dressy coat that is warm enough for windy days. I do not in anyway advocate buying a calf length down coat. Gram calls this kind of coat a blanket with sleeves and is all about them. But, everyone ages by at least 30 years (cut off at 70) when they put one on. It will rot in your closet waiting for you to declare your sexuality DOA.

Tights, Leggings, Nylons
Long Johns can be stifling and uncomfortable under pants. Tights and nylons can be just as effective at adding an extra layer to your bottom half. They can also be paired with skirts and dresses. It's a good idea to have these on hand, because weather is generally not very stable for months. If it's a very cold day you can put socks over nylons.
Wool Socks
Speaking of socks, Gram has a motto for winter wear, "ABC, Anything But Cotton." She gifts socks for every holiday. She's gotten me into Smartwool socks. They're hella pricey, but fantastic gifts. I just wear whatever I think aren't cotton with my sneakers and grab the Smartwools for leather or rubber boots, because they have little insulation.
Boots are a must have. I do want to admit that I'm a boot nut. I think it's because I can't wear heels, so I substitute boots for heels often. I have cowboy boots, fall leather boots, fall short boots, and rubber boots. Out of that list only the rubber boots are functional. I use the rubber boots in slushy weather which there is no lack of lately. I also own Keen tennis shoes that I call snow boots. They are water resistant, have thick tread and are well insulated.

I avoid a lot of accidents by not wearing the cute boots through winter. Also, I feel that my nice boots are going to last years longer without salt stains.
Each winter my skin threatens to curl up and die. I realize about half way through September that if I don't do something, I'm liable to claw off my legs from all the itching. I've started putting on lotion after showers. My dermatologist says that if you put on lotion within 3 minutes of washing, then you'll lock in the moisture.
5-htp with St. John's Wort
For a little while I was getting the winter blues. I didn't want to be on an SSRI. I felt that they're way too strong for a little bout of seasonal depression. I do suggest that if you start feeling not quite yourself, you can try 5-htp with St. John's Wort. I'm not 100% sure if it's a placebo effect or what, but these things seem to work after about three days of regular use.
Leather Protectant Spray
This will be a small entry. Do buy some leather protectant spray if you own anything leather. It's not so much about snow and wet. It's mostly about salt. Salt will stain and dry out your leather. Thick, hard leather is easy to clean, but with suede you can be SOL.
Emergency Car Kit

Another short entry. Here is a link to an article on what should be in an Emergency Car Kit. You can't foresee a winter car problem; it's best to be prepared.

Blankets Blankets Blankets
Winter is cold. Heating bills can be ridiculous. We have blankets readily available throughout the house. It's just a better idea to heat yourself than to heat the empty space around you. It's ecofriendly and just financially prudent.

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