Dressing for the (cold) occasion

This morning I watched my son, who thinks he has antifreeze flowing through his veins, wander out into a landscape that resembled the dark side of the moon.

He finally deigned to do me the favor of wearing his puffy jacket and mitts, at least until he boarded his yellow school-bound rocketship with the frosty windows.

We are in the midst of killer cold, but here in Minnesota, we keep going. My husband snow-blows the driveway, so we can get the car out of the garage, and the sidewalks, so he can trudge them to work. My son assists with the shovel.

Husband also climbs on the roof to shove off heavy mounds of snow … a substantial amount of it landing in the basement window wells. He climbs down off the roof to shovel out the window wells. Thankless jobs, really, but ones we hope will stave off potential disasters … a collapsed or damaged roof, a foiled emergency exit. Our house sits like a cake decoration in a pile of meringue.

I’ve been making soup and other random dishes out of our eaten-down stores, begging off any type of outdoor work or errand-running. Conveniently(?), I have a cold.

But after yesterday’s snow removal effort, I was unceremoniously put back on dog-walking duty. Someone had, understandably, had enough.

Last night, I bundled up and walked Leo, in his usual fur coat, nothing extra, around the neighborhood. He seemed relieved to get out. I was not. I came home feeling miserable.

This morning, it was time to do it again. For research purposes, I documented my bundling, determined to do it better.

Welcome to our back door. This is real life:

Yoga pants and long-sleeve T-shirt (Technically, the T should be synthetic for wicking moisture. This one’s a cotton/poly combo.)
Wool sweater
Army surplus wool pants purchased from Ragstock, 1989 — best winter investment ever! Wool socks. Husband calls me a “woolie.” I guess this is why.
Add boots — these Khombu boots from from Costco are surprisingly warm. Note patient dog.
Another Costco shoutout. I am not a big Costco fan, but dang, this balaclava is totally worth it for warmth, and I find it to be slightly winter-chic, yeah?
I think last night’s chill was due to lack of a scarf. The balaclava is slightly too short in the back for my neck, so I added the wool (of course) scarf.
Leo can see we’re getting close now. He’s limbering up with a nice down dog move. I love my down coat. Next time I buy one, it’ll be longer, but if I’m wearing my wool pants, it’s all good.
Some might call this overkill, but I added a Carhartt knit hat and pulled up my hood. After last night, I’m not messing around.
Now it’s Leo’s turn. Harness, leash and Musher’s Secret wax on the paws to repel those nasty ice balls he gets between his toes. Bonus: It’s also a good hand moisturizer!
Note that the balaclava can be pulled up, so only your eyes are exposed. Eyeballs can withstand an amazing level of cold (thankfully).
Now we’re ready to go!

How was the walk? Fantastic! We were out for about twenty minutes, mostly on shoveled sidewalks, but we also blazed through some snowdrifts — Leo’s favorite part.

In all honesty, I probably could have skipped the knit hat — I was almost too warm in the head region. The only part of me that got cold today was my left hand, which I had to take out of its mitt to bag the little bomb Leo left in a neighbor’s yard. I read that bare skin in weather like this can get frostbitten within 10 minutes. I’d say it could take a lot less. Brrr.

After a 20-minute walk, we’re both ready to go inside.
My mug says it all — “It’s good to be home,” in my house and in my frigid home state of Minnesota.
Did someone say “treat”?

Stay warm and well, everyone!

8 thoughts on “Dressing for the (cold) occasion

  1. Haha yes that is very true. Coldest I have experienced is -12 in germany and that hurt! So i have to take my hat of to you 👍😃

  2. I love Leo. He is a brave and patient pal. I don’t think you had too much on your head. I learned from climbing and hiking that you loose 90% of your body heat through your head so keep your head very warm and you did!
    Frostbite comes in less than 5 minutes. I have seen people with frostbite–very painful and ugly and it leaves scars. So an A+ for you and Leo.
    Hope the rest of the winter is good for you and for Leo. carolann curthoys

    1. Hi Carolann! Thanks for the encouragement — and you are right, Leo is a wonderful pal. 🙂

      A friend mentioned that she was taking notes on my post in preparation for a hoped-for trip to Antarctica. That made me wonder about the temperature in Antarctica … turns out when Leo and I went out earlier this morning, it was -25 here but only -9 in Antarctica. Makes me want to take a break from the cold by going to visit the penguins!

      Take good care, Carolann … I hope you’re finding time to write. ❤

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