Top 5 Things to Avoid in January

January is #1 on my list of Top 10 Months I Hate. Once Christmas is cleaned up and the work holidays are over, there’s no reason to put up with January’s cold, blizzardy, moody attitude. It’s Mother Nature’s version of PMS.

Because my boss insists I show up EVERY workday this month, I can’t just hibernate in pajama pants and watch Netflix. I have to prioritize my list of January crappiness to make sure I avoid the very worst parts of the month. Here are the Top 5 Things to Avoid in January.

1. Going Outside.  Not cool. Okay, it’s VERY cool, but not in a cool way. I walk my dog before and after work (he works from 9 to 5) and it’s dark, it’s miserable, it’s snowy and it’s soggy. And did I mention it’s cold? I wear so many layers I was once photographed and put on the cover of Yeti magazine.

yeti(Just me. Walking in a Winter Wonderland from Hell.)

2. Driving.  I’ve been driving in the snow since Ford introduced the Edsel. But if you’re not comfortable driving in the snow, don’t get on the freeway! That is not the place to practice snow driving. If you’re from a state that shuts down during a spring rain, don’t get in your car at all until April.

3. The Air. Salt Lake has some of the worst air in the country.  Go, Utah! Each winter, a choking, germy, evil cloak of smog settles into homes and lungs, only lifting when the annual winter virgin sacrifice is offered to our heathen gods. I’ve never been chosen for the virgin sacrifice. #Biased

4. Skiers. These snow-enthusiasts are the most horrible creatures on the planet. If you grew up too poor to ski, you developed an innate prejudice against all the wealthy skiers who hit the slopes each winter to slide down the mountains on a pair of toothpicks. Plus, you have to listen to how much fun they had on their ski trips when you only spent your weekend crying into a hot water bottle.

skier

(He’s having the time of his life! And you’ll hear about it for three months.)

5. Darkness.  If I wanted to live in a bleak, dark world of sadness and despair, I’d move to Washington, D.C.. In Utah, the sun rises around 11:30 a.m. then hangs around the sky like a petulant teenager before slamming the bedroom door and going to bed at 4 p.m. Even with the sun “shining”, the Stephen King fog (see #3) hovers like a vulture just waiting for us to drop dead from asphyxiation. So there’s that.

Unless you like driving in the snowy, cold, dark, poisonous wasteland of winter, avoid Salt Lake until June. If you’re a skier, take up chess.

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Stages of Utah Snow

Snow sucks. I don’t care if you ski. I don’t care if you snowboard. I don’t care if you live in an igloo. There is no reason for snow to fall before winter officially starts–and don’t give me the, “Well, we need water to live” argument. Wah, wah, wah.

snow

Unfortunately, I live in Utah. Also, unfortunately, Utah tends to attract snowstorms (and crazy religious zealots). Here are the stages of snow acclimation:

Early Fall: The “snow’s a-coming” warning shot. Sometime during late September, early October, Mother Freaking Nature jolts us from our summer reverie with a blast of cold weather, and a freak snowstorm. Freak-Out Level: 5

October/November: After experiencing a month of frost-covered lawns and withered vegetables, the first real snow of the season lands in the valley. You wake up–and it’s just there, sneaking onto lawns while you were sleeping. Ringo the Dog likes this snowstorm. He comes bursting in through the doggie door to tell us about it. Dismal Level: 3

December: This is the only month when snow is acceptable. Period. And it has to be the big, fluffy, soft snowflakes that fall and land gently on your tongue before dissolving into a cotton-candy-ish residue. These gentle snowfalls are accompanied by Christmas carolers, brightly wrapped gifts and sugar cookies. Cozy Level: 4

gentle snow(If you listen closely, you can hear sleigh bells.)

January/February: Any snowstorm during this time is met with a WTF?!? level of craziness. I’m not sure why. I mean, it happens every year. These storms bring hard-as-hell snow “flakes”–more like snow “grenades.” Blizzards, white-outs, ice storms, frozen roads.  I spend two months living in hoodies and fleece blankets. Everyone whines about the snow, the cold, the inversion, etc. Dismal Level: 75

March: This bleak time of year is when snow melts to slush, refreezes and creates concrete-style bricks of ice along sidewalks, driveways, roads and porch steps. Everything is grey. Everything is cold. And if this continues past mid-March, people get really grumpy. Dismal Level: 94

April/May: Snow during these months should be considered illegal–and all residents should remain in their homes until the sun shines. Rain/snow/slush combinations are just dreary. Tulips, daffodils, crocuses–all the pretty flowers get buried in snow. They usually just give up at some point. Dismal Level: 228

daffodil

(“April Fool’s!!! Hahahahaha,” laughs Mother Freaking Nature.)

So, the snow-free times to visit Utah are June through August. Although it has snowed in June. And there was skiing on The Fourth of July a couple of years ago. Just keep mittens in your glove box at all times.

A Handy Guide for Winters in Utah

Unless you’re a skier, snowboarder, ice fisherman, Eskimo or professional snowman assembler, Utah winters suck.

Since I’m none of those things, I’m also homebound. Of course, I could go out and try a snow sport, but that would involve putting on ski pants, gloves, scarves, boots, thermal underwear, ear muffs and parkas. By the time I’m ready to go out in the snow, I’m too tired–and weigh an additional 4o pounds.snow suit

(Playing in the snow or deep-sea diving?)

For those of you unfamiliar with winter (I hate you), I’ll define some key words to help you understand Utah winters–and why I should move to a warmer climate.

Inversion: Every winter, a science fiction-ish fog settles in the Salt Lake Valley, choking our lungs and robbing us of sunshine for weeks on end. The Utah Legislature also convenes during this time. Coincidence? I think not.

inversion

(See the pretty cloud cover? Yeah, the entire city is buried under that gunk cloud.)

Salt: To keep our streets ice-free (and tasty) road crews sprinkle TONS of salt on Utah freeways so our cars don’t careen off overpasses. Sometimes it works, sometimes it doesn’t. But, by February, every car in the state is coated with a fine film of salt that slowly corrodes all metal, leaving a rusty shell of a vehicle. The Utah Legislature also convenes during this time. Coincidence? I think not.

Commuter Special: This highly irritating term was created by Utah meteorologists to laughingly describe a storm that hits during morning or evening rush hours. (Hahaha! That’s hilarious.) So far this year, every storm has hit during rush hour. Not quite so special anymore. So shut the hell up, weathermen.snow driving

(Just another day in paradise. Did I say paradise? I meant hell.)

Lake Effect Snow: Ah, the Great Salt Lake. Good for absolutely nothing except farming brine shrimp. This is the snowstorm after the original snowstorm, caused by the Great Salt Lake trying to get our attention.

Winter Storm Warning: This redundant term is used when heavy snow is expected. In Utah, it’s also called December, January, February, March, April, May and June.

Shoveling Snow: Touted as a “great workout” by those who can’t afford environmentally-damaging snow blowers. This is bull****. Shoveling snow sucks. And snow plow drivers enjoy pushing snow back onto sidewalks that were just shoveled. I hate them.

shoveling

(I do not LMFAO while shoveling. Or Shuffling.)

Snow blizzards, warnings, advisories, flurries, etc. Weather synonyms thrown out by meteorologists when they can’t just say “snow storm.”

If you’re lucky enough to live in a snowless area (I hate you), count your blessings. If you’re in Utah, keep smiling. June is only five months away.