Texas massages you with its warmth. It talks you into unbuttoning your shirt and putting on those short, shorts. It makes you soft, pliable, vulnerable, weak. It turns you into a tender slab of Kobe Beef. In Texas, you shed your clothes faster than a stripper in a packed house. You put all that useless stuff in the back of your closet. After a few years, it ends up in a bag for GoodWill. It’s not like you have touched it in years and those are the rules when cleaning out your closet – If you haven’t touched it in years you should donate it. IT’S THE RULE!! In Texas you wear tank tops, flip flops and aviator sunglasses all day, every day – except for like three weeks out of the year. You wear dresses in November that only go to your knees…with a shawl…just in case the air conditioning at the restaurant is cranked up too high. You get excited for January because you don’t have to mow the lawn this month AND you get to finally wear that University of Iowa hooded sweatshirt in Longhorn country. GO HAWKS!!
So after arriving in The Republic of Korea in November, I am slowly and painfully recalling all-things-winter after eight years of allowing that part of my brain to atrophy. It is not like I don’t know how to cope with winter. I grew up in Iowa for the first 30 years of my life. I am NOT a newbie to winter. But I am here to tell you eight years in Texas really helps you forget cold and snow. You forget that cold is painful and snow makes everything harder to accomplish. You forget that you must allocate an additional ten minutes of prep time before leaving the house. This time is necessary to get everyone dressed in their winter coat, snow pants, hat, gloves, scarf, boots…did you pee before you starting putting all that crap on…CRAP! Oh Connor, is that poop I smell? CRAP AGAIN, literally. You forget that real cold requires real gear…not cute gloves and hats…but shit that will keep you from losing a finger.
Cold means survival gear. And no…it is not “snivel gear” for my Army friends – that’s just dumb. With gear = alive (maybe, hopefully). Without gear = dead (definitely). SURVIVAL GEAR. Connor was taken care of first. He may be a gi-HUGE-ic kid, but there is stuff available here for him AND we ordered a bunch of stuff for him at Christmas. However, Mommy at 5’9” and Daddy at well over 6’ are basically freaks of nature as far as the Korean clothing industry is concerned. We are the Paul Bunyan’s of our gender here. (If I had big boobs I would be in even bigger trouble…thank goodness I don’t have to worry about that.) The available options for us are pretty limited, if they exist at all. We simply walk into a clothing store and the employees are already shaking their heads no and scowling. Now, there are always on-line purchases. But how does one spend a bunch of money on snow gear…coats, pants, boots….without trying them on first? I mean you can…but it’s such a crap shoot. If someone was moving to Korea and I had to give them advice on what to do before they got on the plane…buy winter clothes. Perhaps there was some ski gear place at the Killeen, Texas mall I overlooked in my haste to leave the country…or not. Who would have thunk that the last-minute trip to Iowa in October should have included a run to Theisens for some Carhartt gear…perhaps a nice pair on Kodiak Coveralls….or quilt lined bibs? (Feel free to Google that – they exist.) In my estimation, regret feels a lot like frost bite.
Also my shoes don’t work here. New Balance Miniums and Chuck Taylors – not enough sole at the bottom. So you are basically standing directly on an ice cube….no bueno.
We hauled ourselves out to some ski store in Seoul….I saw a coat that cost $1000. No kidding. Not even trying to be funny – $1000 – might as well been $1,000,000 because that shit ain’t happening. (And yes, I do catch the irony of me being cheap and using the work AIN’T. It was intentional.) If the $200 coat can’t keep me warm you know what I need to do? Take my ass inside and stand by the heater for a few minutes, that’s what I need to do. And I am going to be totally honest here – the store didn’t even seem that nice. If I’m spending $1000 on a freak’n coat you should be meeting me at the door with a glass of wine and have a separate play area for my 2 year-old so I can shop in peace…and maybe some brownies. Perhaps an online purchase is worth the crap shoot. I can drink a glass of wine and put some brownies in the oven while I’m surfing the internet at nap time. Perfect….
I did find some amazing gloves from a place called www.snowstoppers.com. They mostly sell gloves for kiddoes, but they had adult sized gloves called eMitts. I only bought one pair to see how they fit. If they didn’t fit Shawn they were going to be mine. (Remember what I said about Paul Bunyan early.) Mr. Paul Bunyan seems to be pretty stoked with them…that, or he’s just being a good husband…(No, that dress does not make your butt look big. Yes, I like your haircut. Honey, I can’t even tell you burnt the fish, it tastes delicious.)…so mine are on the way.
If you have any suggestions as to some good quality ski gear that is reasonably priced please feel free to leave a suggestion here. We are going to keep looking around for a couple more weeks but I will eventually have to pull the trigger on something. Mr. Paul Bunyan wants to go on an overnight sledding/ski trip for his birthday next month. Perhaps it is me – perhaps skiing has become outrageously more expensive since my days on the bunny slope at Sundown in Dubuque, Iowa….or should I say…my DAY on the bunny slope. And if that is the case…feel free to enlighten me as well.