When we first moved to this house/city, we had one week of blistering sun and heat. Then it rained for seven straight weeks. It was kind of awful. I didn’t have a car, we didn’t know anyone, and we didn’t live close enough to anywhere to walk. Busses were available, but in the steady, driving rain the walks to and from bus stops seemed less than appealing.
Last week it started raining. It rained every single day, aside from the day we got in the car and it refused to start. That day we did use our feet, romping along the high street, playing in the library, and soaking up vitamin D. It’s been raining every day since then.
Rain in the winter seems particularly glum to me. I’m from a part of America that gets days off school and work because it gets too cold. Yeah. Sure, they get their snow days (having one right now, if my gleeful Facebook feed can be trusted), but sometimes the air is so cold that warnings are issued not to go out with any bare skin for more than a minute or two, and not to let livestock out.
That is winter to me. I don’t remember ever being too cold. Or this rain – rain, rain, wet wet endless rain. We had SNOW, bitches. Feet of snow. I learned to drive when there would be two tire tracks cut into the snow, and you’d had to go slowly and use your car as a snowplow to push the build up of snow from between the tracks aside.
The kids obviously have grown up here. They’ve been in Michigan once for winter, but at a resounding four months old, it’s safe to say they have no memories of that sort of weather. Yet they keep asking me if it is really winter without snow. How Christmas could have existed without snow. These are kids who are happy to believe Santa can enter our house through a fake fire – they create all these worlds, yet they are still somehow hardwired to wonder where the snow is.
We tend to get one or two days of snow a year. It hangs around for up to a week (in other parts of the UK, they get more snow, but still not comparable to Michigan!), and we typically have a day or so to pull sleds through four inches of snow. To freeze our feet off, to have hot chocolate, to make clumsy snowmen with plastic yogurt pot hats.
I wish we had snow today. It makes staying in more cozy, more acceptable, more inevitable. Because I tell you, folks, the nineteen year old me who lived outdoors with no electricity in a tent/wooden room with screens for windows, the one who could live and play with forty kids outside all day long no matter the weather, she is gone. She has been replaced by a woman who packs crazy amounts of outer gear for a simple outing.
Heavy raincoats, lightweight raincoats. Winter coats, fleeces, boots, shoes, hats, scarves, and on and on and on. Because I don’t know what the weather is going to do. Even though it is ALWAYS OKAY no matter what I do or do not pack (except that time I may have convinced someone to pee a la fresco, promised them I’d not let it get everywhere, and it ended up soaking their clothes), I still cram everything we could need into the car….if I manage to talk myself into going outside in inclement weather in the first place.
Rain in the summer is one thing. It’s warm and seasonally appropriate.
Rain in the winter, when your fingers are already tingling and halfway to falling off (yes, it is radically warmer here than Michigan – a day in the lower 40s F feels freezing to me, whereas at my mom’s house it’s been -20F without windchill this week), and then getting soggy? SO miserable.
And the thing about cities is carparks. Carparks and rain, or nowhere to park and rain, it’s gross. All of it is gross. I need to find some places outside of the city to go explore in this weather. We like quirky museums – seriously spent a good chunk of time at a horse and carriage exhibition museum at our last place, not to mention thrice weekly trips to a Royal Air Force museum. Tell me where you people go!
And don’t say the woods.
I love the woods, and when I see my friends’ pictures on facebook of their kids dressed in full body rain gear, riding horses or building dens or whatever the hell adventures they get up to, I sigh. We are in pajamas and I keep casting glances at the windows. I have slippers on, the kids are making magnets, asking to bake cake, playing some elaborate game in their pop up castle.
While I don’t want to go outside in bad weather (lest you think I exaggerate, our city has been flooding for the past few days!), I get so tired of being inside. Luckily, the kids like being at home and have endless ideas of stuff to do. If only they can put up with the edging-towards-middle-aged woman in the corner, looking up winter raincoats on ebay while wrapped in a fleecy blanket.