Minnesota Part 4: The winters here are REALLY Cold and REALLY LONG…and did I mention cold and LOOOONNNGGG?

Trouble Spot #3: The winters here are REALLY COLD and REALLY LONG…and did I mention COLD and LOOOOOOONNNNGGG?

You had to know it was coming.  What’s a discussion about Minnesota without a discussion about the weather?  My other two posts about the culture and social climate here in Minnesota could be considered more subjective. People could say that it is particular to my experience, my suburb, my personality.  But when we talk about the winter, there is just no relative notion to it.  The facts of the matter, without injecting my opinion, are that the winters here are REALLY cold.  Now, when I say cold, I am not just talking about normal cold, like it gets into the teens and there is something to talk about cold.  Oh no.  I am talking about bone-chilling, booger-freezing, feels-like-your-exposed-flesh-is-being-stabbed-with-knives kind of cold.  And the winters are LOOOOOONG.  There is no equally dividing twelve months into four seasons here in Minnesota.  I don’t care about the solstices and equinoxes.  Those DO NOT APPLY here. Winter lasts at least November to April, sometimes October to May, and anyone who tells you differently is delusional and is trying to convince themselves, as well as you, of a LIE.

At first, when we decided we were making the move to MN, we’d joke about the weather.   “Oh, it’s gonna be cold,” we’d say and follow it with lighthearted giggling.  WE HAD NO IDEA.   I often ask myself why under the sun did I not ask someone about the weather before we moved here?  Why didn’t I talk with some of the locals we met on our house-hunting trip and ask them to tell me about it?  Well, it’s better I didn’t. Because there is a bit of propaganda that Minnesotans spew in an effort to convince themselves and you that the winter here is really not that bad.  They’ll tell you, “But it only gets THAT cold for two weeks in January.”   Really, that’s great.  So, only for two weeks in January I risk freezing my exposed flesh in 10 to twelve minutes?  It’s only for two weeks that I have to worry about properly dressing for a walk to the mailbox because if I go and slip and can’t get back into my house I could DIE?  Oh, that’s not so bad.

Or, they will say, “But we have such great summers.”  Sure you do, if summer ever arrives. In the years that it gets here, it arrives in July and leaves Sept 1 like clockwork.  I have had at least one summer of the 3 that I have spent here where every time we planned to go to the lake, it was too cold.  My daughter Piper turned 4 that year and if you look at the pictures of us from that day we are wearing SWEATERS in JULY.  And really, summer should last at least from June til September, yet another denial of the equinoxes and solstices.

And my favorite winter lie- “Winter isn’t that bad if you embrace it and do winter stuff.”  Here’s the truth folks:  Winter is STILL THAT BAD.  Just because I get out and ice skate or sled doesn’t make the winter any less bad.  It doesn’t make it warmer or less snowy.  It may improve my experience of it for a brief and fleeting moment, but the fact is that winter will still be brutally cold and horrendously long and any amount of cross country skiing or snow shoeing won’t change that.  The ONLY reason I ice skate or sled is because I can’t do the things I’d rather be doing if it weren’t winter!

Now, I know there are people who love winter.  They wait the long months of spring and “summer” for that first snowfall in October.  And for them, this IS THE PLACE.  They have arrived.  But this was our epiphany experience after traveling to Texas in December.  WE HATE WINTER.  HAAAAAAATTTTTTTEEEEEEEEEE winter.  Why on earth do we live in Minnesota?  As we made the long drive back, we felt the ceiling closing in on us.  Traveling north and seeing the snow pack gradually appear, we felt our freedom being slowly robbed from us.  Freedom from coats and boots and gloves.  Freedom from daily snow shovelling of the sidewalk and the driveway and the ROOF.  The freedom to just go outside without any preparation or special gear and sit on the deck and grill without freezing.  The freedom to garden and run on GRASS, to play ladderball and baseball, and to go on family bike rides.  And yes, while much of the country has experienced a bit more winter in the last month than they are used to, we have been dealing with it since November.  And while our friends in other states will for years talk about that really snowy winter they had in 2010-2011, for us here in Minnesota, this is just how it is.  There is no hope that next year won’t be as bad.  THIS IS WINTER in Minnesota.  GOOD GRIEF-why didn’t I GOOGLE IT?????????????

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10 thoughts on “Minnesota Part 4: The winters here are REALLY Cold and REALLY LONG…and did I mention cold and LOOOONNNGGG?”

  1. Somewhere, in an alternate universe…

    Trouble Spot #3: The summers here are REALLY HOT and REALLY LONG…and did I mention HOT and LOOOOOOONNNNGGG?

    You had to know it was coming.  What’s a discussion about Texas without a discussion about the weather.  My other two posts about the culture and social climate here in Texas could be considered more subjective. People could say that it is particular to my experience, my suburb, my personality.  But when we talk about the summer, there is just no relative notion to it.  The facts of the matter, without injecting my opinion, are that the summers here are REALLY hot.  Now, when I say hot, I am not just talking about normal hot, like it hits 100 and there is something to talk about hot.  Oh no.  I am talking about face-melting, sweat-drenching, feels-like-you-constantly-have-a-low-grade-fever kind of hot.  And the summers are LOOOOOONG.  There is no equally dividing twelve months into four seasons here in Texas.  I don’t care about the solstices and equinoxes.  Those DO NOT APPLY here. Summer lasts at least April to October, sometimes March to November, and anyone who tells you differently is delusional and is trying to convince themselves, as well as you, of a LIE. 

    At first, when we decided we were making the move to TX, we’d joke about the weather.   “Oh, it’s gonna be sweltering,” we’d say and follow it with lighthearted giggling.  WE HAD NO IDEA.   I often ask myself why under the sun did I not ask someone about the weather before we moved here?  Why didn’t I talk with some of the locals we met on our house-hunting trip and ask them to tell me about it?  Well, it’s better I didn’t. Because there is a bit of propaganda that Texans spew in an effort to convince themselves and you that the summer here is really not that bad.  They’ll tell you, “But it only gets THAT hot for two weeks in August.”   Really, that’s great.  So, only for two weeks in August I risk third-degree burns on my exposed flesh in 10 to twelve minutes?  It’s only for two weeks that I have to worry about properly dressing for a walk to the mailbox because if I go and slip and can’t get back into my house I might COOK on the SIDEWALK?  Oh, that’s not so bad. 

    Or, they will say, “But we have such comfortable winters.”  Sure you do, if winter ever arrives. In the years that it gets here, it arrives in January and leaves February 1 like clockwork.  I have had at least one winter of the 3 that I have spent here where every time we planned to go skating, it was too warm.  My daughter Piper turned 4 that year and if you look at the pictures of us from that day we are wearing SHORTS in JANUARY.  And really, winter should last at least from December til March, yet another denial of the equinoxes and solstices. 

    And my favorite summer lie- “Summer isn’t that bad if you embrace it and do summer stuff.”  Here’s the truth folks:  Summer is STILL THAT BAD.  Just because I get out to the lake or beach doesn’t make the summer any less bad.  It doesn’t make it cooler or less swamplike.  It may improve my experience of it for a brief and fleeting moment, but the fact is that summer will still be brutally hot and horrendously long and any amount of jet skiing or lake-dipping won’t change that.  The ONLY reason I go to the lake or beach is because I can’t do the things I’d rather be doing if it weren’t summer!

    Now, I know there are people who love summer.  They wait the long months of fall and “winter” for that first sweltering day in March.  And for them, this IS THE PLACE.  They have arrived.  But this was our epiphany experience after traveling to Minnesota in December.  WE HATE SUMMER.  HAAAAAAATTTTTTTEEEEEEEEEE summer.  Why on earth do we live in Texas?  As we made the long drive back, we felt the ceiling closing in on us.  Traveling south and seeing the snow pack gradually fade into endlessly drab shades of brown, we felt our freedom being slowly robbed from us.  Freedom from air-conditioning, sunscreen and sweat.  Freedom from constantly needing a shower and insects the size of RATS.  The freedom to just go outside without any preparation or special gear and sit on the deck and grill without wondering if YOU are going to cook before your FOOD DOES.  The freedom to garden and run on GRASS, to play ladderball and baseball, and to go on family bike rides.  And yes, while much of the country has experienced a bit more of summer in the last month than they are used to, we have been dealing with it since March.  And while our friends in other states will for years talk about that really steamy summer they had in 2011, for us here in Texas, this is just how it is.  There is no hope that next year won’t be as bad.  THIS IS SUMMER in Texas.  GOOD GRIEF-why didn’t I GOOGLE IT?????????????

  2. Um, that is REALLLLLLYYYY funny! Can you tell, my friends, that Ian is one of those winter lovers I have mentioned. He HAS arrived. Thanks for the laugh!

  3. Oh dear – Ian’s post made me laugh, too. Ugh. It seems I am going from one sweltering place to an other. That was clever, Ian 😛

    And I am sure it must not be that funny to you – but the comment about going to the mail box made me laugh so hard. I just pictured someone bundled like Donald Duck who’d fallen over and just murmurs ‘aw, crap’.

    In my hometown of Charleston, South Carolina, it is just the opposite for us. We have maybe a few weeks of ‘true winter’ and those are scattered in days over the months of November through February. Every few days though, you could find us in shorts, t-shirts, and our year round staple, flip flops.

    The summers are relentless, though. Sweltering heat and humidity that makes you feel soaked through once you leave the house makes people run for their pools, lakes, and the beaches that line the coast. Even so, once evening comes and the sun begins to set, the temperatures are usually near perfect. If you can bear or somehow hold off the gnats that come out at that time, you can get some of the most perfect weather. Of course, fall and spring are beautiful. Spring is a little more true to its name and bring quick showers and warm days complete with cool breezes. Fall makes everything turn to beautiful reds and oranges, and the temperatures stay at a nice cool level, though you will still find some left over days of summer every now and then. There is not much of an equal division of seasons, though. It is summer. And then little bits of the rest.

    It can be different from place to place. Port cities get ‘saltier’ air and places with a lot of water can get more humidity. Dry heat can be just as bad. But it sounds like you would be better off nearer south. There are preparations to be had here as well, including sun screen and during some months making sure you have an umbrella. But they don’t seem to hold a candle to things you must do in Minnesota.

    I hope you guys find a great place, whether it is Texas or not!

    1. We wonder if the south east is more humid than Texas. We may have to do some summer travel to figure that one out!

      1. I would suggest a visit. August is actually worse than July. So that’s when I would visit. If you go to an area close to water (Charleston, Savannah) it is bound to be more humid. Places inland are better. So I would probably visit a few different places, even if it’s driving through. And like you said, research : P

        Everywhere has its pros and cons. But I would say that in the southeast, the pros outweigh the cons. : )

  4. Great post and love the comment …. I can complain about the heat just as well as I can complain about this frigid cold.
    I definitely would have been one of those people that told you .. it the horrible weather is only a few days in January … but, I would have been honest in the fact that winter lasts for half the year.
    You have heard that we only have two seasons when it comes to road conditions, right? (winter and road construction)
    Thanks for your comment at my site … however, I have to disagree .. we are not completely crazy ;0)

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