Saturday, February 02, 2019

How to Stay Warm in Florida




It's not that we've never experienced cold, it's just that, since moving to Florida we now shiver uncontrollably if the temps drop below 60 F. I should say that, since the OC is not bothered much by cold weather, 'we' means me and the mouse in my pocket.

I remember great flakes of snow wafting down in Montana, silencing birds, beasts and humans alike, joining sky and prairie under one enormous wooly blanket, every sound muffled but the quiet breath of the universe and the occasional snapping of a twig.

I remember how I met Twila, our elderly neighbor. I dinged her car while parking in the icy ruts and  shuffled, mortified, through the snow to her door to apologize, my pregnant belly leading the way. Twila had lived all her life on a Montana ranch and, widowed now, lived alone. We became fast friends and when the baby came, it was she who minded his big sister.

I remember bundling the children up in mittens, hats and snowsuits like miniature Michelin men and hiking into the woods to cut down our Christmas tree. How red their cheeks were and how much fun we had.

I remember how it snowed on Halloween in North Dakota and how the school bus stopped at each kid's house so they wouldn't get frostbite waiting outside in the Arctic air.

I remember how the OC darted out hatless, to shovel just one more small patch of driveway and almost froze his ears off.

I remember guzzling gluhwein at Weihnachtsmarkt in Stuttgart, generating heat from the inside against the numbing cold on the outside.

I remember lakes in Minnesota freezing over, fishing cabins popping up on the ice like mushrooms, and fishermen driving their trucks out to sit with a line dangling through a hole in the ice, and thinking what a wondrous thing it was to be so entertained.

I remember our springers dancing into the kitchen as the children spilled in from the school bus, backpacks unceremoniously dumped as dogs and children joyously reunited, Hershey and Blazer tap-dancing like Fred and Ginger as the snow and ice from their exuberant paws melted into puddles on the kitchen floor.

I remember oldest daughter making snow angels in Belgium when she came 'home' from college for Christmas.

And everywhere, shoveling snow and scraping ice off windshields as normal as sweeping the kitchen.


We've lived in cold country, even enjoyed it. But now we live here, and Florida thins the blood. We can spot visitors at forty paces....they'll be wearing tee shirts, shorts and sandals in our cold spells while we're muffled up in winter woolies. It makes us laugh and remember (me and that mouse.)

We all survived the North and lost no toes or noses to the cold. When the OC retired
 we sold our house, cheerfully donated snow shovels and ice scrapers, and came , with just one child still at home, to live in the sunshine, still sporting ten fingers and toes apiece.

But this year the North came to join us. A brief visit, surely, twenty four hours at most we thought,
then back to balmy, but we were wrong. The temperature kept dropping. We needed a survival plan.
Climbing to the highest closet shelves, we retrieved blankets, sweaters and warm winter coats. Things we had kept for rare return sorties to the frozen wastes, hardly used at all but kept as a hedge against climate chaos, which it appears, is upon us.



 I do not go to bed alone. Heat radiates from the OC, supplemented by hot water bottles, thick socks, heating pads, long johns and cuddly llamas on a long forgotten, recently resurrected woolen blanket the OC brought from Chile. But eventually morning comes, time to emerge from the cocoon to face another cold day and struggle into woolen leggings and more thick socks and whichever sweaters and scarves the moths have yet to eat, and head to the kitchen to bake bread and dip it in thick, warming soup and dream of fireplaces and blazing logs...……

~~~

And of course my tongue is deep in my cheek. It's actually a treat when we get a cold spell here in God's Waiting Room. It gives us a chance to dress in real clothes instead of skimping down to the bare minimum so's not to melt. It gives us a semblance of seasons and a rhythm we'll be dreaming of dancing to, come August.  

But after a few days we're over it. And this time, it's been more than a few days.

I could stamp my feet. I could jump up and down, but I'd probably injure myself. If I had a cat I'd follow him to the sunniest window and curl up beside him....

But wait! Here comes the OC announcing that it's seventy degrees outside and he's off to cut the grass! 

Oh well. In the immortal words of Emily Latella - "Never mind!"




Note: I know that the freezing temperatures in the northern and mid western states and parts of Europe are no laughing matter and the people there have my sincerest sympathy. I wish them warm fires, thick soups and an early Spring.






18 comments:

Elephant's Child said...

How I wish for cool days. Consistent cool days (and even better cool nights). I have taken off all I can in the interests of decency and I am still too hot. I do hope that those affected by the icy plummets can stay warm and safe. And long for an end to our sweaty season.

SmitoniusAndSonata said...

Soup and baked apples, fur lined gloves and an enormous wooly scarf here and it's not even below zero. I don't know how they're coping in Chicago.
Only another five months till June ...

Gillie said...

We are just warming up after quite a week. I went out on Wednesday......negative 14 or some ridiculous number.......it was miserable, couldn’t see a thing because my glasses were steamed up/iced over because my face was buried in a cowl! My forehead, the only exposed part, HURT for an hour after I came in.

Now we are dripping.......!

Wisewebwoman said...

I do love that blankie tho.

I've never had a desire to live in the semi-tropics, my Irish blood remains too thick for that but have dreamed of spending February in, say, New Mexico. That I could do.

XO
WWW

Molly Bon said...


EC - Relief is on it's way! Your Autumn is just around the corner...We'll be where you are now - melting - in August!


S & S - Speaking of apples, I actually made Dutch Baby for brunch today - warm and delicious, not to mention impressive looking in its first few minutes out of the oven.


Gillie - She lives! Good to see you here again, but no posts at your end? I hope your forehead feels better now! Glad to hear about the dripping.

WWW - It wasn't desire that brought us here but aging in-laws. They're gone now, but FL feels like home after almost twenty years here. It's nice to have stability and continuity for a change...

Sabine said...

So much of what you wrote about here reminds me of the winters of my childhood in Bavaria.

I didn't really understand how much I disliked winter until I moved away to go to uni.

And not until I stepped off that plane from Dublin/London into the humid heat of the tropics close to the equator did I know that yes, this is the climate that makes me feel alive and lithe and felxible and so on.

And I don't even like the look of snow from a distance. That monotone world of early darkness.

But I do remember my little daughter's excitement when after an unusually stormy monsoon deluge I wrapped her in a long forgotten sleeved garment. And that was before she remembered that in a previous life she did wear socks and boots.

gz said...

We are watching the weather at home, glad that we are in New Zealand!

dianne said...

the temperature here has reached 60 today, but it was down to eight this past week, with 12 inches of snow in our little valley - brrrrr - it's was so nice this morning to walk outside with a hoodie for extra warmth instead of my swish coat and mitts and two hoods ... still, 8 degrees is SO much better than minus any number ... anywho, i'll take a bit of cold (as long as we have power) over HOT any day cuz i am much better at adding layers than i am at subtracting them...

Secret Agent Woman said...

I was going to comment on the cold, but was brought up short by the Chilean blanket. We have very similar fabric, in yellow and brown, that features adorable guanacos.

Secret Agent Woman said...

(I should have said, from Argentina. Which makes sense that it would look similar to something from Chile.)

Pauline said...

Last week it was -17 at dawn, today it's 30! When the kiddos and I lived in northern VT, we woke one morning to find it 18 degrees in our homebuilt log cabin - and forty below outside! A few moments in that cold without coats brought us flying inside to the relative warmth of the cabin. I do remember we spent the following week in our snowsuits - inside! I tell myself often that things could be worse. It helps put things in perspective ;)

Colette said...

I really enjoyed that cold spell here in Central Florida. What a joy to wake up to a cold house and not have to jump out of bed.

Pam said...

Now here, it's nice and temperate. We had a couple of frosty days, one day of thin snow cover and now we're back to no-glove weather. Much like Ireland, I imagine. Just saying...

Welcome back!!!!!!!

Bijoux said...

Beautifully written! I've only ever lived in the snow belt. When we've traveled to warm weather places in winter, I almost cry when we get off the plane and feel the sun. Welcome relief.

Vagabonde said...

You have lived in many cold climates in several countries. My aunt who lived in Cairo, Egypt, came one spring to visit us in Paris and it was not cold but still it was spring. She was wrapped in coats and scarves and was always freezing. I have not been in cold weather either for very long after living in the Deep South for decades. When I arrived in the US back in the days I visited friends in Montana one winter. It dipped to -40 F! The inside of my nose froze while crossing a street! Thanks for coming to my blog while I was unable to visit blogs.

Molly Bon said...


Sabine - I hear you about heat and humidity. It took me a few years to acclimatize to FL but now, whenever I'm away, I love stepping off the plane into the warm hug of Florida's air.


gz - In my opinion it's never bad to miss bad weather. Hope you're having a great time down under!

Dianne - It's in the 80's here to do. Insane mood swings the weather is having but The OC loved it out on the golf course!

SAW - Coziest, warmest 'blanket' ever. It's actually a poncho!

Pauline - Things could be a lot worse. My heart goes out to the homeless in bad cold spells....

Colette - isn't it funny how our houses here soak up the cold so that it's often warmer outside than indoors?

Pam - well it must be very nice there judging by your pictures of your beautiful walks....

Bijoux - nice to see a new face here - Yes indeed, I am now a shameless fan of warmer climes! Toughing it out was a point of honor with some. They'd mutter things like "Twenty below keeps the riff-raff out!" Call me riff- raff then!

Vagabonde - Montana was not as cold as we'd been led to expect. The cold would come but it was soon followed by the warm Chinook winds!The coldest place we've lived was North Dakota. I can take cold weather, or could back then, but once it drops below zero I'm packing my bags!








Lee said...

And, here I am here...trying to get cool! :)

Molly Bon said...


Lee - I'll be where you are on the cool/hot continuum come mid summer!