Friday, December 18, 2009

Oh, the weather outside is frightful...

If you're from the Midwest, or the Northeast, or really, anywhere that gets weather, prepare for a good laugh at our expense. However, if you're a recent D.C. transplant and this is the first time snow has come to you as opposed to you going to the snow, listen up.

It has been beaten to death on this blog that we're Southern California kids through and through. And while D.C. and L.A. have many differences, we've found the transition to be much easier than expected. But the one thing that still makes us feel like fish out of water is the weather.

Consider this: Not only had we never experienced a "white Christmas," we'd never really gone through a cold Christmas until we moved here. Most people understand that a house might be cold when you wake up to see if Santa came. But have you ever had to open a window to warm up the house on Christmas day? That is our "normal," so you can imagine how we might react to snow.

Three things about weather and us. First, our wardrobes were sorely insufficient. Believe it or not, the only weather related decision you need to make in SoCal is if you need a hoodie or not. Not surprisingly, we quickly learned that this was not the case here.

Second, we are paralyzingly awestruck by weather. If it is even threatening to rain hard, much less snowing, our eyes are glued to the nearest window or monitoring the forecast feverishly. This is one of my favorite things about our new home; being able to revel in the childish wonderment of weather, be it the changing of the seasons or beautifully falling snow.

Finally, we were just ignorant to anything but a light drizzle. You know the radar maps that use a color code to show the intensity of precipitation? You probably could have convinced us that weather systems were only shown in light green. White, purple, and red storms just don't exist where we come from. It has been eye opening to say the least. Thunder, lightning, hail, sleet, freezing rain . . . all new to our world. In fact, I had to get an explanation from a friend in Colorado when I first saw "wintry mix" on the forecast. Now I'm hearing "thundering snow." What the hell is that?

By now you're either laughing at our stupidity or nodding in agreement, depending on where you grew up. For those in the latter group, here's what you can do.
  1. Dress the part. If a cold day in your mind means the 50's, don't go out thinking you can tackle a real winter with your old wardrobe. Get a good long coat. Get some boots that are waterproof. Get a real umbrella, not something you pick up at CVS and will break almost immediately. And for those icy walks to work, look into YakTrax.
  2. Pay attention. The weather report on the local news was always an invitation to do something else. Not anymore. Make it part of your routine to glance at the weather daily. We went so far as to get a weather clock for our bathroom from Brookstone so we'll never be caught unprepared in a storm again . . . we hope.
With a couple of simple adjustments, we are no longer afraid or inconvenienced by the weather here, and can now enjoy it. Maybe after a few more seasons of thunderstorms and snow we won't be captivated as we are now, but until then, "Let it snow, let it snow, let it snow!"

J Says

Like B said, I'm completely awestruck by the weather in D.C. Whenever there is a big summer thunderstorm or a few flakes of snow, there's no chance I'm getting any work done because I'm glued to the window.

As I type, I'm filled with excitement for the pending snowstorm. I'm sure that living with a lot of snow would get old (driving in it, trudging through it, etc.) but I'm excited for one really big storm.

Also, I have to echo what B wrote about dressing for the weather. I still don't have all of the right clothes for winter but I'm getting there. This winter, you're likely to see me bundled up like the kids in A Christmas Story. Just don't knock me over!


blunoz said...

Both laughing and nodding in agreement. Having grown up in San Diego, moved to Connecticut in 1995 after college just in time for the worst snow storm since the Blizard of '78. I learned all sorts of interesting things about snow and ice that winter. For instance - if you have to brush the snow off your windshield, then that also means you have the brush the snow off your HEADLIGHTS, too!

We've got 16 inches on the ground out here by Dulles, and it's still coming down.

Another well-written post. Keep up the good work!

Vidda said...

That is the best snow angel I've ever seen! Of couse I am from SoCal.
Enjoy and be safe...

Anonymous graduate student at Georgetown University said...

+1 for the YaxTrax. Great pictures.

Alix said...

Y'all grew up in southern California