On Sunday night Alix came home with the truck and informed me that the heater was no longer working. Monday was a cold, yet bearable, 6 a.m. drive to school and I ran back into the warm house as soon as I got home. Tuesday, the temperatures dropped to -27 with highs of -17 degrees; I called the auto shop to ask about getting the heater fixed. Now, last night at work, I got a call from my land lady telling me that the hot water tank was leaking and therefore we would be without hot water until this morning when the plumber comes to fix it. This all leads to here, right now.
Things started as a normal Wednesday morning. I set 4 alarms, missed all of them to wake up to the sound of Alix cautiously tapping on my door awaiting my morning wrath. We got into the frozen truck, tired to scrape frost off the inside of the windows, and then drove slowly to school. As Alix scampered into the warm university buildings, I woke up and drove home to figure out what I was going to do to make myself presentable while remaining unwashed: hair in a bun, make-up strategically applied to draw attention to my eyes, cheekbones, anything but my greasy scalp. I poured my to-go mug of jet black coffee that tasted weak but is always complained about being too strong, bundled up like a 5 -year old in the 90’s who’s mother dressed him for the first day of snow (you know, the ones with 3 snowsuits, 2 scarves, and a toque, even thought its barely -5), and I piled myself into the deep freezer, AKA S10 chevy. Once at the auto shop, I handed over my keys and waited with a stranger for a cab while he sat there wanting a cigarette but not badly enough to brave the cold. When the cab showed up we shared it because the Stranger was going my way anyway, and technically, he had called the cab and I was just to lazy to wait on hold for another one.
Now I’m here. I’m 2 hours early for work, I smell like Victoria’s Secret “Love Spell” in a teenage-boyish attempt to mask an unshowered body that’s since worked 3 serving shifts, and I am cold. So very cold.
Ask my roommate who hates being too warm and always turns down the heat, or my boyfriend who’s warm hand I steal whenever we step outside, or my dad who’s wool socks and long-sleeve shirts mysteriously disappeared from his closets into my laundry baskets every winter, and they will confirm that I really hate being cold. I prefer to be sweltering, cozy, bundled up, rosy-cheeked, almost-suffocatingly warm.
Today we have “lows of minus 29 degrees and highs of minus 21. But if you can hold out until tomorrow, we’ll see sunshine and highs of minus 17.”
One thing I really love about living on the prairies is that it can be a cold snap like this week and yet, when the sun -shines, it just feels a little warmer. Not because of the UV rays barely reaching us, but from everyone in giant Canadian Goose coats, wrapped with scarves and mittens, and smiling at each other as if to say “Hey, remember that time yesterday when it was cold and grey? Today is bright! There is hope! Spring shall come again.” If Calgary is Narnia, the next few months feel like Always-Winter-And-Never-Christmas, the foreign exchange students are the four siblings, and each smiling citizen is partly frozen statues and partly Aslan, bringing summer and green grass and hopefully, non-flooded rivers. I don’t know yet who becomes the beavers or the the witch. I haven’t developed my analogy that far yet. Regardless, I think by now you understand how cold it is here. And to think that this is still warm compared to earlier in the year!
Stay indoors, dear world. If you must venture out, try to be in Mexico, California, Spain, or any other beachy warm oceany place.
All my love,