Uninhabitable

Tonight, we had our first snow.

Now, I’ve lived in snowy places. Ohio. That was snowy. Salt Lake City. Heck, they had their first snow weeks ago. Even in North Carolina we had an ice storm that knocked out the electricity for an entire week, and two years before that, we had the Snow of the Century, which dumped 24 inches of snow in less than 24 hours on a state that has one snow plow and uses sand instead of salt.

But I’m really nervous about the New England winter. For one, it’s colder here. And there’s more snowfall. And the roads are crazy in the best of conditions.

And everyone keeps telling me how awful the winters are here. In Salt Lake City, everyone around me couldn’t wait for it to snow so they could hit the slopes. Here, even the skiers and snowshoers go on and on about how long and cold and snowy the winter is.

Even children’s books aren’t pulling any punches about New England winters. I was brushing my teeth the other night while my husband read my daughter’s cod book to her.

Yes, my daughter has a book about cod. It’s called The Cod’s Tale and it’s by Mark Kurlansky. Both of my kids love this book.

Cover of "The Cod's Tale"

Cover of The Cod's Tale

So, I was brushing my teeth and listening to my husband read aloud the section entitled “Winter in Massachusetts.”

“During their first two years in America, many Pilgrims starved to death,” my husband read. “Winter in Massachusetts was snowy and so cold that some Europeans believed this new land was uninhabitable [emphasis mine].”

Tell you what: this did not ease my fears.

So, I’m bracing myself for a crazy winter. Cod got the Pilgrims through, but in the intervening 400 years, they’ve been so overfished in the North  Atlantic, I don’t think I can depend on cod to see us through winter in this uninhabitable land.

Maybe falafel. And central heating.

7 comments

  1. Cathy Trahan · October 31, 2011

    Oh, I think we do like to complain about the weather and make it out to be worse than it is. I do love the snow and both my husband and I looked at each other with glee when we heard the weather forecaster (Matt Noyes from NECN.com – LOVE him! I would be in his fan club is there was such a thing) say that the upcoming snow might have blizzard conditions. Yup, we do love our snow, but we are ready for it too. We bought a small generator this year and have been using it for a while. Maybe by Thursday the lights will be back on?! So give us a call when the weather has you down. Skiing does help and outdoor time is a must to combat the dark days of winter but once the winter solstice has happened spring does come! And those early spring flowers are soooo welcome.

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  2. timbra · October 28, 2011

    well, when you were surrounding yourself with people like me, you weren’t hearing excitement about hitting the slopes. . .i NEVER want to live in a place that is colder or has more snow than SLC. . . .my thoughts are with you 🙂

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    • CJ · October 28, 2011

      You’re right, Timbra. You were the one person in Utah who I could always count on to feel worse about winter than I did. We just learned today what a nor’easter is because I guess we’re supposed to get one tomorrow. It’s a snowstorm with a counterclockwise oscillation, high winds, heavy precipitation, and an eye. Like a hurricane. Are you kidding me? (“you” like the understood “you”, not you like you. You would never kid about something like that.)

      I knew I should have learned more about food storage while we lived in Utah.

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  3. Melanie Meadors · October 28, 2011

    THe only thing that really bothers me about winter is the lack of sunlight, I get depressed after a while. I will say that people drive like nincompoops (only replace that with another word), but what else is new? Rather than dry snow, like they get in Flagstaff, AZ, which just sort of blows off the street, our snow is all slushy on the road, because they treat it with salt rather than just putting cinders on the road to help with traction (No volcanoes here, so I guess it’s understandable). I found winter in AZ to be SO much more enjoyable, even in the deepest of snow. But NE winters are…well, survivable. I’ve been through over 30 of them. Each one is different. My arthritis liked the Flagstaff winters better, because it is much worse up here for it. Flag seemed to have more snow, but it’s just nastier up here. My biggest fear is ice storms, after that one a couple years ago. Spring always is very welcome.

    PS–I MUST get that book. It looks like my son’s cup of tea…

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    • CJ · October 28, 2011

      After so many years out West, the lack of sun is the biggest thing I’m nervous about. In Salt Lake City, the only thing I really didn’t like about winter were the inversions when the sky would be hazy and the air quality just awful for a week or longer at a time. Every time we’d get one, I’d get a migraine and/or feel like I was getting the flu. Then I’d look outside and realize it was just breathing pollution that was making me feel awful. The snow there was lovely, though. It was a treat, in a way, to shovel it because it was so light. I could toss a shovelful of snow over my shoulder like it was nothing; I felt like a superhero, except with snot dripping down my face from the cold. Except for inversions, it was quite sunny in Salt Lake City. This is the furthest north I’ve lived, and even beyond the more frequent overcast days, I can’t believe how late it gets light and how early it gets dark here already. And there’s still almost two months until the solstice. *sigh*

      I’m sure you can get the cod book lots of places, but we got ours in the gift shop of the maritime museum in Gloucester. We got there fifteen minutes before they closed, so it wasn’t worth it to pay admission to the exhibits, so we browsed the gift shop (which ended up costing us almost as much as admission to the museum would have). It’s amusing to see what my daughter picks out to compare to the size of cod at different stages of development. Apparently a cod that’s getting ready to die of old age is as big as my husband. I do love how the book links history and biology and geology and even the culinary (it includes recipes for various cod dishes through the ages).

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  4. Heather · October 28, 2011

    As a life long new englander I have to reply with “This isn’t snow. Wait ’til February!” Winters here really aren’t bad we just like to make it seem that way so we appear more hearty.

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    • CJ · October 28, 2011

      Well, that’s reassuring. I think. 🙂

      Thanks for visiting, Heather, and for your comment. I can use all of the help that I can get from native New Englanders. Kind of like the Pilgrims, now that I think of it. With a few minor differences.

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