Well HELLO, Winter!

They say that absence makes the heart grow fonder.

Apparently this is true. And apparently this can apply not only to a fondness for an absent person, but for an absent season.

I know what you’re thinking. “Hell has frozen over. Terri is missing winter.”

I never thought I’d see the day either, but here it is. Technically, it is winter here in Minnesota, but it’s not really winter. Winter in Minnesota means snow, and lots of it. In winter, the driveway is supposed to look like a white tunnel leading to the garage. In winter, we fight over who has to spend those extra few minutes outside getting the mail and racing for the warmth of the house. It’s supposed to be cold out there. We’re supposed to have to bundle up in jackets and scarves, mittens and hats and boots. Instead, I see people outdoors in hooded sweatshirts, in flip-flops, and even in shorts. In February. In Minnesota. Something is wrong with this picture.

We Minnesotans aren’t sure what to do with ourselves when winter is supposed to be here but then fails to show up. We pride ourselves on our ability to endure the harsh cold and mountains of snow. And we complain about it! It’s what we do! We laugh about those states that shut down after half an inch of snow falls because they don’t have snow plows or salt to melt the ice on their roads and they don’t know how to drive on ice and snow. We puff up our chests and boast about how we still go to work and school even after several feet of snow have covered the ground.

We Minnesotans have been deprived of several months of complaining and boasting and we are not happy about it! Well, some of us aren’t happy about it. I can’t speak for those people who were still golfing last week.  In February. In Minnesota.

The rest of us? We have conversations that go something like this.

Can you believe how warm it’s been?

I know, right?

And then we walk away, shrugging our shoulders because we don’t know where the conversation goes from there.

Sometimes a person might add:

This can’t last. We can’t be that lucky.

And that person would be right. And when winter finally decides to show up, in February, in Minnesota it doesn’t quite work the same. When a winter storm finally arrives after unseasonably warm weather, it shows up in the form of rain that lasts all night long, freezing to everything it strikes.

The frame for the canopy on my deck, for instance:

And by morning, when the snow is falling on top of all that ice, it begins to look like this.

The weight of the ice and snow is too much for the big pine tree in the back yard and its branches droop to the ground.

Laying in bed at night, there’s the reassuring sound of snow plows scraping their blades over the streets. Waking up in the morning, the sound of rain … or is it sleet … or snow … pelting against the house lulls me back to sleep until the alarm goes off again and it’s time to get up. When I go to leave for work, I have to “gun it” out of the driveway in order to break through the crusty barrier that the plows have left there. One of the boys will clean that mess up later. I have to leave early for work because it’s going to be a long slow drive. The streets are rutted with ice and slush and snow. Traffic crawls down the freeway. Cars that have spun out rest on the shoulder of the road. The flashing lights of the Highway Helper truck alert drivers to vehicles that are stuck. It takes three times as long to get where you’re going as it normally does.

And when I finally make it to the office? When my coworkers finally make it to the office? We compare notes. “How bad was it in your neighborhood? How was your drive? How many accidents did you see? Why do people drive like it’s the first time they’ve ever seen snow when this happens every year?”

And we are happy. Winter feels like winter again and we can breathe easy now.

And tomorrow? We’ll go back to counting the days until spring and longing for warmth and sunshine and green grass. Because right now it’s winter. In February. In Minnesota. And we are sick of it!

22 thoughts on “Well HELLO, Winter!

  1. I totally get what you mean. Winters are hard to endure unless you have the excitement and hardships of a big snowfall. We used to get more snow around here, back in the day. But recently, we’ve had only a couple of snows a year. This year, the most we got was 1-2 inches and it was melted by the afternoon. We’ve gone to school EVERY day, and have yet to sit in front of the TV watching the weather report with anticipation, kind of hoping for a big snow, but knowing it’ll cause a lot of problems. Last year I was snowed in at the hotel for 2 days! Most of the employees stayed both nights and the guests were snowed in as well. It was sooo fun! I hate winter, but I love the excitement that a big snow brings!
    So ‘yay!’ for you! Enjoy it, ’cause with this crazy year, it may be your last! :)

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  2. I will NEVER understand anyone missing winter. I grew up in winter. Lived my first part of adult life with winter. And the moved to a place where 10 inches of snow is a once in 20 year event. I don’t miss it. Not even for one second.

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    • I think if it didn’t look so dull and gray and lifeless, I wouldn’t miss it. I don’t miss it THAT much. Just a little. We just needed a little change of pace and scenery. And we got it. It can go away now! ;-)

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  3. 80 degrees here today. You can have all that crazy-cold you want. I was blissfully happy at the YMCA, running in my shorty-shorts, sleeveless shirt and blowing a fan on my face on the treadmill. And then walking to pick up Tyler from school in capris and a t-shirt. And flip flops. In February. Yes, Ma’am!!!

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  4. Terri, I have a friend who lives there and she was lucky enough to be able to work out of the house for the day of bad weather. I’m glad you made it to work safe.

    I thought when I moved to Florida from Chicago, that I’d never miss winter. After 2 decades here, I pine for it. You may already know that, since I posted a poem about it.

    Anyway, perhaps your ice will melt soon. I thought I heard the cold weather isn’t supposed to last long. Hang in there.

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  5. So how can Minnesotians puff their collective chests (a nice visual btw) about other states acting irrationally with a little snow when your trip into work is described as: “Cars that have spun out rest on the shoulder of the road. The flashing lights of the Highway Helper truck alert drivers to vehicles that are stuck. It takes three times as long to get where you’re going as it normally does.”

    Seems like if your brethren were chest-puff worthy, they wouldn’t be in the ditch?

    Viva summer of winters!!!

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  6. Yes, Minnesotans are lost when we can’t say something about the weather! Glad you made it to work okay. I too wish that I would have had a snow day. Maybe we will get one next year!

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  7. I seem to recall last year you were getting tired of all the snow. At least the Metrodome shouldn’t have any problems this year. You complain about snow in winter about like we complain about the heat in the summer. We gripe about the temps in August, but if it isn’t hot enough to melt your sandals to the sidewalk, we feel cheated.

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  8. We Pennsylvanians have been saying pretty much the same thing as you folks up in Minnesota lately -”Where’s winter?” Or, “Hasn’t this weather been really weird this year?” Yesterday morning, there were areas here getting freezing rain so the school was on a two-hour delay and by the time I got the grandkids on their respective van and bus (Kurt-van, Maya-bus), I decided I truly hate two-hour delays! Way too much energy and piss and vinegar residing in those two for that early in the a.m. My sympathy goes out to school teachers everywhere who must deal with 25-30 kids full of as much of that stuff as these two were and indulging themselves in petty sibling fighting then too -including much kicking! Such a relief it was to get them out of here and off to annoy their teachers! LOL (Hope they do behave much better in school. Probably will be okay as long as they aren’t near each other I think!) Now, enjoy the snow cause the chances of more are slimming down with each passing day!

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  9. Gosh, I’m with you, Terri. We haven’t really had winter here in Kentucky either–and I had been counting on it. Having spent the past two winters in Haiti and Vietnam, I really wanted snow, and we’ve had two mere dustings of the stuff.

    Congrats on Winter, my friend!

    Hugs,
    Kathy

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  10. Missouri seems to be one of those states that freaks out anytime there is the least bit of snow coming. Everyone waits on pins and needles and looks out the window periodically. They all make a mad dash to the grocery store to buy milk, eggs, and bread, as if they intend to survive on French toast for the next month. Then the snow finally comes (maybe an inch), and everyone forgets how to drive. Wrecks are everywhere, and you won’t find anyone on the highway going more than 30 mph. Then, after the sun has been up for several hours, everything melts away, and life returns to normal. Until next time…

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  11. Terri—i lived in MN for many years and I could totally relate to what you were talking about. You made me laugh out loud :-). Glad you finally got SOME wintry weather. We are in AZ and it was sunny and in the 70s yesterday, but it was snowy and in the low teens in Flagstaff (near the Grand Canyon) yesterday. They get in a good year 300″ of snow, but have had much less this year. I don’t miss the snow driving and shoveling–but I miss MN…and the feeling you get from surviving the winters and seeing glorious spring and walking around Lake Harriet on those lovely spring days.

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  12. We in Illinois have had an unusually mild Winter, too, but then, we never get what you Minnesotans get in the way of snow! Y’all are brave, rugged people to endure that! I think the worst part — other than the COLD, of course — is having to drive on ice. I love having four seasons, but I certainly could do with less winter!

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  13. I am SO jealous. I have been ripped OFF this winter. I have been waiting and praying for ONE big blizzard and we haven’t gotten anything other than friggen rain.

    The photo of the icicles = AMAZEBALLZ

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  14. Freezing rain – I’m not fan. BUT at least you’re finally getting some winter and you can be a true Minnesotan again! Be careful out there.

    Beautiful photos!!

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  15. The photos are beautiful, but I can’t say I miss winter, or even the hint of winter from midwest standards. I really do not like the cold at all. I’m so glad that there are a lot of people who do like it though. It makes life have such a sweet variety to it. Congrats on getting the good stuff, finally, and sorry you didn’t get the coveted snow day.

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  16. Haha it’s strange how we always seem to want the opposite. When it’s winter and freezing, we want warm weather and summer..when it’s summer and over 100 degrees, we long for cool fall days where we can drink hot chocolate and snuggle under a blanket. I know those weather conversations, though. Times about 50 from when I worked in the hotel because every guest wanted to talk about it too when we got something big or even just a dusting, depending on where the person was from.

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  17. Those pictures remind me of winter in Oklahoma where I grew up. We didn’t have winter, particularly, but when we pretended for a week or two, we didn’t have the days and days of accumulated snow, packed against itself like you guys do. We had freezing temperatures and sleet that clung to everything and weighed down everything.

    Not fun!

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