For twenty-six years I lived in the Siberian United States.
My mother sent me an email Monday, simply titled “Today in Iowa.”
There were no words, just an image. This:
Nine hundred miles south, the air conditioner has been working for weeks, taking only the last two days off. The heater? Not required.
Twenty-six years of experience in the cold, melted away by Texas.
I discovered this when CG and I went on a rare, much needed date.
Following a deliciously and partially comped meal – thanks to my Cook Can Never Get My Steak Right the First Time Curse/Blessing – we headed off for an activity not participated in during our married life:
I thought I was prepared. It was hot, so I packed jeans into a backpack to change into from my fancier skirt.
I packed two pairs of hockey skates, left over from my college years (and my brother’s high school ones).
I packed long warm socks.
I had my sweatshirt laying right next to the bag on the couch…..
Where I forgot it.
We walked into the frigid arena from the humid 80 degree evening as this epiphany slammed into me:
“Ice rinks are a lot colder than I remember.”
What my southern adapted brain failed to take into account, was my previous ice skating experiences were almost always in winter. Iowa winter. In weather so cold the ice rink warmed you like a roaring campfire.
My thin, short sleeved shirt was no match for the chilly rink, and the cold seeped into me.
I changed into the jeans and warm socks in record time.
Lacing up the skates took ten minutes – the supreme effort of tightening the laces on the worn boots warming me up briefly.
Finally, CG and I hit the ice, causing a second epiphany:
“I really should have packed some gloves.”
In Iowa, you always have a pair with you already – not so in Texas.
At first I wobbled, over nine years since I’d last laced these skates. Gradually, my ice skating stride returned, and I glided across the ice.
I skated backwards when the path cleared of potential hazards (note: a lot of people there did not know how to skate).
I reacquainted myself with “the hockey stop”, narrowly avoiding falling multiple times.
CG employed the “spin and turn” stop method, until the end of the night when I tried to teach him the proper stop.
Failing that, I flagged down an obvious expert*.
“Can you explain how to hockey stop to my husband?”
The guy humored us and CG actually improved dramatically in the last ten minutes – minus one nasty fall that tried to take out his elbow.
After two and a half hours over the ice, my hands and arms tingled with numbness.
I didn’t think I’d ever be warm again.
Then I walked outside into the still-warm-70-degree-air-at-10 PM-at-the-end-of-March: thankful I no longer lived in Siberia.
We both had a great time, even with the chill.
Next time, I’m bringing my entire arsenal of winter gear.
Have you had an obvious “epiphany” lately?