Friday, December 10, 2010

Walking in a Winter Wonderland

Ah, the wonderful sight of a snow-covered landscape. The cedars frosted with snow. Icicles hanging from the eaves. The snow-covered majestic mountains glowing with reflected sun. I promise you there is a lot of snow covering the landscape here. We live just "off the Bluff" but not quite up as high as Diamond Ridge. What that means is, "Holy Cow! We get a lot of snow!" I expected this. Really I did. I thought very carefully about what clothing I would bring with me.

The Wonder Dog and her coat
I relentlessly sorted, donated and gave away my endless choices of apparel. How best to layer? Will I ever wear this coral -colored jacket again? (No, it is pretty but come on, I was moving to a place where mascara is an oddity.) Should I bring my toe socks? (Yes, and one of the best choices I made!) With each choice I was thinking "Will this end up as footage on 'What Not to Wear'?"  I was down to a lean, mean 9 or 10 suitcases (and that included a little of my yarn stash, most of my knitting needles and The Wonder Dog's darling houndstooth coat.)

I thought I had done the same thing with my shoes. (For those of you who are my friends on Facebook you heard me whine endlessly about it.) I whittled my 80+ (that is all I am admitting to) pairs of high-heels down to 3, okay 4  (well maybe 8 but don't tell Danger SAM I still have that many.)  I of course brought my fugly shoes (you shoe aficionados out there know EXACTLY what those are.) A family-friendly definition would be "comfortable shoes." Sooo, my Danskos, my Birkenstock clogs (I also brought my super cute high-heeled Cole Hahn clogs, but if you are able to hang in there with me, you will see that was a very, very, very bad idea) my UGGs, my Merrill hiking shoes. I was set! Bring it on Homer!

It turns out that most of the stuff  I brought is inappropriate for winter here in Homer (and maybe even summer ... but only time will tell. Check back in July and I will let you know.)  I would like to clarify that when I say most of the stuff I brought, I mean EVERYTHING (Well, except the toe socks.)  It is hard for me to admit that my "planning" turned out to be so poor. For the sake of the many, I am about to share some "stories" (I like to think of them as fables with a nice moral at the end so others can learn. I mean it takes a village right?) of what may or may not have happened due to my stupidity.  Warning: I come off badly in all of these"fables." If you have any sense of kindness you will leave this page now. For those of you who want to laugh at my misfortune (No names mentioned, Leslie A.) please continue reading.

Lesson 1: Snow doesn't remain pristine
Okay that seems obvious right? I lived through the snow in Kansas City. I know that it melts and becomes slush. I know that snow plows put down sand, too. But this is Alaska and we have Alaska-sized mounds of  slushy, dirty snow berms that immediately become quickcrete when exposed to any source of indoor heat. Hmm, wonder what color my beautiful, shearling-lined, suede winter jacket with the bone buttons is? Why, it is winter white! On the first wearing of the above mentioned dry-clean only coat I brushed up against my car while putting groceries away. Now my little car used to be a lovely shade of orange called Sunset but at the time of "The Coat  Incident" was a not so attractive Snowplow sand brown. Please take a moment and refer to the sentence regarding quickcrete above. (Oh, we don't have a dry cleaner here in Homer. The closest one is 75 miles away. They do not have a pick-up/drop-off service.) Just so you know my favorite perfect-for -layering hoodie was white until an unfortunate fire-building "incident" (soot doesn't come out so well) and the biggest ball of yarn I have is ivory. Oh yeah, my winter parka? White.
Moral of the story: Do Not Wear White After Labor Day. I would like at this time to acknowledge that Danger S.A.M. should be nominated for some kind of  Best Boyfriend Ever award for his conduct immediately following "The Coat Incident." He not only did not laugh at me when I started bawling hysterically but helped me into the car and later unbeknownst to me cleaned my coat. It is currently hanging at the back of the closet in its plastic bag shroud.

Lesson 2: Ice is Slippery
Not super cute clogs but cute as possible snow boots
Again, this should not be a lesson that I had to learn. Kansas City gets way more ice than snow right? (or is that an Urban Legend?) Anyway, I have fearlessly and fallessly walked around on the ice for years while wearing my stilettos (my logic being they acted as ice picks and would keep me falling. And IF I did fall, I would look super cute doing it.)  Case Study One:  The Wonder Dog needs to go out. She can't go out by herself because she is: a) untrustworthy-she loves to root around in the dirt under the snow where the pig lived.  b) would make a tasty little snack for varmints that love to eat small dogs. c) her fur is white and she might get lost in winter wonderland.
I slip on those darling Cole Hahn clogs and trot on out with Maddy so she can do her dog duty. Next thing I know I am sprawled on the ground, one clog on, one clog off, while my faithful dog companion is off eating dirt. Danger Sam to the rescue--he thought I was gone entirely too long for dog duty. So the high heels as ice pick theory (not to mention the looking cute part) are completely out the window. In the meantime I have discovered that while my UGGS (brown thanks to the foresight of my super smart mom) make great HOUSE shoes, but crappy outside shoes. They are NOT waterproof (a key element in winter wear) and have no traction (not admitting to any falls here but trust me on this one.)
None of my other very carefully selected KC shoes would do either! YEAH! Shoe shopping!!!! Granted, it was for practical winter boots but quite frankly my derrière was getting sore. Danger S.A.M. knows all the best shoe stores, in this case The Gear Shop. I felt great with my new, as cute as possible, waterproof, warm to -40 boots. Although the weather outside was frightful, inside my new boots my toes felt delightful! Until Case Study 2: The Wonder dog has to go outside. Now being sorer and wiser, I slip on my snow boots...boom! Sprawled on my backside on the freezing cold ice that was cleverly disguising itself as snow while my trusty dog companion is off eating dirt. Luckily I  kept both my shoes on this time but it did take S.A.M. much longer to come help me up. As fate would have it, I had taken my dog-walking flashlight with me and was able to "flash" an S.O.S. to Danger before I became a permanent feature of the driveway.(Are you aware of how cold it gets when you lay on ice?).
Moral of the Story: Waterproof and made for snow do not always make you safe. Turns out you have to buy an "add on" if you will called "Polar Cleats" (Their Logo says "Embrace the Elements." Really.) that slip on the bottom of your boots to keep you from falling. Great, yet another thing to make me a candidate for What Not to Wear...


  1. Tee Hee!! I don't laugh at your misfortune, I laugh w/your misfortune!!!

  2. But thanks for the shout out from Alaska!!!!