Tuesday, January 5, 2010


Being from the south, snow was a rarity. It was longed for every day by every child. My typical experience with snow, even as a grown up, is this:
Step 1) There is a forecast of snow flurries.
Step 2) There is a run on the grocery stores. They sell out of bottled water and rock salt.
Step 3) They close the schools.
Step 4) it may or may not snow (yes, those are in the right order).
Step 5) If it actually DID snow, the world shuts down for the day. By the next day the snow has melted and all is back to normal. But we all get one magical winter wonderland of a day full of playing, sledding, reading, relaxing, hot chocolate, and general unexpected time off.

Now living in Ohio, we've just had our first snow. It has snowed basically nonstop for 5 days. It's not wickedly deep out there, about 4 inches because some of the snow melts while the rest of it is falling. However, given my typical schema of how snow works, my mind was a little bit blown. Here is how Snow in Columbus works.
1) there is a forecast of snow accumulation of a few inches with lows in the single digits.
2) No one notices.
3) it snows.
4) The city salts and plows the road, the campus salts the sidewalks. People actually own snow shovels and de-icer for their own sidewalks and steps - and they use them.
5) Everyone goes to work and is on time to work.

So snow is different here. Also, though I have seen snow before, it's been over 5 years since I've seen any on the ground. Among the plethora of things I didn't know (or perhaps just didn't remember) about snow:

1) It is really cold. Ok, I mean in principle I knew it was cold. But it's really really cold. Like your face is numb and your hands and toes hurt cold.

2) it is wet. again, I knew in principle that it was wet. But it's really wet. and yucky when it gets in your gloves, shoes, socks, shirt, car ... anything. It's like cold wet sand after a day at the beach. The snow beach.

3) if you have to walk outside while it's snowing, the stuff gets in your eyes and it stings.

4) Sometimes you have to scrape off your car more than once a day! I went to work at 8, parked the car, and when I came back to it at 5 I had to scrape it off again. Boo. Scraping the car off when you're walking like 5 steps from the house is no big deal. You're still warm and can duck back inside if you have to. But after a 5-10 minute walk it sucks. it's just cold. and wet. and the snow gets in your eyes and it stings.

5) One thing is the same. It is still beautiful, quiet, calming, sparkly, and fun to look at. Through a closed window - next to my heater - provided there are blankets stuffed around the windows so the draft doesn't get in.


AndyDO said...

I love this! Snow is Austria and Germany works the same way as in Ohio. Also, here everyone has two sets of wheels and tires for the car - so from October to April you have snow tires on, which drive through snow like regular tires drive through rain.

Chelsea Perkins said...

snow beach! i love it.
also, one of my columbus friends was just telling me that she got frostbite after 20 minutes of sledding last year. ahhhhh!!! i really hope none of that happens to either of us.