Tuesday, September 29, 2009

Baby, It's COLD Outside

The past week has shown me that like Western New York, the Twin Cities region is capable of giving you samples of weather from all four seasons in a single seven day stretch. Last Thursday evening, I wore shorts and a t-shirt while I walked the dogs, and was sweaty enough when we got home, that I immediately took a shower, as opposed to getting sweat stains all over my fly suede couch.

Did I just use "fly" as a descriptive word?


Those of you who are regular readers know I don't often use slang when I write... especially ghetto slang that has been appropriated by suburban white kids, making it even LESS cool. Some pasty-white Scandinavian kid said "what up holms?" to me not too long after I moved to the TC... I didn't know whether I should correct his grammar, laugh in his face, punch him in the mouth, or just curl up into a little ball and start sobbing.

Instead, I ignored him and continued walking.

Back on topic...

When I woke up this morning, I realized that the tip of my nose was cold. I sat up, turned on the light, and realized that it was chilly in the room. I immediately turned on the television, and flipped to the Weather Channel. Of course, I had just missed the "Weather On The Eights", and true to form they were running a series of commercials without the little time and temperature doohickey in the bottom right corner of the screen.

I got up, pulled on my sporty "Life Is Good" lounge pants, stepped into a pair of sneakers and went out my kitchen door into the back hall to look at the thermometer mounted just outside the side door of the house that leads to the backyard and deck.

It read thirty-nine degrees.

It's only the end of September.

Back home, we normally don't see late night, or early morning temperatures like that until the end of October, and usually don't start seeing our first hard frosts until then, and get our first snow flurries during or after the first week of November. The photo above is Victor and Roxie in the backyard at the old house. I took it in mid-December, and the air temperature that day was minus 3. The old adage "it's too cold to snow" is just an old wives tale. Minnesota proves that, as I've seen it snow here when the air temperatures were in the minus 15 to minus twenty range.

One of the things that I find interesting wherever I've traveled, is that when people find out that I'm from Buffalo, New York the FIRST thing they say to me is either:

1. "Buffalo? Wow... you guys get a lot of snow there!"


2. "Buffalo? Wow... it's really cold there!"

I find myself constantly explaining to complete strangers that while Buffalo is snowy, it is most certainly NOT at the top of the list. The Buffalo Metropolitan area receives on average 93.6 inches of snow each year. This figure is easily eclipsed by number one on the list 115.6 inches, Syracuse, NY... which is more than two hours to the east. I often hear Minnesotans complain about shoveling snow. They honestly have NO IDEA. With the exception of the Duluth area, which sits on Lake Superior, and therefore receives Buffalo-like weather conditions in the winter, snowfall amounts in Minnesota are really nothing to complain about.

More about shoveling snow in a moment...

It quite simply astonishes me that a Minnesotan will look me straight in the face and comment on how cold Buffalo is. One on one conversations I have had with them about winter weather go something like this:

Random Minnesotan: "So you're from Buffalo? It's pretty cold there."

Me: "I take it you've never been there."

Random Minnesotan: "No, but I see it on the news all the time. I bet being here is a welcome relief from spending the winter there!"

Keep in mind that I'm standing in line in a supermarket or coffee shop when these conversations take place. What drives me up the wall is the fact that while said Random Minnesotan who has never been to Buffalo, New York is telling me how cold it is there, they seem to be oblivious to the fact that it's fifteen to twenty degrees below zero outside the building we're standing in. That's air temperature by the way, I'm not even factoring in the wind. When I try to explain to them that while we're suffering from Arctic-like weather conditions here, back in Buffalo it's 36 degrees and sunny, I get one of two responses:

1. Either they don't believe me, which leads to me pulling out my cell phone, and calling WIVB-TV's weatherline, and putting it on speaker.


2. They immediately bring up the snowfall amounts.

Back to my point about shoveling snow.

Because it gets so cold here, and only a very small percentage of the state of Minnesota is ever subject to the Lake Effect snow phenomenon, most of the snowfall here is of the light, powdery variety. You can't make a snowball worth a damn with it, but in many instances, you can clear your sidewalks and driveways with a leaf blower if you get out there before it has time to pack down. A twelve-inch snowfall in Minnesota can be easily cleared from your average driveway by one person, in just a few minutes. A twelve-inch Buffalo Lake Effect snowfall can be cleared from your average driveway by one person, but most of you know it's going to take the better part of an afternoon, and you're going to be whipped for the rest of the day. Anyone from back home has a horror story they vividly remember of having to move several tons of wet, heavy snow from their driveway just to get their car in or out... the kind of snow that renders a snowblower useless. One of the reasons there are so many old-timers still alive and kicking here is because they don't end up dropping dead clutching a snow shovel. As stubborn as these old Swedish and Norwegian men are, if they had to move Buffalo snow, they'd be dropping dead wholesale from Thanksgiving to Valentine's Day. I just shake my head when I hear someone here complaining about their 49.9 inches of fluffy, powdery "snow".

Tonight's low is supposed to get down to 34 degrees, from what I understand, those of you back in Buffalo are going to be experiencing similar temperatures... for Buffalo, that's unseasonably cold. For here it's just the norm.

It looks like I will be test-driving one of my ceramic heaters tonight... all utilities included in my rent means it will be a nice and toasty winter for me regardless of the outside temperature... Bring it on Jack Frost!

This year, you're my bitch.

NEXT: Minneapolis Parks Are Better Than Buffalo's

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