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Friday open thread: Finally, winter

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Winter Storm Brings Heavy Snow To Chicago Photo by Scott Olson/Getty Images

It’s mid-February, so that means winter is finally showing up in the PNW! After one of the warmest, mildest winters I can remember so far, we got a little tiny bit of snow earlier in the week, high temps have only been in the mid-30’s since, and Portland is forecast to get anywhere from 2-5 inches of snow this weekend, starting Friday night. I might not leave the house after Saturday morning, which honestly isn’t the worst thing in the world, getting a little forced relaxation.

Snow is fun, for those of us that don’t see it often. In this part of the world, at a minimum, snow means working from home, and if it’s really bad, many businesses actually close rather than have their workers risk being on the roads. The thing about the northwest is, because it doesn’t snow very often, most cities west of the Cascades don’t have big fleets of snowplows and snow removal equipment (until 2003, for instance, Seattle had basically four snowplows. For the whole city). Large Fleets of snow equipment are expensive to own and maintain for a city that may only need them twice a year, so the roads get disastrous pretty quickly, particularly when you take into account that nobody here knows how to drive in the snow.

So anyway, it’s cold and may snow. I have two things I love that help me deal with winter when it finally hits. On days like this week, that are clear and cold and on which I can still bike to work, I have a pair of these. They’re primarily for protection against rain, but they have the added bonus of being suuuuuuuper warm - on a typical Portland 40ish degree day, they kinda overheat my feet, but this morning, when it was 24 degrees, they were amazing.

For walking around in the snow, I found something the hard way. A couple years ago, I slipped on some ice while walking to the store and went flying. After a couple minutes sitting on the ground wondering why I was horizontal, and making sure nothing was broken, I got up. This was a mistake. I subsequently passed out and fell flat on my face, waking up when the ambulance called by the people whose house I passed out in front of called.

I was fine, miraculously - no concussion and just a cut over my eye that took a few stitches. But, this happened early in the morning as I was heading to the grocery store, so the lovely mrs. pdb got the joy of sleeping through my call, and then waking up to a voice mail from me while I was in the ER, basically saying I’M FINE DON’T WORRY BUT I’M IN THE HOSPITAL OK BYE, which was, to put it mildly, suboptimal for her. Anyway, while I was in the ER getting looked at, she was talking to the doctor who was treating me, who, when she heard how I injured myself, immediately recommended these to her, which she bought as we were sitting in the ER.

They’re not great in places where you get, like, snow by the foot, but in a climate like the NW, where we get smallish amounts of snow and, more dangerously, ice that forms either above or below accumulated/compacted snow, they are amazing. I won’t leave the house without them if the ground is white.

Given that you have to go outside in the winter, what’s your favorite accessory for coping with cold and adverse conditions?

Anything else going on this weekend?