Of cold spells and 12-year-olds
We’re under a cold spell once again. We’ve had windchills of minus 30s and minus 40s for about a week now. And it looks like it will continue until middle of next week. I won’t bore you with any more numbers as some of you might not understand what I’m talking about anyway.
This is how cold it is:
Tuesday morning, I went to my patrol post, all bundled up – complete winter gear including a scarf covering half of my face. I didn’t see any other patrols at their post. (For those of you who are fairly new at this blog, I volunteer as a school patrol, crossing children before and after school.) Of course, only then did I remember that we are not required to patrol if windchill is minus 40. So after I crossed my eight-year-old son, Ryland, and his cousins, I decided to walk with them to school so they would walk faster. There are five of them walking together to school, from age 11 to age six. The youngest one seems to always lag behind and the others wait for him to catch up. Their supposed-to-be-ten-minute walk becomes a 15 minute walk. Since I walked fast, we all got to school in about eight minutes.
We had a minus 42 windchill that morning. As we walked, my nose started to run and I felt the wetness on my scarf. My eyelashes seemed to have gotten wet and then sticky. They felt heavy, like when I wake up at times with eye boogers. (You know what that feels like, don’t you?). I could see frost forming at the ends of my shoulder length hair. So do on my thick black gloves. I wore my leg warmers under my jeans and although my winter jacket goes down to my knees, my thighs started to get numb.
After I walked the kids to school, I went go to the nearby drugstore to buy the multi-vitamins that I wasn’t able to buy the previous weekend because they were out of stock at Superstore. It was 8:50 a.m. and Pharmasave doesn’t open until 9:00 a.m. I thought I’d wait for ten minutes instead of going back there later. I stood infront of the door for a couple of minutes and I started to shiver. I knew I had to move. So I paced back and forth infront of the other stores beside it. If you are outside in the cold waiting for a store to open, ten minutes seem like forever. Finally a lady who I think works there came and tapped the glass door loudly. An older lady inside went to open the door. I went inside and quickly grabbed and paid for my vitamins.
February is the coldest month here in Winnipeg. Minus 30 windchill is normal at this time of the year. But we don’t always get the minus 40s. You might think that it’s always like this. It’s not. And as I’ve mentioned before, the key to staying warm is by wearing layers of clothing.
Speaking of dressing properly, a Manitoban blogger mentioned me in his post and referred to me as a local Philippine woman who gets it. He means that I know how to beat the cold, by dressing properly. He said that people who have lived here for many generations have forgotten how to dress properly. He continued:
“The problem is that when we are little, our parents or caregivers always make sure we are bundled up. When we hit our teens, one of the ways we show our independence is by not dressing properly. That’s why you see all those frozen teenagers in front of the schools having a butt with no gloves or head protection. When we become adults (if?) most of us never relearn how to dress properly. Pity.”
Which brings me to my 12-year old son. When he started junior high this Fall, I told him that I think he should start taking daily showers in the morning. When my children were younger, I’d make them take a bath at night. (And then punas na lang sa umaga.) I explained to him that his body is starting to change now, he’s sweating more, and morning showers would make him feel fresh. When the weather started to get colder, I told him that maybe he should take a shower right after he gets up so that his hair will get dry before he leaves the house. Just like Daddy and Kuya do. “But that is not my way. I want to have breakfast first before I take a shower,” he’d say. Such irreverence, eh? “Ryan, why don’t you just listen to your mother?” I‘d say. He wouldn’t. And so now I blow-dry his hair before he gets out of the house.
Last week, I saw him through the living room window walking home without his jacket hood on, in frigid weather.
“Ryan, why didn’t you have your hood on?”
“But it’s sunny.”
“But it’s cold.”
“It’s not. It’s sunny.”
“Sunny doesn’t have anything to do with cold, Ryan.”
The other night, we were walking to his school. He had his first winter band concert. He plays the trombone, by the way.
“Why are you wearing your thin gloves? Where are your thick ones?”
“Oh, I forgot them in my locker.”
“And will you please put your hood on.”
“It’s not even cold.”
What did he mean by it wasn’t cold? It was minus 40 windchill. I was all bundled up and my nose was starting to run. And his ears were turning red.
What am I gonna do with this boy?