Monday, January 5, 2015

Wicked Cold - Weston, MA

Large barbecue or panoramic shot of Ribeirão Preto? Neither, it's Guaecá and the world's biggest fish on the grill. Called "filhote" or puppy.

So it's Monday and we've been back from Brazil since Saturday morning. I admit that I complained more than a couple of times about the heat in Ribeirão Preto, a city often referred to as the inferno of Brazil. Whooops, wrong translation: I hear it is the California of Brazil. 

Only if it is the Central Valley of Cali...the place is hot. The day before we left it was 100 F/39 C. Strangely, people there do not believe much in air-conditioning so you sit around like fried frogs all day, jumping relentlessly into whatever cool body of water you can find.

I am not a fan of hot. I have always said that I prefer the deep cold to the deep hot. You can always add more clothes but it's hard to take away more from naked. Not that I run around Ribeirão Preto naked, not because it would be illegal (though possibly it is) but because there are lots of whitey places on my body that I would like to never burn. Okay, about 100% of my body fries in about 13 seconds there. 

I admit I take away a great deal of Brazilian glee (they just love to ask about the cold and how much I am suffering) when I say that I am happier in the cold (oh, right, I have central heating) than in the hot. I have not missed one day of walking in the conservation land because it has been "too cold" yet I've missed many a day of exercise in Brazil because it is "too hot."  This answer makes Brazilians literally shiver--most Brazilians hate the cold. And profess to love heat more than cold, even though they bitch and complain every time it gets over 30 celsius ("Nossa, que calor!!!")

Prepare for screaming on Thursday. Also try not to laugh where it says "milder" on Sunday...31 degrees is "milder"? Uh oh.

So, here it is. I am on the verge of my first test of "loving cold". This Thursday morning is supposed to dawn colder than any other in FOUR YEARS. Just for me. Just to test me. This is truly a test if I am a Yankee, a New Englander, a stoic soul who will just claim "it's wicked cold today." Oh, all right, only people from Maine say "wicked [anything]"  but just for a moment I can be one, no? I've got my Bean labrador slippers on so that counts.

Let's face it: the New England winter is a test of Hercules. If you can make it through four months of frozen tundra (just watching my senior labrador bite the dust this morning on the black ice made me cringe), two months of seemingly two hours of daylight (oh, all right 9 hours, but the gloaming is loooooong), and windchill that would knock the nose off of Pinocchio, well, you've done it. You are a New Englander and you have won the right to a year's supply of Dunkin Donuts coffee. 

On the bright side, today was a sunny breezy day. Very sunny. Very breezy. Very cold. I still went for a walk with the dog. Speaking of Coal, he has decided to accelerate his hibernation schedule in the last 24 hours by eating one steak off the barbecue and stealing a half of the cheese round we brought back all the way from Brazil. He is following Weston's Fire Department's list of preparedness. Yes, they emailed me today to make sure that I, the Brazilian expat, was okay with winter. Oh, all right, the whole town got the email...

--Be a good neighbor. Check with elderly or relatives and friends who may need additional assistance to ensure their safety.
--Food provides the body with energy for producing its own heat ** (Editor: Coal's VERY hot)
--To keep pipes from freezing, wrap them in insulation or layers of newspapers, covering the newspapers with plastic to keep out moisture. Allow a trickle of warm water to run from a faucet that is farthest from your water meter or one that has frozen in the past.  This will keep the water moving so that it cannot freeze.  Learn how to shut off your water if a pipe bursts.
--Make sure your car is properly winterized.  Keep the gas tank at least half-full.  Carry a Winter Emergency Car Kit in the trunk including blankets, extra clothing, flashlight with spare batteries, a can and waterproof matches (to melt snow for drinking water), non-perishable foods, windshields scraper, shovel, sand, towrope and jumper cables.

BH's favorite part of the list is the whole sand in the trunk thing. Brazilians use sand for other stuff. Mostly for lying around on. 

So, folks, as they say in the military (at least in the movies):  I'm going in. Cover for me. Wait, no, give me that cover. Preferably the down one.

See you on the other side.


  1. Being prepared should be the No. 1 goal of anyone who has to live in these harsh conditions. People here complained so much about the "cold" It got down to 24 very early this morning. The place I used to live had nothing but ice on the streets, trees are down and many lost power. That is why I do not live there any more. Hope the winter does not linger long for y'all.

    1. Katie, you're definitely right about that and I didn't mean to make light of preparedness. That kind of cold seriously kills. I will be making an emergency kit for our car for sure.