Thursday, February 10, 2011

Southern Girl In A Parka

Nearly three years ago Hubs' job brought me to New Mexico.  It's the place with little rain, lots of sunshine, and warm days. I thought I was living in the Land of Enchantment.  Turns out I'm in Palin's Alaska.

Yesterday's wind chills were below freezing and we have another layer of snow, now melting.  In the past week I have prepped the pantry for power outages (lots of peanut butter and bread,) watched the roads shimmer with black ice, and purchased a snow shovel.

It's not that I am afraid to shovel or even that I don't want to do the work.  The truth is that if the need arises for me to use a snow shovel, it means it is COLD.  I don't like cold.

We Southern girls (at least some of us) don't shy away from hard work.  We may appear to be dainty and delicate.  The truth is we are tough, independent and not afraid to to get dirty.  And no, unlike all those swooning characters in the movies, we don't faint.  Well, except for that one sweet aunt in every Southerner's family who more than likely suffers from a girdle that's too tight.

So when the time came to clear the driveway, I layered up in my thermals, sweatshirt, boots and parka.  If you had told me when I was a child in Southwest Georgia that I would one day own a parka, I would have crinkled up my face at you in confusion.  I always thought only skiers wore parkas.  Skiers are athletic and, goodness knows, I'm not athletic.

I shoveled.  I cracked and removed ice.  Daughter looked on from the warmth inside as she prepared to go to school.  With all the snow and ice gone, we managed to make it to car line without skidding and slipping down the drive and looking like folks who "aren't from around here."

The next time the driveway needed shoveling, Daughter donned her own parka.  She shoveled, scraped and scooped until the driveway was safe again. Just like a good Southern girl, tough and independent.

And, yes, she volunteered.

Like her Southern mama, she came inside for a cup of hot chocolate, topped with Redi Whip and sprinkles.

Hey, we're tough, but we're not stupid.

"We are, like our beloved garden greens, sturdy, strong, and best when tested by the elements and fully seasoned.  I never bought the notion of the "steel magnolia" because it's a short-lived, silly blossom that can't make it through a simple Women's Missionary Union meeting without shedding its powdery guts onto the mahogany sideboard."
Celia Rivenbark-  We're Just Like You, Only Prettier

Wednesday, February 02, 2011

This is not the kind of blizzard where you get Oreos and Reese's Cups.

Right now it is a balmy -26 degrees wind chill here in Smalltown.  Fun times.

We've had several days of snow and strong winds.  The snow isn't deep but the temps are freezing.  If there was any doubt before, it is now completely clear to me that this Southern girl has Southern blood running through her veins. Arctic weather is not for me. Give me a 100 degree day with 95% humidity, some Skin So Soft for the gnats, and I'm good. (As long as I have some A/C and a big glass of sweet tea, or course.)

I haven't been out of the house since Tuesday.  OK, twice I stepped on the porch to look down the street at a neighborhood power outage. We had power throughout the night, but one section of our neighborhood was in the cold darkness for several hours.

But, other than stepping two feet onto the crunchy snow in my parka and snow boots, I've stayed inside.

I plan to do the same today because (1) The roads are looking less than reliable with the possibility of ice and (2) It's cold, people!

Just to emphasize how wimpy I am, let me tell you about Daughter's horseback riding instructor.  This lady has been outside in the weather chopping ice from water tanks, replenishing fresh hay, and checking on all of her horses.  As she put it, by the time she was bundled up, fifteen minutes had passed, she still hadn't left the house, and she looked like the Michelin man.  Or Michelin woman, as it were.

She is tough as nails.  A true pioneer woman.  She braved the weather in layers upon layers of fluffy down and fleece, battled icy shovels, and diligently worked with gloves which froze to the horses' gate latches. At the end of her rounds, she reported that all horses were fine, braving the elements as they were designed to, with tails to the wind. 

Which is exactly how I would be posed. Only I think I will keep mine inside.