On Friday, just after lunch, Christopher and I picked the girls up from school early and we all hit the road to drive 300 miles north to my hometown for a previously rescheduled trip to see the grandparents. Because when the weather is forecast to be 20 degrees below zero, you really want to be five hours NORTH of where you currently are. Where the weather is FORTY degrees below zero.
In reality, those were the WINDCHILLS. The temperature was a balmy 10 degrees or so below zero here, where we currently live, and some 20 degrees below zero up north. But, as every Minnesotan knows, it's the windchill that matters. Especially when the wind is gusting to 50 mph. As it was up north on Saturday.
Good Lord Almighty.
However, you have to understand: when you grow up in a northern plains town such as the one in which I grew up, and your entire childhood is dotted with winter days of 40 below zero windchills, and/or if you are one of the people who still live up there, you just go about your normal business in weather like that. I mean, you don't send the children out to make snowmen, but you still drive around town, run errands, do the shopping, go to movies, get gas, and all the rest. Even on Saturday, when the wind was blowing streams of snow from the fields cross-wise across the roads, creating finger drifts (if you don't know what those are, Google it; also, don't ever drive right through them if you can help it. which a lot of times you can't), the whole town was busy with people running around doing all their normal Saturday things. We took the girls out to a huge sporting goods store across the river, where there is a giant Ferris wheel IN the building (yes), and then over to Barnes & Noble to use some gift cards they'd received for Christmas, and the traffic was ridiculous. It was like the whole town was out shopping. In 50 mph winds, with a 40-below-zero windchill.
It was so cold that, because we forgot to plug our SUV in overnight on Sunday and were parking it in my parents' driveway, on Monday morning when we packed up to leave, we discovered that the car wouldn't start. Not only would it not start, the battery was completely dead. As in, we needed a new one. Which we discovered after an hour or so of trying to give it a jump, which wouldn't take.
Yes, my husband and dad stood outside in 40-below windchills (or so) fiddling under the hood of their cars for an hour (or so), trying to get ours to start.
After which my husband had to go to WalMart and buy a new battery. And take out the old one. And install the new one. And then let the car warm up for 15 or 20 minutes. After which we finally started home, 3-1/2 hours later than planned.
On the up side, at least the girls and I got to watch the Inauguration on TV while we waited!
On the long, looooong drive home, we did what any normal native-Minnesotan (well, 3/4 of us at least) family would do in such a situation: we stopped for ice cream at the McDonald's in Sauk Centre.
Mmm-hmmm. That's how we roll up here.