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Wednesday, February 23, 2011

Northern Exposure

When Floridians go north
I’ve been back and forth between Florida (home) and up north (the location formerly know as home) multiple times since the onset of cold weather.

My daughter seems to think that she might be capable of going to college in a state where it can snow in three seasons. Eighteen-year-olds are so funny sometimes.

Seven schools to visit, some multiple times, and only one in a climate equal to or hotter than where we live. This required me to dig into the bin of sweaters and coats, which I packed away three years ago. When we moved to Florida, I really never thought I’d see that stuff again. Ever. So I delved into it and it was like a reunion on Christmas morning.

I had forgotten about the red and white striped cotton knit, the blue V-neck, and the gray cashmere sweaters I bought in Lexington. Also had forgotten that the nubby brown sweater with the zipper can drive you to afternoon binge-drinking with its tiny scratchy threads at the neck. I had some fun wearing some of my old favorite sweaters, especially the ones I bought in Ireland five years ago.

Ireland has a way of making you feel like the whole world is cold and there’s a fireplace and a hot toddy in your near future. So you buy big woolly sweaters, hats, coats, scarves. Nobody goes to Ireland and buys a souvenir tank top. We were there in the summer and I bought sweaters and a wool cape. Not long after, I moved to Florida and all signs of my Ireland trip went into a bin on the top shelf of my closet.

So, I brought them out of retirement and traveled to North Carolina in a winter cold spell, Indiana right after an ice storm, and Cleveland during an ice-snow-rain-apalooza. In a few weeks, I’ll go to New York, just in time for one of their infamous March blizzards, I’m guessing.

The back and forth is surreal. Last weekend I woke up to a rental car encased in a half-inch of ice. Almost dislocated my shoulder trying to get a door open. Drove to the airport with my emergency flashers on through snow and ice. (I wanted to tape on a sign that said FLORIDA DRIVER. NOT USED TO DRIVING IN THIS. CUT SOME SLACK, but nothing would stick to the carsicle.) Got on a plane and when I walked off 2 1/2 hours later, I was in 80 degrees and sunshine. Surreal.

We’ll soon be making lists of pros and cons of each of these seven schools (and knowing my daughter’s parents, there probably will be some charts and pie graphs involved). You can bet the weather conditions will play at least a supporting role in the decision. Visiting her in the winter and having to drive in hazardous conditions is definitely in the negative column. But getting to wear my cape again is a plus.

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