I won’t mince words (or is it mint swords?) about the wintertime, I’m not a fan. No, sir, I don’t like it. The cold is the major issue for me. I don’t like being cold. People who say they don’t mind the cold are people who just want to be different from you when you say you don’t like it. “I enjoy the change of seasons” these mentally deranged people bleat. You could stand before them being attacked by Colobus monkeys and screaming for help, and they would stand there being attacked by the very same monkeys, stating how they don’t mind the shrieking monkey attacks so much. “It’s a nice break from the day” they might say. “At least they don’t have thumbs!” they may throw out. These people, I offer, are buttheads. You can keep your lake-effect snows and monkey attacks; I prefer a somewhat warmer climate. But since I also like a brisk dichotomy, I will profess that I enjoy snow. It’s pretty and it’s fun to play in, at least until snow’s friend Numb Extremities comes to visit.
The problem is that I live in Ohio, land of the icy winter. We don’t get a whole lot of snow in general, but a fantastic amount of ice, wind and general bitterness. We have a saying in Ohio that goes “If you don’t like the weather…shut your mouth. It’s Ohio, moron. What did you expect?” This is why I was pleased with the six or so inches of fluffy white we received last weekend. We decided that it would be a perfect occasion to dress the kids in a silly yet warm assortment of garments and take them out to play in the snow. Our fashion-forward-four-year-old was not too pleased with the outfit, but she relented if it meant going outside to play. I think that she has been out in the snow once before, and I don’t believe our youngest has been at all.
Growing up, I used to play in the snow quite a bit. I think it was a combination of youthful exuberance and excessive body fat that made my time in the snow so enjoyable. I grew up in a hilly region of Ohio near the rolling hills of Appalachia. This made for less wind and bitterness and infinitely better sledding prospects. I would spend hours dragging a sheet of plastic up a hill to go flying back down again. Even as a teenager I enjoyed a good sledding session. Unfortunately for my kids, we have few such gravity powered grades nearby. The ones that do exist are so crowded that it resembles a lemming suicide march as children seem to pour down a compacted icy slope. Less fun than I remember it, for sure. It is this reason that my wife and I developed a multitasking program that combines sleds and kids with exercise.
Take one sled, one that has a longish rope preferably, and one kid, and pull. That’s pretty much it. You get a great sprint workout with added resistance and the kids get the giddy enjoyment of dashing through the snow…at least until you take a corner a little quickly, perhaps in an attempt to get out of your spouse’s way, and end up dashing your two-year-old face first into the snow. That was not the best introduction to snow fun for her, and was only alleviated by allowing her to chuck a couple of snowballs in my general direction, as well as the promise of some post-workout hot chocolate. My wife and I were thoroughly exhausted after several sprints around the back and front yards. I definitely worked my legs enough that I would not have been able to repeat that session the next day. I will leave the sled pulling to the dogs. Except our dog; she’s a Pomeranian that wears a sweater. She hates it when her paws get too cold. I can relate.