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Snow .... it's what's for OTHER PEOPLE

Published February 22nd, 2012

Snow People, you know who you are.

I can hear you now gushing over frozen water that falls from the sky:

"Oh I just love the winter! I love the snow! Everything is so beautiful! I love the white blanket! I love to ski! I love ... yada yada yada.."

I love pizza. But I don't want to walk through it for three months, or have it fall on my head when I walk out the door. Well, unless I am hungry. Hey, I'm not the only person who doesn't like snow: Napoleon -- not a fan of snow. Hitler -- definitely not a fan of snow. I'm not sayin' I'm in good company, I'm just sayin', even famous people have an aversion to the puffy white stuff from the sky.

I was a bit concerned when on December 25th there wasn't a flake of snow to be had here in Bila Tserkov. Yeah that White Christmas thing always sounds cool. Especially to someone who treated snow as a convenience. When I wanted snow, I drove to it. Snow was about an hour and a half away, well, I lived in Central California, Modesto/Merced area to be exact. Snow was rare. Very rare.

The following is a Public Service Announcement:


1) Don't invade Russia in the Winter

2) Carry a plastic trash bag

This is my third winter in Ukraine and I discovered a few things about snow that I am sure MANY people know about. Snow is cold. Snow makes my fingers cold, and freezes my toes. It also messes with my camera batteries and fogs up my camera lens. I know the solution is to put batteries in a deep warm pocket. But the fogy condensation thing was a bit of a problem, until ....

I started carrying a trash bag with me. NO not the one full of clothes on a shopping cart, not the one with cat litter and banana peels in it...I take a clean UNUSED still unfolded trash bag and carefully put it in a front pocket of my camera bag. (If my wife is with me she might use it to fill when shopping, but I never let her see it)

When I am done and home for the day, BEFORE I walk into the house I unfurl my trash bag in all it's glory and fill it full of crisp fresh (cough) cold dry air and then put my camera bag in it and take a handy twisty-tie and seal the bag. Then I go inside.

See the air is dry and cold, but inside it is warm and any humidity will cling to your cold glass and metal like a monkey on the back of a dog running around a circus ring. Or just think of a glass of cold milk or iced tea on a hot day all that condensation... Well, I just let my camera come up to room temperature while in the sealed trash bag, maybe 30 minutes. When the camera comes out it is dry and warm and no little bits of condensation lurking in little places where it's not welcome. Even if my camera is weather sealed I do this because YOU NEVER KNOW.

So it's not the snow that does this, it is one of those thermal dynamic physics things about heat cold and moisture that we all learned about in school and see on those iced drinks... It pays to pay attention in school and apparently it pays to drink little fruity cocktails with umbrellas in them filled with ice, fruit juice and alcohol.

Oh, yeah I still don't like snow. When the first snow fell I was pleased, but after looking at my watch 15 minutes later I was done. "Ok, pretty, I get it, the flakes are falling like forgotten memories, covering the world in a silent blanket of crystal white, but 15 minutes is enough...go away..."

Out my back window though, it is kinda pretty looking at my snow covered garden ... before the dog runs outside to make yellow spots in various places:


Good good looking' out my back door.

Oh yeah, see the little blue building on the left with the green door? That is an outhouse. Thankfully we have a real bathroom and don't use the outhouse but I could not imagine having to do so at 3 am when my bladder wakes me up and says "Time to go Johnny Boy."

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