Saturday, 2 February 2013


I am Canadian, and Canadians are down with cold weather. We have lots of cold snaps in Calgary and we handle them pretty well, but out here in Saskatchewan things are a bit different. When it got really cold and snowy in early November, I figured it was a cold snap, like always. When I realized that it was only very cold and snowy and not a snap at all, I snapped instead.

Snow, biting wind, snow, biting wind and not a chinook to be had anywhere! I miss all the chinooks.

"Gaaaahhhhh!" I groan to myself most days when I go outside. Only, I'm careful not to exhale too much or else I'll need a deep breath to compensate, which will in turn make my lungs freeze solid. It's annoying enough to have the inside of your nose freeze solid on your first inhalation, but if you freeze your lungs it's kind of a bad thing.

In an effort not to go completely insane with the extended frigidity, I decided to have some fun with it, instead. Other people around campus have been building giant snowmen and quincy structures to do homework in out their dorm room windows. I can't build a quincy out my window, since I'm on the second floor, but I wrangled a couple of Stephanies to go snowbank scaling with me.
It's not just the snow and wind you have to deal with, though. It's also the ice. Our little village is the Venice of Canada, except instead of getting in boats and paddling to school, you put on your skates and glide there. At the very least, you shuffle and slide in your boots. It's safer and faster than walking.

Joie and I skated ourselves down Main Street today while her fiance was kind enough to take pictures. We used the post office as our boot room.

"I've never done this before!" said Joie, who is in her eighth and last year here. "It's my finale!"
When we were done, her fiance picked us up fireman style (one at a time) so we wouldn't damage our blades and carried us back to our boots.

Joie is pretty used to this kind of weather, having lived here so long. She deals with the climate by making sure that the dorm room stays warm. Seriously warm. One night, I spent ten minutes shuffling around outside, in minus thirty, in the wind, and I got into the dorm building with my ears about to fall off and tears frozen to my face. No matter. No sooner did I set foot through the door than I began panting and trying to strip off all my outer layers. My ears weren't even thawed by the time I was sweating. I went to bed in a tank top and with the window open.

Eventually, I had the brains to check the thermostat. For a while, Joie and I took turns surreptitiously bumping up and down the temperature until one day I was greeted by a wall of heat even more forceful than usual. I sprang to the wall to find the thermostat set to the maximum setting of thirty degrees celsius.

It's a bit of a shock to the system to experience a fifty degree change of temperature in less than twenty seconds. I made a salad for lunch and my fork was literally warm to the touch from sitting in the drawer.

"Oops," Joie laughed when I asked her if we could compromise around twenty-two or twenty-three degrees. "I hadn't even looked at how high I set it." Apparently she had just woken up cold and bleary-eyed and batted at the gauge without paying attention.

Since then, we seem to have settled on a pleasant, summer-time climate for our room. I am content.

Also, I think it might be warming up outside. The forecast for this week has the coldest daytime temperature at negative fifteen degrees, including windchill. Maybe it's time for a picnic.
"We are going outside to play, and we will have fun, whether you like it or not!" My dad, to his kids, encouraging us to build a snowfort.

1 comment:

Art said...

You have some nice pictures. It does not seem that cold outside looking at the pictures. You look too happy to be cold.

All my bad sayings are coming back to haunt me now. Maybe you can use it on your kids some day.