January 12 2016
This morning I opened my balcony door to a fluff of snow. There were already a few centimeters and it was still snowing. I was on the phone with my mother at the time and she asked me if I was thinking of cleaning the snow away. Luckily, she couldn’t see my grimace but she heard the definite “no” I uttered, thinking that the snow will go away by itself.
I could have lied, she couldn’t check being an ocean and a continent away but she might have talked with my daughter and she never lies, even if it means to contradict me. However, I was right: half of that snow was gone by evening. Now, it might get back with the storm raging outside.
I love watching the snowfall but only if I am in a doorway or better at a window, enjoying the show from the warmth of my house.
I don’t like to travel through snow, though, especially because I know that snow is enemy number one for Toronto Transit (the city transport company). Whenever it snows, there is a reason for slower speeds for the train or signal failure and for missing buses and longer waiting times at bus stops.
I lived in Quebec City for a while and winter there is serious – or at least, it used to be when I was there. I could always count on very lower temperatures in winter and therefore I would wear two pair of pants all winter, and the winds were very harsh.
There was so much snow that by February, the roads were lined with little hills of snow. However, no matter how bad it snowed, the roads were promptly cleared – even the smallest streets or lanes. There was no negative impact on transport and if the schedule said that the bus would come at 7:06, I knew I’d better be at the stop by then or I’d miss my bus. They were as prompt as Swiss clocks.
Another lovely thing in Quebec City was predictability. It was winter, and that meant the temperature was always hovering between minus 15 and minus 20, and adding the wind factor, would go down ten more degrees. My body adjusted well and I didn’t have even a mild cough or a case of sniffing.
Now, when I came to Toronto – ironically, in the middle of winter, it seemed a strange winter. In Bucharest, there was more snow than here, and my coat seemed too heavy for the paltry negative temperatures, which occasionally appeared, because the temperature was mostly over zero, and my boots seemed real overkill. At the beginning of March, I could go out only in a business suit without fearing getting a chill.
For quite a few years, six in fact, I wore boots in winter maybe two or three days per season and I forgot my heavy coat in the closet. A simple jacket sufficed.
The temperature has always played havoc with my immunity system. It would change a few times a day and differences were notable, not a degree or two. The first two years, I, very well known for not having sporting a cold in years, got sick every single month, even in summer. It was extremely frustrating and I would threaten to move back to Quebec City at least once a week.
Suddenly, last year, temperatures rivaled the ones in Quebec City and there were people grumbling saying that Yukon was boasting much milder temperatures and were thinking to move house there.
I was in a rush to buy serious boots, my shoes had already been ruined being surprised by snow on my way home from work one afternoon – and I loved those shoes dearly: it was no hardship to wear them at all and that on long distances.
At the time, I had had made a habit on going to work on foot and return on foot, about six kilometers and a half one way, and I didn’t feel the slightest discomfort.
Of course, the change in weather, the extremely low temperatures – you had the feeling that your skin would fall off your face the moment you stepped out, made me forget about my new healthy lifestyle and got back to the tribulations of the public transport. As result, I was one of the people that would leave for work in morning, not very sure that we’d get there in due time but I also put on some pounds, and none of the two made me happy.
Another thing to consider is that Toronto always had a real trouble in cleaning the streets. If the main arteries are cleaned quite often, the smaller streets are not in such luck.
I remember when I came here at the beginning, people from other provinces would make fun every time it snowed more than one centimeter, asking if the city had already called the army to clean the streets. I cannot say that I have ever witnessed that, but I can say that I was a bit disappointed to see that even one or two centimeters of snow would cause trouble in traffic, after I had seen how efficiently they dealt with everything in Quebec City.
However, puffy fresh snow is always a real treat for Rex. He’d be able to run around in the snow for hours, as if all the neurons in his brain had gone AWOL.
Up to now, he had to run only on a leash because I would not trust him without. I tried a few days, when he was younger, and he got very close at being run over by cars, so, after three such incidents, we stopped (I was sure his luck would run out) and he went out only on a short leash.
This is the first year he’d been enjoying a yard for himself.
The interesting thing was that he considered that the yard was not long enough, and he would prolong his run with the length of the living room, bringing lots of snow inside by the time I noticed what he’d been doing.
My living room was boasting patches of snow everywhere, on the floorboards and on the carpet and it seemed he also included the sofa in his running because there were wet patches and the imprint of his paws all over it. Considering the fact that my sofa is light beige, imagine how beautiful it looks now.
I was thinking of changing it soon, however, now I think I’d wait till winter is over. It is not like I’d have hordes of visitors around, what with the schedule I keep and with Rex that doesn’t let anyone get close to me: the required distance is at least one meter – more distressing is the fact that he is very fond of this requirement even for family when they come to visit.
Right now it seems that a storm has broken out and the wind is trying to gain entrance in my house.
I loved my door to the balcony when I moved in, now I loathe it. I always worry that the door would give in and I would freeze over the night. And the cracking and squeaking seem to drive Rex crazy and it is a lot of noise going on. If I do manage to string comprehensible sentences in this post, it means I do have huge concentration power, but I truly doubt it.
Tomorrow I will start a new stage in one of my projects. I founded a literary magazine together with four other people who volunteered to help me choose the right works to be published. Our magazine got registered by National Collections and Archives Canada last week and on Friday, the first issue will appear. But for that, the next two days I have to work on format and editing. I know it is a lot of work, especially for a beginner, but I can’t wait. In the past, I managed a newspaper, but I didn’t deal directly with the formatting part. So, this is a new challenge. If you’re curious to see the result, look onto www.scarletleafreview.com on Friday. The first issue should be there on 15th.
Anyway, I will be back tomorrow and let you know if I managed to do something or I simply pulled my hair out.
Born sometime in the past century, living in the 21st century.
Sometimes I have good ideas... (what do you think?)
Sometimes fascinating guests!
(that for sure!)
Sometimes I have to share some of my frustrations,..
(not too tempting, huh!)
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