Wednesday, December 22, 2010

5 lessons and marshmallows

howdy there.
 this week, i'd like to share with you 5 things that i've learned since moving to minneapolis.  these lessons took me a long time to learn, so i thought i'd save you some time and pass them on.  you're welcome.

1.  fresh snow makes an ABSOLUTELY ATROCIOUS noise when you drive over it.
last year, when i'd first moved here, the inevitable first snowstorm hit.  luckily, i'd heeded all sources of advice, and had an action plan in place for leaving work.  my car had remote-start, so i was able to start the car from the office window.  then i took 37 minutes to put on 11 layers of insulated clothing, changed out of my high heels and pulled on my not-kidding-around-this-is-for-serious snow boots.  i strutted out of the office feeling extremely proud of myself.  so what if i looked like a walking burrito wrapped in a sleeping bag?  i was impervious to the falling death they call snow, and my car was warmed up and ready by the time i waddled out to it and flopped in.  i wallowed around in my victory for a second, then started to drive across the parking lot.  as soon as my car began to move, i heard an awful groaning noise, not unlike the noise a dying rhino caught in the glove box would make.  i panicked instantly.  i called a friend.

me: dude.
friend: what happened.  are you in a ditch somewhere?
me: i think there's something broken with my car.  it's making a noise that is not natural in any way.
friend: oh yeah. (laughing) that always happens when you drive over freshly fallen snow.  totally normal.
me: and i obviously have COMPLETELY DIFFERENT ideas of what the word "normal" means.

2.  you may lose the trunk option on your car for weeks at a time.*
one thing i learned the hard way: don't keep your ice scraper in the trunk of the car.  do you know why?  because a rogue sleet + snowstorm value combo will come and puke up a delightful "wintry mix" on your car one night and encase it in an invincible shell of thick evil ice.  your doors have handles that you can use to wrestle your car open again, but your trunk will be sealed shut until may.

*sidenote: i will give you this, minnesota.  car icing does happen occasionally in other states, too.  for example, last year, a freak ice storm ripped through the southeast united states, coating arkansas in several inches of ice.  the bf and his roommate (now my current roommate) eagerly attacked my car to de-ice it, and a mere six minutes later, my car had been completely emancipated from its ice cocoon.  the fact that they also shattered my windshield in the process is another story.

3.  you will not "get used to it."
this also relates to the statement: "after awhile, it doesn't matter how cold it gets.  it all just feels the same anyway."
erroneous.  erroneous on both counts.  my body is continuously finding new and innovative ways to communicate just how cold it is.  as the temperatures drop, the signs become more dramatic.  at 0 degrees, my face falls off.  at -10 degrees, every single cell in my body screams bloody murder when i step outside.  by the time it gets to -30 degrees out, all of my internal organs threaten ritual suicide unless i get back inside RIGHT THIS SECOND.

4.  snow brings out the crazy driver in a lot of people.
to be fair, snow and ice add a fun twist to what would normally be boring, monotonous driving.  but i feel like some people take it to the next level.  a few days ago, a guy driving a minivan cut me off while turning left from the right turn lane.  then, after he made it through the intersection, he proceeded to throw it in reverse and drive back into the cross street.  i guess he was pissed he missed me the first time.  maybe it's just me, but that seemed overly aggressive.
also, my drive home this week took me 2 hours.  it normally takes me 20 minutes.  i hit a top speed of 7 mph, and was faint with hunger by the time i barged through my front door.  as i hurtled down the road, i passed seven cars mired in the of which was a snowplow. 

5.  electronics have feelings.
once, i left my phone in the car while i was at work.  at the time, it was -4 outside.  during lunch, i went out to retrieve it, and it wouldn't talk to me for six hours.  it was pissed.
i've also been cautioned to let my computer warm up before i turn it on when i bring it in from outside.  why? i ask.  what happens?
i dunno, is the answer.  i think it explodes.

so yes, snow makes noises similar to a mortally wounded irate african creature.  yes, snow is always trying to kill me.  but i have come to realize that what everyone says is actually true.  minneapolis after a snowfall is really beautiful.  jaw-droppingly, breath-takingly gorgeous.  in fact, if snowfall was a girl, she would never need any money, or arms.  everyone she met would buy her anything she needed, and boys would open every door she encountered.  after a snowfall, the pavement is covered in layers of glitter dust, and cars sit lined up on the side of the street like rows of freshly frosted petit fours.  (the fact that they are trapped there and have been abandoned by their owners is irrelevant to this point.)  every sharp edge in the world is wrapped up in puffy white sparkles.  The snowfall has a way of muting most sounds while amplifying others, and it feels like even time places its feet carefully in the ice.

when i first moved here, i had no idea what i was doing.  i thought zippers on jackets were purely decorative.  being in temperatures colder than 50 degrees sent my body into total system shutdown.  the thought of driving on anything other than flat, dry pavement was completely and utterly terrifying.  but since i've lived here, i've discovered the wonders of snowveralls, and these things called "mittens."  now, when i careen across 4 lane intersections because i have no traction, i careen with confidence.  i've learned how to strategically blow through stop signs, instead of screeching blindly past them.  i have become slightly more capable because i've lived here, and that makes me happy.

this weekend a friend and i found these ENORMOUS marshmallows that i'd been hearing about.  we had long suspected that they were mere urban legends, but we found them!

they are like four times the size of regular large mashmallows!

see??  aren't they awesome??

so then we decided to try to make fun shapes out of them using mini cookie cutters.  we coated the cookie cutters with powdered sugar and then smashed them into the marshmallows. 

it didn't work out quite as well as we imagined in our heads, but kind of:


alright, i'm spending a few days in wisconsin with the bf and the puppy, and then i'm off to taiwan!  YAY!
merry christmas, everyone!


SpiritPhoenix said...

Oh my God! I laughed so hard reading this! I'm in Southern Michigan, and while we get snow and such, luckily it doesn't usually get below -5.

SAR-rah-rah-ah-ah-ah-roma-rome-ma-ma-gaga-oo-la-la said...

A Minnesota song with a swanky southern beat.

And I'll be driving in the crunchy snow tomorrow but I just turn the radio up louder!

van said...

i hope you played chubby bunny.

i completely agree with what you learned, especially the gross snow sound. glad you get to get out of there! merry christmas and have so much fun in taiwan!!

Ann said...

Safe travels and Merry Christmas - you sure get around!

BellsInSpires said...

@spiritphoenix: hahah i'm glad you enjoyed...southern michigan is still super cold!
@sarah: LOVE the song...BE CAREFUL DRIVING LADY!
@van: chubby bunny would have been epic.
@ann: thanks, and same to you and your family! and hahah yes, you are correct - i do indeed get around ;)

Jean at The Delightful Repast said...

Hi! Hearing about your snow experiences made me cold! About the marshmallows--in your comment on my latest blog post, you thanked me for telling you about these jumbo marshmallows. But, actually, I told you about PlushPuffs ( Yes, they're larger than average, but they're very special in many ways. (And, no, I am not connected to the company in anyway--I'm just very particular about my marshmallows!) They come in all sorts of flavors. Give them a try, and you'll never go back to regular store-bought marshmallows!

Pam who married a Midwesterner said...

Alena, You are very funny. Thanks for the clever blog.

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