Dear Mother Nature: I Said I Like My Tropical DRINKS frozen, NOT my Tropics Frozen
Tuesday, January 12, 2010

Maybe you've heard?

Trouble, oh, we got trouble, right here in River City. Trouble with a capital T and that rhymes with P and that stands for pool—pools with ice in them, that is.

We are FREEZING down here in the Land of the Tropics. 

I am really getting pissed off at this weather. I mean, seriously.

My plants are dead. The oranges and strawberry crops are barely hanging in there. There is ICE, ICE on the cars and the roads. People are almost dying because they're bringing their grills inside to warm up the house. And when the paramedics revive them and ask, "What were you thinking, bringing a grill in your house?" They're all, "Dude, I live in Florida. How was I supposed to know I couldn't heat up the house with a grill? We don't use heaters in Florida. I don't even own shoes!"

My dog is looking at me like, "Seriously, you expect me go out in THAT to pee? I think I can master your toilet if you hold my tail."

I had to teach my college girl how to use her car defroster, because she's never had frosty windows. 

My Facebook is full of Floridians bemoaning our frozen fate.

And I know, I know, the rest of you think we have no right to complain. You're all laughing at us, at our 20-degree weather, thinking, "Tropical bastards, whining about a little pansy-ass chill in the air."

But, it's just not right. You see, it's all relative.

It's kind of like the Chicago Marathon of 2007. The race was shut down early. One runner died. Over 400 people needed medical attention. My sister used to live in an apartment where the marathon course ran directly in front of her door. She said the road was strewn with passed out runners and ambulances and they didn't have enough help for everyone. 

All because of an 88-degree heatwave. 

Down here, we find 88 degrees refreshing— a little chilly even. 

I'm really hoping the talk is true about Hell—that it's burning hot. I can handle the heat. Not that I'm worried about going to Hell or anything. Well . . .  unless, God has a real problem with my constant stream of profanity as I drive down the road, harshly judging bad drivers and the fact that I am a married woman who covets, and I mean, COVETS Gerard Butler and Johnny Depp and of course, Bono. Cause, if that's the case, I'm bringing my bathing suit and mini-fan to my death bed.

I'm in my bed with 7 blankets on top of me and one of them is a thermal sleeping bag. 

I can't get this cold out of my bones. It pains me. I stay in the shower entirely too long, in water so hot it's barely tolerable. I'm hoping to boil my frozen insides. 

I find undressing to be something avoided at all costs. My knuckles and lips are chapped! We don't have to worry about chapped body parts here in the Tropics! And my feet. Oh, my poor little frozen feet! 

Apparently, I sent up a maelstrom of hate on this post here. I had no idea there was a barefoot community that advocated bare feet at all times. until they came after me because I drew the line at going barefooted in public restrooms and restaurants. I guess going without your shoes can really give you anger issues.

Well, they're really gonna be mad at me now. 

I'm wearing 2 pairs of fuzzy socks and my Ugg boots everywhere I go. My hubby said to me the other night as we tried to burrow under our layers of blankets, "Is that your boots?"

And I was all, "I don't need frostbite. You do know they amputate your toes when your feet get frostbitten. I like my toes. My toes are like my best feature." 

Which is kind of a shame, to have toes as your best feature. I'd definitely trade-off, let's say ugly toes for Heidi Klum's legs or Angelina Jolie's mouth or Halle Berry's . . . anything. 

And I know I'm sounding like a big, wussy whiner, but the thing is we are ill-equipped for this. 

We, Floridians have thin blood and a very low tolerance to any temperature under 70. We're certainly not hardy in the ways of the Eskimos. But, before you scoff, let me say, I've seen many a Northerner sweating buckets, practically passing out from heatstroke when we, tropical folk are still in our light sweater and jeans weather apparel.

And we certainly don't have the shelter or equipment for frigid temperatures. 

My house has stone floors and sliding glass doors everywhere you freakin' look. It's a house built for sunshiny days and humidity. It doesn't matter how high we put the heat, I'm still seeing my frosty breath in the air. My house is as well insulated as a peasant's hovel in the Middle Ages. And in fact, their peat roofs and dirt floors and stick walls were probably a tad bit cozier than my cold-ass house. 

And then there's all the protective gear we don't have. We have no mittens or long underwear or ski hats or turtlenecks. Heck, some of us don't even own a pair of long pants. 

But, how many Northerners can say they have a collection of sunscreens in every SPF number, approximately 200 mismatched water wings, about the same amount of flip-flops, (also unmatched), countless boogie boards, goggles, bathing suits in every size and color and most importantly, the Hummer of all coolers, one with SUV-like wheels built to glide through the sand so that the beer and bottles of wine don't get too jostled on their way down to the beach?

I have found only one plus to the ridiculous amount of layering that is required. My Chicago sister turned me on to this one. You can go braless to the store in your big heavy coat and no one will know the difference. 

Because, in warm weather, truuuussst me, when I tell you I would not be able to attempt that without children screaming and hiding behind their mothers.

Here's a True Story about our lack of winter apparel. A few years ago, we decided to take the girls up for a snow vacation during their Christmas break. 

My sister-in-law, the Bad Ass, has a winter getaway in Vermont. We landed in Boston, where we were  staying for a few days. The snow flurries were gently swooshing down from the sky as we retrieved our luggage. My kids were enthralled! They've seen very little snow in their lives. At the airport, they ran through the automatic door scooping up snow off the ground that was littered with cigarette butts and dirt. 

By the time we made it to our hotel, the snow was no longer gentle, soft flakes. The wind was whipping itself into a frenzy and the sky was dumping out snow by the tons. 

We had to take a cab to dinner, 2 blocks away, the weather was so fierce. 

When we made it back to the hotel, the snowdrifts were piling up, the wind was howling and the few people on the street were scurrying to get where they needed to be. 

But, not my crew. 

We ran across the street to a courtyard, the powdery, heavy snow calling our girls' names. We rolled giant blobs of snow and built snowmen. We lobbed snowballs at each other. We made angels in the snow as the passersby scurrying past, shot us curious glances. 

It was wonderful fun.

For the next few days, we didn't let the snow stop us, trekking around Boston in the frigid weather. We walked the Freedom Trail, brushing off the snow to read the plaques. We waded through cemeteries in thigh-high drifts. We strolled around Boston taking in the historic sights. We popped into a beautiful, Italian bakery to warm up with the help of piping, hot cocoa and crunchy biscotti. 

On our last night there, my littlest said her feet were hurting. We took a look and discovered her boots were not waterproof. I'd bought furry boots, the warmest ones I could find. There were no snow boots to be found in Florida. Her feet were like ice. We soon discovered the other two's boots had soaked through, too.

Since we were headed back to the hotel for the night anyway, I decided to buy some cheapo snow boots in Vermont the next day, knowing we'd never use them, again. The next time we'd see snow, their feet would be twice as large.

That was a bad decision, along with the one to grab a quick lunch on the road on the way up to Stowe. 

We drove for hours, only seeing trees and hills and snow . . .  lots and lots of snow. 

We kept driving thinking there had to be a McDonald's just around the river bend. 

Around 5:00, we were ready to settle for a gas station with chili dogs and big gulps. 

We felt like pioneers on a desolated trail in the wilderness. 

About 6:00, the kids were looking for errant goldfish crackers between the seats. 

A little while later, a gas station appeared on the side of the highway. We rejoiced as we hurried into the station, ready to hit the dispenser with some jumbo cups. 

The only thing the old gas man could offer us was cigarettes and Wrigley's gum . . . only the spearmint flavor. 

When my Hubby asked him where the closest food of any sort was, the old man told us there was a pizza place about 13 miles up the road. We jumped in the car and sped there. 

It was a mom and pop pizza place with a few pinball machines and a Wack-a-Mole. Vermont's version of Chuck E Cheese and the thing was, it stood there, stuck in the middle of nowhere with absolutely nothing around it. One lone bit of commercialism plopped down in the stark wilderness. 

With food in our bellies, we were fortified enough to hunt down some made in China snow boots. I was not about to pay one trillion dollars for snow boots my children would never wear again. And so we drove and drove and drove through town after town, looking for . . . 

A Walmart. 

It wasn't until we stopped a woman in one of these desolate, Vermont towns empty of discount stores and fast food restaurants did I realize my humongous mistake. 

We asked her where the closest Walmart was and she looked at us and laughed and said, "You're obviously not from Vermont."

Apparently, Vermont has a problem with Walmart and obviously McDonald's. 

And I say to that: Vermont, Get Right With The World!!!

I understand hating the big box. I hate them, too. I understand hating Big Macs and chicken that tastes like breaded rubber bands, but come on! Sometimes life requires you to need a gallon of milk, a rotisserie chicken, some motor oil, a birthday present, Preparation H and a 6-pack of Fruit of the Loom's all at the same time. 

And sometimes life requires a Big Mac.

It's just the way it is. 

I ended up paying a trillion dollars for snow boots we used for one week because Walmart seems to be illegal in Vermont, along with cheery people, Big Macs and fun things to do. 


After a couple of days of sledding, a tad bit of skiing, (my sister's kids were far too young for skiing), my kids were all, "Ok, so what else can we do?"

Not that my kids need constant entertainment. They love long, nature walks, ambling through towns, and   just hanging out. But, it's hard to hang out when it's pitch black by 4:00 and your lips are frozen through your ski mask and all the Vermonters are cranky and Vermont doesn't have much to offer besides maple syrup.

And if you're from Vermont, I'm really, really sorry. But seriously, you guys could all use a pina colada and a few days at the beach and a trans fat burger from McDonald's. 

On Wikipedia, the source of all knowledge, it states that Vermont is one of the least populated states. I can see that. People are all, "They don't have a Walmart? Well, heck, I'm not living there!"

It also states that Vermont has a big problem with binge drinking. 

If I were Vermont, I'd be drunk, too. 

That's all I'm sayin'. Pray for us. Down here in the frozen tropics. Pray that our sunny days come back soon and we can get back to no coats, no shoes, and tank tops . . . of course, with our bras. Mine is pink, by the way. 

Today's Definite Download: The Boss's "Tenth Avenue Freeze-Out" Preferably the live version. 

There is nothing like that rousing song to get your blood pumping. It's Bruce at his concert best, which is pretty damn good. When he sings, "And the Big Man joined the band" and the crowd goes crazy, you just feel like you're right there, with Bruce and his hot, little ass. 

The only bad part is when that damn Patty Scalfia sings. Seriously. Did she make a pact with the devil or what? She can't sing. She is certainly not a looker. I think she pretends to play that guitar. Not only did she make it into the E Street Band, she stole Bruce away from his beautiful wife and got him to marry her and settle down and have a family, so he's stuck forever and ever. I just don't get it. Lucky bitch. 

"Well everybody better move over, that's all. Cause I'm running on the bad side and I got my back to the wall. Tenth Avenue Freeze-Out. Tenth-Avenue Freeze-Out."

Mother Nature, I'm about to kick your ass, like Bruce, if you don't warm things up around here pretty damn quick. I've got a bunch of aerosol hair sprays and I am NOT afraid to use them.


Anonymous said...

I grew up in Florida. I feel your pain. I'm sending warm thoughts your way!

ProudSister said...

Very funny. Now I have to run drop off the kids pre-shower. Yes, that means bad hair, cleverly diguised under a cute hat and probably no bra, under my big coat. See, frigid weather has its perks, embrace it. Oh and try not to screw up the strawberry crop. We REALLY like strawberries around here. Get them little sweaters or something.

Shelley said...

I feel you on this post, but kind of from the opposite end.
I grew up in Phoenix, and spent my entire life there, up until 6 months ago. Far from this making me a thin-blooded sun-worshiper...I HATE the heat. Maybe hate isn't a strong enough word. I LOATHE it. I lived for one of the 7 days out of the year in Phoenix when it was overcast, or we got some rain. It can be over 100 degrees from April to October. People who gave me that "it's a dry heat" bullcrap? I wanted to smack them and say "Yeah, your oven is a dry heat too...why don't you turn it to 110 then sit in it for a while. Also, in July, August and part of September, Phoenix has "monsoon season." Which usually brings humidity, thunder, lightning, dust storms, and if we were lucky, a bit of rain. I hate heat, I hate sun, and if I never saw the sun again, I would be happy.

Six months ago, we moved to Colorado. Right now we have highs in the 40s. We had a white Christmas. I miss my friends terribly, but I LOVE it here. I love the mountains, the greenery, the wildlife, the COLD and the SNOW. The only thing I don't care for is cold+wind. That kind of sucks. But it's surprising sunny here a good deal of the time (300 sunny days per year, as opposed to like 359 in Phoenix), but I've discovered that when it's 30 degrees out? The sun actually feels NICE. You know, not like it's baking your skin off.

Sorry for the rant...and I hope you Floridians warm up soon.

PS. I realize this is my opinion and my opinion only. I also realize that I might be off my rocker. It's in the 20s right now, and I'm going outside. lol

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