Snuggled inside, drinking a cup of hot tea or cocoa, baking cookies and looking out the window to see the world gradually disappear under a blanket of white. Doesn’t that sound cozy? Who doesn’t love a snow day?
As a child, sure, I loved snow. On the occasion that several inches fell, school was cancelled–yay! I could spend all day sledding at the big neighborhood hill.
Nowadays, I’m not a big fan of winter. Snow, ice, and cold weather can be a huge pain for adults who have to go to work and run errands.
I grew up and still spend several months of the year in Maryland, in the mid-Atlantic region of the United States. Our winter temperatures average 30-45 degrees Fahrenheit, and large snowfalls are rare. Last month, however, a huge weather pattern blew through and dumped over six inches, the most accumulation we’d received in more than two years.
I’d forgotten how much extra time it takes to get dressed to go outdoors on a snowy day. Long underwear, sweatpants, a thermal shirt and sweater, plus waterproof snow pants and a heavy winter coat. A warm knit hat is essential, as is a scarf (or two) wrapped over my face. All the extra padding makes walking slow, awkward and stiff.
Once I arrive back indoors–nose running, fingers numb from the cold, leg muscles sore from clomping along unshovelled sidewalks–I have to undo the entire process. Peeling off one thick layer at a time, I’m careful to stop my boots getting the floor all wet and salty.
I’m not comfortable driving in snow and try to avoid it whenever possible. Slippery, unplowed streets make me nervous. And I really, really dislike having to dig out and scrape off my snowed-in car.
Ok, enough of my griping…
I’m sure everyone, and especially homeowners, are very familiar with the extra toil, maintenance, care and worry that come alongside winter weather:
Cleaning snow off the roof
Salting the front stoop
Ensuring that the back-up generator is properly functioning and carbon monoxide detectors have current batteries.
Making sure that pipes don’t freeze
(Just to name a few.)
Homeowner or no, we all know the biggest wintertime priority of all: staying warm.
In a modern, on-the-grid house with electric or gas heat, this often means an expensive heating bill during the colder months of the year. Or, perhaps heating your living space involves physical labor: chopping wood, feeding logs into the wood stove or fireplace to make sure the flames don’t die out.
In all my years of shared living, I’ve been a home-seeker rather than a homeowner. One of the things I like about being a renter is that I’m not the one ultimately responsible for maintenance. But, every household member is still subject to expensive heating bills and finicky heating systems.
This is especially true in apartment complexes. They often have a specific date when management turns the entire building’s system from ‘summer air conditioning’ to ‘wintertime heat’. This date does not necessarily line up with erratic spring and fall weather. I can recall several past apartments where layering up in several sweaters and blankets and huddling by a space heater–or in the kitchen, by the warm oven–was sometimes necessary.
My point is: the headaches, and risks, of wintertime are manifold.
The good news is…
Having a home-mate, or mates, makes all these aspects of winter less daunting. A home-mate is an extra pair of hands to assist in shoveling the driveway, clearing snow from the curbside and cars, checking the generator and spotting cracks in the windows and doorways that need filling so that cold air doesn’t seep in. A home-mate is someone to share the burden of a massive heating bill, and/or to help stockpile logs and feed the fireplace.
In the worst case scenario–say, when a big winter storm renders you housebound for several days – a home-mate is someone to help make sure the household is safe and well-stocked. If you’re not confident driving on snowy roads then perhaps your home-mate is, and they are happy to trek to the grocery store for an extra loaf of bread or quart of milk.
If nothing else, a home-mate is someone to commiserate and huddle by the heating unit with, as you shiver and count the days until spring.
Here’s another post you’ll find helpful during winter Roomie, It’s Cold!
Image by Freepik