We've been discussing her idea for this blog for awhile now; Lindsey's wanted to share this information with everyone to better humanity and save some unsuspecting Floridians and other Southerners (I guess that's a bit redundant if you consider Florida a part of the South - I understand some people do not) from making the same mistakes she did moving to a colder climate. Lindsey has learned much in her short time in the DMV, braving a blizzard and surprise winter like a champ. I hope you enjoy this post as much as I do.
A Floridian in Winter by Lindsey
Hey there, people of the internet! My name is Lindsey, and I have graciously been offered the opportunity to have a guest blog post. Okay, I had some advice the world needed to hear but no platform, and Erin was kind enough to mention that occasionally she has guests post on her blog. Thanks, Erin!
What you need to know about me: I've got two cats, and I love baking, Star Wars, and Victorian literature (no idea why I get along with the resident blogger). Also, about 3 years ago, I moved from Florida to the bitter, bitter cold of Northern Virginia. Now that winter has arrived (in March), I have a need to share what I've learned with my fellow Sunshine Staters. My list is by no means exhaustive, but let it be a lesson to any other northern-inclined Floridians.
- You will need a new coat. Your Florida winter coat is not going to get you past Fall. Don't buy it in Florida. Parameters: it should cover your butt(!), have a hood, be waterproof, and be big on you. Put that coat back on the rack if it fits snugly. Also, it is possible that you may want to own more than one coat (It seems like overkill, I know, but I got a super warm coat with a hood with fur lining that goes down to my ankles and is basically like wearing a down comforter, and it's awesome, but it's too warm for, say, 40 degrees. Or even 30 degrees. Now that you're out of Florida, guess what—it gets even colder <shudder>.)
- Scarves. They are apparently for more than decoration. They also catch snot and tears when you're out in the cold and the wind. Gross? Absolutely. But think of how much you're saving on tissues.
- Cold sucks. Cold with wind is worse. One word: ChapStick <quickly checks Google to see if that really is one word>.
- Snow is disappointing. It's wet. It only occurs when it's cold outside. It's heavy. It leaves your floors wet and gross and sandy (Sandy? Yeah, sandy, and not from a day at the beach. This area puts down sand to give you traction to drive instead of just salt.). The pristine beauty of fresh snowfall will turn into sandy/muddy brown slush. Also, snow has not yet learned to fall only in grassy areas, so it's a pain in the ass to go anywhere—by car or on foot. Snow Days? Ha! Not if you can work from home.
- Buy a snow shovel before a snowstorm is forecast. Like in summer. Because there won't be any in stock when a snowstorm is looming. Once the snow has fallen, unless you can get a shovel through same-day delivery from Amazon, good luck digging out to get to a store. (I have found that a large mixing bowl will make a dent. Also, if your neighbors see you scooping snow with a mixing bowl, they will take pity and offer to let you borrow their shovels. Like, multiple offers. Not that I know this from personal experience.)
- Pedestrian life sucks when the sidewalks are covered in snow. Get snow boots. If you forge a new path, you will be covered in snow (wet and cold) and potentially trip over covered things or fall into holes. If you step in footprints, the snow has been compacted and has melted and refrozen, so those footprints are actually ice. Pedestrian life sucks worse when the sidewalks are covered in ice. You will slip. Snow boots help, but they are not suction cups.
- You're a better driver in snow than a lot of people. No, really.
- Don't use your windshield wiper fluid from Florida. It will freeze. You will then realize this is obvious, but it was always above freezing in Florida by morning, so you weren't thinking about it. You're welcome.
- Get a windshield ice scraper thingy. Your credit card will no longer do the trick. Get one that has a brush on one end so you can brush off the snow from all over your car, too.
- Have a pair of waterproof gloves. Otherwise your hands will be cold, wet, and numb meat mallets as you try to scrape off snow and ice.
- Get cats. Then you don't have to try to walk an animal in snow. Also, if you need traction in snow to, let's say, back out of your parking space, apparently you can pour some kitty litter around your tires. I've never tried this. I need that stuff for the cats.
- Wake up earlier. It takes longer to dress yourself for winter. When you finally get your layers on, now put on that new coat, boots, gloves, hat and scarf. Promptly overheat as you sit in rush hour traffic for more than an hour, toggling the heat on and off and finally settling on heat on with the window down.
- Ice is slippery.
- Everyone will tell you to layer. This is confusing to Floridians. Let me explain: you have to go buy those other layers; they're not in your closet yet. Why the hell would you layer anything in Florida? Basically it's sweaters. Invest in sweaters. Put lighter layers (your "sweaters" you wore in Florida for winter) under sweaters. Put a cami under the lighter layer. Put a coat on over all that. This is why you bought a larger coat size, see? Plus side: layers help cushion your fall when you slip on ice.
- Get lots of lotion. You, from Florida, are an amphibian, and your skin will shrivel and die in the winter. It will suck. Hydrate your skin! Also invest in saline spray for your nose. Your nose will dry out and bleed, and you will thank me later. Oh, and a humidifier is a must to create a tolerable habitat.
- Northern Virginia is not even considered The North. I don't have any advice for this. Let's just sit and contemplate the fact that my list is for what is generally considered a "mild" winter.
- There is some good news. Here is where YOU are the expert: Up here, there are two hazardous road conditions that get me every time an advisory is issued: sun glare and road spray. No, that's real. ...Because driving when it's sunny is an event. A dangerous event. As is driving after it "rains." The rain up here is mostly weird and insubstantial phantom rain. Sometimes you can hardly feel it. If it actually rains enough, though, you'll get an advisory about wet roads. ...I just...
So hang in there, displaced Floridaperson. They will tease you about winter, but you can roll your eyes all day long once we hit summer and they start complaining about how humid it is.