Friday, November 14, 2014

Casa del Pineapple, here I come

I am a weather wimp.
The colder it is, the more I whine. I do not like being cold and with winter ramping up for another charge, I predict a season of complaining coming on.
The first snowfall of the year is cool (no pun intended.) And even the second one can be kind of nice, but after that it is just a white blanket of annoyance.
Aside from the challenges of driving in it and walking through it, snow must be shoveled – in the cold.
The coldest I have ever been in my life was when I was in the militia. We were Saturday soldiers – or Weekend Warriors as we called ourselves in keeping with the bravado of youth – and once in a while there would be a multi-day training exercise.
Typically, we trained three Saturdays a month (hence the name), but each winter the powers that be would come up with a cold-weather training exercise where we would charge through the frozen tundra playing army.
I had only been in the unit four days when it was time for the annual winter lesson in military confusion. It was three days in the middle of a January cold snap, running around the woods with little idea of what was going on and even less of an idea of what I should be doing.
Myself and another new guy ended up on sentry duty. Because it was minus a million degrees, guards were supposed to be rotated every 30 minutes. The sergeant in charge of us decided his beauty sleep was more important than keeping an eye on the new guys so while he napped in his nice warm sleeping bag, we spent more than two hours laying in the snow with the wind howling up our backsides.
Eventually, we went back to the main camp to see what was going on and were relieved of our posts.
It was at that moment, at the tender age of 18, I truly hated being cold. I don't really remember thinking about it before then, but following that night, I developed a strong dislike for the lower ranges of the thermometer.
When I was 16, I can remember running out to my car in -10C in jeans and a T-shirt under the logic of 'the car will warm up and I won't need a jacket.'
Today, when it is cold, I give some serious thought to selling everything I own, moving the family to the tropics and growing pineapples for a living.
And I don't even like pineapples.
I would initially miss the change of seasons, but would soon get over it as I am basking in the sun in the middle of January enjoying my pineapple empire.
But, as always, I throw on a winter coat, gloves, hat, boots and whatever else I can find to keep warm, run out to the car muttering something about Casa del Pineapple and start my car so it can warm up while I scrape the windshield with my debit card because I can't find the stupid ice scraper – which is probably in my son's car.
Then I sit in the car – still muttering under my breath – while that very breath leaves a thin layer of ice on the inside of the windshield, so now I have to scrape that off. Of course, you can't actually drive  until the car warms up enough to melt the windshield ice. But we all know the car warms up faster when being driven, so as soon as that little spot at the bottom of the windshield clears up enough to see through, we scrunch down and begin our journey.
All the while we hope a member of the law enforcement community does not see our foolish winter folly and that nothing unexpected pops up in the 92 per cent of the windshield we can't see out of.
Eventually, the car warms, the window thaws and we arrive at work – only to repeat the process eight hours later, and then again in the morning, and then again after work, and then again...
Did I mention I do not like cold weather?

Copyright 2014 Darren Handschuh

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