Six LDS Writers and A Frog

Wednesday, January 06, 2010

Out in the Cold

by Stephanie Black

We weren’t planning to travel over Christmas break. Our plans were basically to hang out, eat a lot, and maybe hang out some more. Okay, our plans weren’t actually that well formed. Our only real plan was to go up to San Francisco; we wanted to go to the Academy of Sciences. It would have been a miracle if we had made it to the Academy, because, you see, we have a current membership. We buy a lot of memberships when we visit museums or aquariums, because by the time we pay to get our whole clan inside, we might as well pay a few extra bucks and buy the membership, and then we can come back for a whole year! For free! What a bargain! But sadly, our policy is to never actually get around to returning within the year of the membership. We must wait until it expires, thus ensuring that we wasted the extra money we spent. This is why Mensa has never come knocking on our door.

Our Christmas vacation plans changed when, two days before Christmas, my husband’s grandmother had passed away. I’m sure she was very happy about this—she was to the point that she couldn’t even get out of bed and didn’t know what was happening around her, so what a joy it must have been for her to be free of that ancient body and reunited with her husband. We decided to take the whole family to the funeral in Salt Lake. So on the day after Christmas, we loaded up the minivan with leftover chocolate and all the gloves I found in the coat closet that looked like they might still fit someone and set out to cross the Sierras. The weather was clear, which is a good thing. Snow in the mountains=bad travel. Just ask the Donner party.

It was interesting watching the temperature reading drop lower and lower and lower as we drove through the Nevada desert. It’s not that we’ve never experienced cold weather. I used to live in Salt Lake, we spent several years in New England, and my husband is from Rochester, NY, where spring comes sometime in August (I’m kidding—it really comes in May). But we’ve been in California for over five years now, which means anything below fifty degrees is cold, anything below forty is really cold, and anything below thirty is when you write to the Governator and demand a refund on your weather tax.

While we were in Provo/Salt Lake, the temperature was mainly in the twenties and colder. At first, my youngest daughter—who has never in her life experienced real cold—didn’t believe that she needed a coat over her short-sleeved Sunday dress. “I’ll wrap my blankie around me,” she said. When I warned her to be careful on the slippery church parking lot, I added that she had never experienced ice. She responded that she had too—she’d had it in her drinks. My nine-year-old liked stomping on the crusty snow—“used snow,” he called it. He would have liked a new snowfall.

On Sunday evening, we decided, in a spasm of brilliance, to go see the lights on Temple Square. Only two of the seven of us had gloves, the female members of the party were in skirts, and my sixteen-year-old had bare legs. Teenagers here don’t wear pantyhose, you see, and it didn’t even occur to me to get her some pantyhose for the trip. So there she was in twenty-two-degree weather with bare legs and slip-on shoes. Needless to say, we didn’t spend a lot of time meandering about, admiring the lights. But we did acclimatize very quickly, and soon became hardy winter folk, ready to handle the coldest Mother Nature had to offer. Ha ha! As if! Do we look like Bear “Man vs. Wild” Grylls to you? On the evening after the funeral, we headed south and spent the rest of the break in St. George where they have sweater-and-sweatshirt winters similar to those in our natural habitat. But wimpiness wasn't the real reason we headed for Utah's Dixie. We went to party with my family. Festivities included geocaching in the desert, Muppet Treasure Island, twenty-something homemade pizzas, and a little fudging on the time when the younger cousins rang in the New Year. 10:30 is close enough, right?

Happy 2010 to all our blog readers!


At 1/06/2010 3:56 PM, Blogger L.T. Elliot said...

Happy New Years! Glad you had a great party and I'm sorry for the loss of your husband's grandmother. (Although I'm with you about the rejoicing and reunion.)

At 1/07/2010 10:50 AM, Blogger Stephanie Black said...

Thanks, LT!

At 1/07/2010 8:10 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

We Mensans don't go door-to-door because we're so bad at meeting people. But I'm sure your family would liven up our social gatherings!

At 1/08/2010 4:46 PM, Blogger UTMomof4 said...

It is way cold here! I've lived in UT all my life, but I do hate the cold. Love the snow, hate the cold. However today I was reading that Bismark N.D. got down to 52 below zero due to wind chill! I feel very lucky to be here when I hear that kind of thing!
Sorry for your loss. Sounds like you had fun in St. George.


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