Don’t Fall For the Hype: Polarocalypse Weather Fear

Everybody knows I’m a Californian living with dual Minnesota citizenship.  What they can’t figure out though, is why I love Minnesota.  They can’t figure out how, after six winters in the Land o’ Lakes (yes, we really do count our time here in winters, duh) I still love it.  And that’s fine by me.

Everybody knows I’m crazy.  Most don’t say it to my face, but really, you knew, right?  That should be enough for you to realize why I love it here.  But really, the cold isn’t that bad.  Or as we like to say in the Sacramento valley in reverse, “it’s a dry cold”.  And I say that with a straight face.  Cuz it is dry.  I’ll take a Minnesota winter over a Sacramento winter any day of the week.  I’m not completely insane though:  only for three months.  That’s the main problem with Minnesota winters — they’re too darn long.

This morning was the day that has been hyped for weeks:  Polarocalypse (yes, I had to look up how to spell it).  It is the coldest it’s been in 17 years.  That’s saying a lot in Minnesota.  The Governor canceled school in the entire state (also saying a ton since we’ve only had 1.25 snow days in six winters in our district).  Temps at 21 below and up to 60 below with windchill.  While that’s no laughing matter since you can get frostbite after just five minutes of exposure, I get why the Minnesotans are hardy and why they laugh at the hype.

If only our thermometers could track the windchill.  This reading is SO deceiving!
If only our thermometers could track the windchill. This reading is SO deceiving!

There’s no such thing as bad weather, only bad clothing.

That’s my favorite Minnesota saying and I’ve fully embraced it upon moving here.  Sure, my husband complains (a lot) about my coat, boot, hat and glove addiction habit affection, but he’s not the one out there on the front line keeping the family running.  He goes from his heated house to his heated garage to his heated car to his company’s heated garage to the skyway (hamster mazes that keep Twin-Cities workers from ever going outside and keep the pharmaceutical companies flying high in Vitamin D sales) to his office, without ever cracking out a coat, let alone a hat or gloves.  I, on the other hand, while being lucky enough to work out of the house, have to do everything else out there.  In the tundra.

So today, with all the hype, I should have been in bed, sleeping through the hype.  Instead, I had an 8:30 doctor’s appointment twenty minutes from the house.  Not far enough to any heated garages or skyways.  Just far enough to deal with traffic and “dangerous, bitter cold” as they’ve been calling it on TV.

But thanks to my coat addiction habit affection and Jimmy Stewart, I was prepared.  How, you ask, could the late, great, Jimmy Stewart save my boney arse from frost bite?  I have a full-length raccoon coat bought at a second-hand store right here in the western suburbs of Minneapolis.  Yes Virginia, PETA does not exist where it is very, very cold.  And you know why?  Cuz she died of frostbite!

Jimmy Stewart keeping me warm during 60 below windchill.
Jimmy Stewart keeping me warm during 60 below windchill.

But the California girl in me requires that my fur be purchased used.  That way, I’m not perpetuating animal cruelty.  Instead, I consider myself a top environmentalist for recycling and reusing.  And if the herd of deer who were actually bedding down (honest, they were laying down!) in my back yard this morning (a first in 6 winters!) could speak, I’m sure they’d ask for a Jimmy Stewart raccoon coat too.

Pretty sure this deer is making eyes at my Jimmy Stewart.
Pretty sure this deer is making eyes at my Jimmy Stewart.
First time in six winters that we've seen a herd bed down in our yard.  They didn't even move when our "herd" of goldens got near them.
First time in six winters that we’ve seen a herd bed down in our yard. They didn’t even move when our “herd” of goldens got near them.

I’ve been an avid second-hand store lover since college and the Twin-Cities selection is amazing.  Yes, I used that tired, old word because, in this case, it’s necessary.  Seriously, they are as good as Paris.  I haven’t been to a second-hand store in Paris since 1987, so that’s probably an over-statement, but I stand by my use of amazing.  Jimmy Stewart was my first foray into fur.  I call him that because he reminds me of the raccoon coats worn in old black and white movies.  He reminds my friend of the big coats worn by Sharon Stone in the movie Casino and that sometimes makes me wonder if she thinks I look like an old 80s coke head, but I choose to ignore that when I wear Jimmy.

Sometimes I do still feel a wee bit guilty when wearing fur.  Mainly because I’m pretty sure I almost hit Jimmy Stewart’s family the first time I wore him and that freaked me out.

The first night I wore Jimmy Stewart, it was ten below (in Minnesota, you can’t wear your fur unless it’s around zero – if it’s above 20, you’ll get looks – not kidding) so I needed him.  We were barely away from the house when the world’s biggest raccoon jumped in front of my car.  I slammed on my brakes and he stopped and looked me dead in the eye before running to the other side.  My heart was beating out of my chest and I screamed in my best Will Ferrell-elf-voice, “Did you SEE that?” and my husband and I yelled in unison, “THE COAT!”  Never before that and never since, has a raccoon run out on any member of my family.  I’m not saying that raccoon who did jump out was sent by some Tony Soprano Raccoon Mafia Rep, but it was awfully suspicious.

Jimmy Stewart can’t take care of you by himself though.  He needs his accessory friends.  In my case, on days like this, I crack out what I call my suit of armor:  the over-the-knee Hunter shearling boots.  Yup.  They’re practically as tall as me and I can’t cross my legs in them, but they do the trick.  Shearling from the tips of my toes to the mid-thigh.  If I could buy a full-bodysuit of shearling, I would.  The rest just needs to be whatever warm stuff you prefer, unless you’re spending lots of time outside, in which case you need to refer to a completely other blog, cuz I’m still a Californian, I have no desire to actually spend more than five minutes in this cold.  Really, what would be the point?

This pic doesn't do them justice but you do get to see the bottom of Jimmy Stewart!
This pic doesn’t do them justice but you do get to see the bottom of Jimmy Stewart!
My shearling suit of armor and my best vintage shopping friend who showed me the boots!
My shearling suit of armor and Berit and Marit, my best vintage shopping friend who found me the boots!

JImmy Stewart and his partner Hunter, saved my hide (pun intended) this morning, so much so that I actually got out of the car to get the mail.  Saying that as if it’s a bold statement probably proves to my California friends that I am certifiable.

But really, it’s a dry cold.

*** BREAKING NEWS:  School is canceled tomorrow too! ***

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