Monday, December 23, 2013

Midwestern Winter

Living in the DC area means that experiences with winter weather are few and far between. To be honest, I prefer it that way. Having grown up in the Midwest means I had my fill of snow, ice, temperatures well below freezing and all the inconveniences that these bring. Many folks in the DC area have little knowledge of the terms "wind chill factor" (which is an integral part of any Midwestern winter forecast) or "lake effect snow" (which is well known to anyone residing along the shore of several Great Lakes). Washingtonians are typically impacted by snow or ice only a couple of times a winter, whereas in the Midwest, it is a weekly occurrence.

Almost every year at Christmas I have traveled to spend time with family in the Midwest. Previously that meant flying to Milwaukee, then in later years to Kalamazoo, and in the last few to Grand Rapids. (The only exception was the year a friend and I visited her parents in Vienna - what a beautiful place to spend Christmas!) Inevitably, this means being prepared for real winter conditions. This year winter has already been quite snowy, icy and cold in Michigan, and I was greeted by all three when I landed. Luckily, I was also welcomed at the airport by my sister and nephew, whom I had last seen in September when they came out to Maryland for a long weekend. My brother-in-law and niece, whom I had last seen in July, waited at home.

My sister lives in a neighborhood where many families decorate their homes and yard with lights and other Christmas decorations, a tradition that seems to be far more prevalent in the Midwest than in the DMV. I must say that  I miss this type of "senseless beauty" in my region.

On Sunday evening, however, the Christmas lights on my sister's home went dark. Due to the ice accumulation, this home and many others in Michigan found themselves without power. Luckily my mom had just finished preparing a delicious dinner for us, and we enjoyed that by candlelight. Afterwards we packed up and decamped to a nearby hotel. Because so many (close to 30,000 homes and businesses in Kent County alone) are without power, it might take several days for it to be restored.

When we awoke Monday morning, my brother-in-law drove over to check on the house, and we were overjoyed to hear that power had been restored. Thus we were able to resume some of our many planned activities, including a great deal of cookie baking (both my sister's mint chocolate chip and my improvised gluten-free chocolate chocolate chunk seem to have turned out well!). Considering the weather forecast for this area over the next several days - very cold, more snow - I really feel for anyone who cannot heat their home - either due to the power outage or other reasons - this Christmas.

1 comment:

  1. Traki, traki! Toronto pirms dažām dienām, vakar Mičiganā... laikam Kzoo un G arī ledus vētra, nez vai tur elektrība? Domāju mana vīra gimene priecājās būt dienvidos - kaut vai šeit lietus līst te ir 75 grādi! Priecīgus Ziemassvētkus, ceru elektrība ir atpakaļ un jums nav jāpavada svētkus hoteli, bet varētu arī būt sliktāk; vismaz esi ar gimeni!


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