In February of 2002, I set out on a journey to Nebraska — I would be competing in the Presidential Scholarship Competition at Dana College, the private liberal arts school I eventually chose to attend.
The Presidential Scholarship competition consisted of a panel interview and timed essay, the scores of which were then combined with your high school GPA and SAT/ACT scores. I also auditioned for music and theatre scholarships as part of the competition. I’m sure you won’t be surprised to learn that the majority of my preparation did not go into practicing for my interview or rehearsing my audition solo. Mostly, I was concerned with what on earth I was going to wear.
I was the proud owner of a periwinkle skirt suit I had worn in a high school pageant. It was my idea of classy and professional, without being dowdy, or worse, navy blue. It seemed the perfect choice for a seventeen-year-old who wanted to be taken seriously, without looking frumpy. My outfit selected, I carefully packed the remainder of my essentials for the four-day trip. I debated brining a warm coat, but eventually decided against it. Winter weather in Seattle rarely dips below freezing, and I didn’t want to cover up my beautiful interview outfit with a big, bulky coat. Besides, Nebraska was south of Washington state — it would probably be even warmer there!
Our flight touched down in the middle of a Omaha blizzard. The temperature was -12º with a windchill. I was completely unprepared. (I had also only packed high heels.)
This little anecdote feels like a perfect metaphor for the fear I’m experiencing now.
I’ve found myself in the middle of Minnesota–a state notorious for its harsh, unrelenting winters–and all I brought was an outdated periwinkle skirt suit.
My concern began last Friday night, when Scott and I returned from Mexico. After a week in the Caribbean, the outdoor temperature was such a shock, we literally sprinted to our vehicle while screaming like schoolgirls.
My concern grew a few days later, when I realized we had a special electrical outlet in our garage.
“What’s that?” I asked Scott casually.
“It’s to plug your car in.”
“Oh..really? That’s actually kind of cool that our apartments offer that! They’re seriously on top of this electric car thing.”
“No, Katrina. You plug your car in during the winter. So it doesn’t freeze.”
Am I the only one who has never heard of this? Because I spent seven years in Alaska, and no one there did crazy ‘ish like plugging a car into the wall.
I reached the pinnacle of panic earlier this week, when I received a surprise email from Scott.
Apparently, these heated electric mattress pads are not a luxury — they are a necessity. Not purchasing one could result in paying a $300/month heating bill, or freezing rock solid to your mattress in the middle of the night while you’re dog attempts to eat you like an ice cream sandwich. I’m not cool with either of these options, so it looks like I’ll be risking electrocution and ponying up $100 for one of these guys.
But do you want to know the worst part?
Not only am I gravely unprepared for winter–the drop in temperature is also causing me to pack on some unwanted pounds.
Let me explain.
Yesterday was cold. Really cold. (And it’s only early October!) In order to cope with the blustering air, I decided to bake something. The oven would provide some extra warmth, and perhaps the scent of pecan bars cooking in the oven would make the crappy weather feel less obnoxious and more nostalgic. Surprisingly, this method worked quite well.
A few hours later, I helped myself to one of the pecan bars. But here’s the thing — I wasn’t even able to enjoy it, because my nose is chapped from this stupid weather. So chapped, that the burning sensation at the base of my nostrils counteracted all of the flavor from my delicious pecan bars. Obviously, my solution was to liberally apply chapstick to my nose, and try another pecan bar.
Unfortunately, I selected a mint scented tube of Soft Lips. While my nose felt much better, the strong, minty aroma once again, took away from the pleasure of eating my freshly baked treat.
Clearly, this meant I had to wipe off the chapstick, reapply with a tube that was un-scented, and finally enjoy another pecan bar. Third time’s a charm, right?
I think you can see how this could get problematic.
On the bright side, an extra layer of fat might keep me warm during my first full-fledged winter in ‘Sota. Too bad this means I’ll probably end up replacing my size XS long underwear with a roomier pair.
And yes, I own a pair of long underwear. While they aren’t the most stylish things you’ll ever lay eyes on, they’re far more practical than a periwinkle skirt suit.
*Main photo courtesy of TimWilson