Why Winter in DC Makes Me Feel Miserable

Why Winter in DC makes me feel Miserable

Each winter in DC, life comes to a halt at the threat of a snowflake on the horizon. After 5 cold and snowy winter days in a row, I say it’s time to adapt!

Well, this week had a rocky start. While I waited for our handyman to complete some thermic insulation, my phone went crazy: 3 schools and the county targeted me with calls and emails announcing an early dismissal today. The verdict? All my kids will return home at 1 PM.

Why is this early dismissal happening on a Monday, the only day of the week when my youngest ones don’t attend after-care? Because of course, our fantastic after-care provider will stay open for a while after the school has closed… but not for my kids.

Last Thursday, my kids enjoyed a snow day at home. I didn’t. I had to cancel or reschedule my appointments and stay home in order to provide food, activities, and impartial decisions when they got into a fight—none of which are my favorite occupation. Outside, the inch of snow that gathered seemed to make fun of my terrible mood.

I don’t cope well with inclement weather when my children are forced to stay home despite manageable winter conditions. Just remember this post from January 2016 where I described 20 differences in experiencing winter between Germany and the US.

Why winter in DC makes me feel miserable

Honestly, the last 5 winters were cold and full of snow. No, this doesn’t mean that global warming is fake, but it is a sign that people should adapt better to winter weather in the Washington, DC area.

First, local authorities should start making winter tires mandatory for all vehicles between December and March. Invest in more snow plows and melting salt. Send their staff for training in the rougher winters of Minnesota. Equip school buses with adequate safe-driving tools. Stores should display real winter shoes to help us prepare for changing seasons. Since no one in my area sticks to these guidelines, even milder winters are really crazy!

The last few weeks were frigid, but still I’ve seen children playing outside without winter coats, women walking outside with light jackets and deep cleavage, and my husband going to the bus stop wearing a suit! Parents, please dress your children (and yourselves) adequately to keep them warm.

A broken vertebra

On Thursday morning, a snow plow came to our street but left it as white as before. Instead of snow, we have now salt. Why can’t the township spread enough salt on the roads in an effective way? Because of their inadequacy, my husband slipped on a patch of ice and landed on his back. After spending 6 hours at the local emergency room, he was diagnosed with a broken vertebra. Clearly, sloppy winter precautions lead to injuries!

Since September, I’ve bought three pairs of winter shoes for Pauline, my youngest daughter. After one week, the soles were falling off. Gluing them didn’t extend their lifespan by more than a week. The second pair looked better but actually fared worse: after she played for an afternoon in the snow, the upper material came off completely. See for yourself in the picture below! The third pair of boots I purchased are sturdy and made for snow, bought in West Virginia during our Thanksgiving getaway. At least they survived our skiing week in Québec for Christmas.

I have to stop my rant here. The school bus just pulled up, and my kids are waiting for me yet again.

What about you? How do you cope with winter weather?

One of the reason why winter in DC makes me feel miserable

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  • Aw flûte, hopefully Jean’s vertebrae will heal quickly! Best wishes and ‘bon courage’. Here in Switzerland we would have pretty nice winter equipment and strong slow plugs, however, no snow in the lowlands! The mountain villages get huge loads of snow this year and luckily the slopes, too. Actually, this is how it supposed to be :). So probably it will be a good winter over here. Let’s keep the fingers crossed.

  • Hello Catherine,
    Indeed, 2018 could have started in a better way somehow, for you and your husband. But think as positively as I am sure you always do. Think for instance about the very nice moments you provide your readers with every week, telling us more with irresistible humour and perfect accuracy about the cultural differences between French, American and German people. Having had the opportunity to live in those three countries, I couldn’t agree more, and also it reminds me every week how sweet it was, or is, to live in each of them. So chin up, Catherine, your good mood is very important to us!
    Happy New Year to you and your family!

  • Courage Catherine !
    To cheer you up a bit, we are desperately waiting for snow here in Austria, it is much too warm for the season, rain instead of snow 🙁
    But with + 10°C, children are dressed for the north pole… I am wondering how they are going to be dressed when the real expected cold is coming

  • Hi,
    Nice to learn that not only in Berlin, Germany public road cleaning goes whakky after a snowflake has fallen. 😉

    • Ich fand immer Berlin viel lockerer mit dem Salzen etc. Danke für‘s Lesen und Kommentieren!

  • Your blog today is 100% accurate in terms of describing many of the ways our Metro area is so ill-prepared for snow and ice. I went to college in Illinois. The U of I campus never shut down unless we had more than 12-15 inches of snow! When it was winter we knew that meant snow. We followed all of Catherine’s tips: the right clothes, the right tires on our cars, and city maintenance workers using the right equipment. No one commented on the snow at all! My children are grown up: when I heard the closings announced this past week, I immediately got in my car to do my errands because few other cars would be using the roads, the stores and parking lots would be uncrowded. I also got to spend one of the days with my grandson! After reading about Catherine’s woes I must try to be more sympathetic towards her and other mothers the next time!

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