First Snow in Buffalo

First Snow

There’s always something magical about the first snow of the season — something that makes me nostalgic for winters passed. Something that makes me long for pink cheeks and sledding and hot chocolate with little marshmallows.

Something that makes it okay to go outside on the front porch in the middle of the night with my husband in fuzzy pink snowflake and blue polar bear pajama pants (mine, his, respectively) to take pictures.

The snow crept up on me this year. I’d been expecting it since September — this is Buffalo, after all, home of the Lake Effect and the Blizzard of ’77. But the weather has been relatively calm since our early October arrival. Balmy, even. Last week we were still in the 70s, sunny, happy, nary a cloud in sight. So I found myself both surprised and delighted when Alex (yes, Alex of the polar bear pants) interrupted my evening procrastination to tell me about the first snow. And it’s a good one, too — perfect crystal snowflakes floating and twirling to the ground like a thousand tiny ballerinas.

Frozen ballerinas with chapped lips and runny noses whose mothers should have made them wear pants under their pink tutus like mine would have done, but ballerinas nevertheless.

Winter is coming — my first in Buffalo in 11 years. And I can’t wait!

Top 10 Things I’m Most Excited About for Winter in Buffalo, 2008 Version

  1. The annual driving ban when we can enjoy the neighborhood on foot (snowshoes optional) as all traffic is suspended due to 4 feet of snow with nowhere to go.
  2. Aforementioned hot chocolate, now with ginger, spicy hot pepper, and other secret ingredients for an added kick. Bailey’s may or may not be one of the secret ingredients, but since it’s a secret, I can’t tell you! Shhh! *hiccup*
  3. Our first ever family Thanksgiving hosted in our home. By us. With family members attending. Extra Bailey’s — check.
  4. Annual Thanksgiving weekend Lord of the Rings trilogy extended version movie marathon, in which Alex (yes, Alex of the polar bear pants) and I watch all three films back to back, eating nachos and drinking wine the entire twelve or so hours.
  5. Watching kids in the neighborhood fall down in their puffy, immovable snowsuits, which I’m pretty sure Buffalo invented. The snowsuits, not the falling down. Speaking of falling down, bartender, more Bailey’s?
  6. Silk Soy Holiday Nog.
  7. Christmas carolers — a singer I am not, but I do hope we get some. Do people still carol? If not, could someone please come to our house, ring the doorbell, and sing?
  8. Starbucks Caramel Apple Cider. In New York State, they use real apple cider and not just apple juice that they heat up and call cider.
  9. Saving a snowball or two in the freezer and not looking at it again until summer, and of course —
  10. Christmas music! I loves my Christmas music! It drives Alex (yes, Alex of the polar bear pants) crazy, but not me. I love it. You haven’t lived until you’ve heard Etta James do Silent Night.

What are you guys looking forward to this winter?

Old Man Done With It

Colorado has had the kind of winter that out-of-towners (wrongly) associate with us, and we residents (she says indignantly, as though she’s lived here more than 4 years) let them keep on thinking it, even though our weather is actually rather Californiaesque. Not this season, though. The snow from the Woo-Hoo Holiday blizzard still lingers in dingy gray mounds on the frozen tundra otherwise knows as everywhere. Still, I had high hopes for an early spring this week when we got into the 50s, basking all-smiles under that bright yellow California-dreamin’ sunshine!

But noooOOOOOoOOO!

I left work at 4:30 today. My commute is 8 miles. 30 minutes if traffic is “bad” on the way home. Ask me what time I got home tonight. Go ahead, ask.

*Folds arms.*
*Waits patiently, yet irritably, anxious to give you the answer in exchange for some undeserved sympathy.*

What’s that? You want to know what time I got home? Oh! 6:35 pm.
That’s 2 hours and 5 minutes.
Also known as 125 minutes.
Also known as 7500 seconds (yes, I did that in my head and yes, I AM smarter than a 5th grader).
Also known as ohmygod I’ve never had to pee so bad in my life.


Now that I’m home basking in the warmth of my apartment with the thermostat cranked to a balmy 82 degrees, I can laugh about this evening’s commute. In that spirit, I dedicate this post to my cousin Ben (who goes to school in the middle of NY state where it’s much colder than California, Colorado, or Fargo, my cousin Kate (aka BFFFF, who also lives somewhere in central NY where it’s so cold she can’t take her twin babies outside, and recently reminded me just how resourceful our mothers were, and by resourceful I mean ghetto…), and, the never-ending winter of 2007.

Bims’ Top 10 When Yo’ Po’ In The Snow Family Traditions*

  1. Cold feet? Not for long. Line your boots with a couple of Wonder bread bags (tip: remove bread first). Sure, your feet sweat like the swamp thing and after about 5 minutes smell like an old brewery, but ain’t no water gettin’ in those boots.
  2. Did you know that if you have a wood-burning stove in your downstairs living room, there’s no need to use the actual gas furnace ever! Why, that little cast-iron box and three pieces of semi-wet wood generates enough heat for at least 8 square feet. The night before school, simply drape your clothing on chairs and move them as close to the stove as possible. In the morning, run downstairs and put on your clothes, hot as fresh coals from the fire. Yeah, you’ll suffer a little 3rd degree burning on one side of your body and feel nothing on the other, but it’s worth it for those 5 extra minutes of heat.
  3. Got siblings? Perfect. Nothing warms the cockles of the heart like pummeling a little brother or 2 into the cold cold ground and leaving him for dead until way after dark when the dog has to go sniffing around for ’em.
  4. No one likes snow sneaking in her jacket sleeves. Frozen wrists be gone with this neat trick: cut 5 finger holes in the toe part of old knee socks (no need to match as long as you have 2). Put them on each hand like a pair of gloves and pull them up to your elbows.
  5. Dogs. Not just for petting, anymore. If you’re small enough, you can tie just about anything to the dog and he’ll pull you around the snow on it.
  6. Think hot showers are an instant warm-me-up? Think again! Hot showers are winter’s evil temptress. As soon as you turn that water off, and that cold bathroom air hits your skin, fughettaboutit. You might as well be naked in Siberia. Plus, you’ve just washed off that layer of grime – the only thing protecting you from the harsh elements. Best to skip a week and opt for perfume, the shower alternative.
  7. Don’t you hate when your brother tries to shove snow into your jacket from the top? Now you don’t have to care! Just take an old turtleneck, preferably one with little whales or teddy bears on it, cut off the arms, and slit the sides. Now you have this little bib-like thing with a neck warmer. Stylish and smart – who knew?!
  8. Moon boots are the bomb. When you finally find the right pair, even if they’re 4 sizes too big, snap those babies right up. You can where them for 8 years, including on dress-up day at school when you forget your dress shoes and end up in a frilly pink princess gown with giant red and yellow moon boots.
  9. When you really have to pee, it’s best to wait until the last possible second before bursting into the house and trying to get out of all the aforementioned accoutrements and head-to-toe snowsuit. Extra points for yanking the snowsuit halfway down but leaving on the wet moon boots to tromp through the house on your way to the bathroom.
  10. Who needs a real sled when you have a broke down ol’ laundry basket and a belt you stole off a dead guy? Yes, that’s the Bims, circa 1977, with mom. Click on the photo at left for the close up and witness a bit of history, as this is the exact moment in time when the phrase WTF?!?! was invented. By me. I think the jelly of my eyes was frozen. Two little white ice orbs rolling around my head as I’m pulled through 4 feet of snow in a plastic laundry basket. W.T.F.?

Hey, we made our own fun back then. And being dragged around in a basket without having to pull over on some treacherous highway to pee was way better than my drive home tonight.

Enjoy the rest of the season. As they say in upstate New York… stay warm out there!

*True, each and every one!