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The Top 10 truths about winter storms in the South

Don't believe him. Unless you live north of Tennessee.

Don’t believe him. Unless you live north of Tennessee.

We’re going on Day 6 of the Great Wintery-Mix Storm of 2015.  Because we’re all essentially trapped in our homes, Americans on the lower-right side of the map have all taken to social media to air their witticisms and smart-aleck remarks about this rare episode of cold + moisture (usually, it’s one or the other) in the South.

In my case, that means Middle Tennessee.

Not to be left out, I’ve decided to take the complaining a step further and compile a list of my own snide observations.  Without further adieu, here are my Top 10 observations about winter storms in the South.

10. You might want to get the heater in your truck fixed first.  This may seem obvious, but did you know that the cost of replacing the heater coil in a 2001 Ford F-150 pickup is akin to installing an in-ground pool in your backyard? Problem is, my truck is our only 4-wheel-drive vehicle. To make things more interesting, what amounts to the first big drop  — both the up and the down parts — of a classic wooden roller coaster is cleverly disguised as the only road between our home and the nearest store that stocks milk and bread, the life-giving staples of any winter storm in the South.  If the roller coaster isn’t covered in black ice — which cares less if I’m sliding on four spinning wheels or two — then the temperature is around 6 degrees and I resemble Ralphie’s little brother, Randy (who can’t put his arms down), as I’m driving.  Not cool.

9. Those who venture out in a vehicle are flirting with disaster.  Even if I can actually make it out of the driveway in my ice-cube truck, why would I?  The roads resemble one of those scenes from The Walking Dead where cars are randomly scattered along the highway after the Apocalypse, minus the zombies clawing at the windows from the inside. You see, it’s not that YOU don’t know how to drive in ice and snow.  It’s just that every other fool out there absolutely does not.  And there’s way more of them than of you, much like the aforementioned zombies.

8. Tiny snowmen are sad.  Here in Middle Tennessee, we love to post photos of our depressing excuses for snowmen after a wintery-mix storm. Usually, they are about 8 inches tall and are shaped like pears, because there’s not enough frozen material to make the three balls of snow in slightly descending dimensions that are required of a real snowman, especially at man-height.  Inspection of the property would reveal that every surface has been thoroughly wiped clean of snow for the project, yet the sum total results in a tiny, depressing, frozen pear with a nose.

7. Birds freak out.  Aren’t animals supposed to innately know things about the weather?  For some reason, when the South receives a little snow or ice, birds go completely crazy and start looting every feeder in sight as if we’re entering another Ice Age and they need to put on a quick 10 pounds of fat.  Here’s a memo for the birds: Chill! Within two days, it’ll be 52 degrees and everything will go back to normal. Eat your normal bird allotment!

6. By the time you decide to go prepare, it’s too late. Just resolve yourself to the fact that you will have no cool sled, rock salt, insulated snow boots, or hot chocolate. The People Who Don’t Procrastinate will have already gotten all that stuff, probably within the first two hours of the mention of snow on the local news. Don’t look so sad! There’s always next decade.

5. If you buy a Wham-o Snow Boogie Air Tube, you’ll be disappointed; unless you’re a midget. We fell into the category that lies between People Who Don’t Procrastinate and People Who Do, so there were a few sled options still available at the Very Random Store that Nobody Usually Shops At.  On a $5 whim, we picked up the Wham-O Snow Boogie Air Tube for our 7-year-old, mainly because the kid on the box looked to be around that age and, sitting criss-cross-applesauce, fit very nicely as he zoomed down the snowy hillside.  However, when I inflated the Snow Boogie with a few quick puffs of air (which should’ve been an omen), I was shocked and disappointed by its dimensions. It looks like an inflated drink coaster. I don’t think my 7-year-old’s butt would’ve fit on it the day he was born.

4. Hot chocolate must be consumed at all costs. This is one of the great mysteries of the world. As you may have read in earlier blogs, my family usually eats clean and avoids sugar almost entirely, however there is a strange, magnetic seduction that hot chocolate has over Southerners, the Johnsons included, as soon as the first drop of freezing rain splats down on the back porch. We must drink hot chocolate. And there must be a thick layer of mini-marshmallows on top, too. (Now that I think about it, hot chocolate is really just a transport system for marshmallows, which is what we really want.)  The only time that this phenomenon occurs even more forcefully is during a screening of “The Polar Express.”  Combine winter weather with “The Polar Express,” and you may as well hook up a hot chocolate IV.

3. We will sled on anything frozen. Southerners are so desperate to experience actual movement across H2O in its solid form that we will scoot our sleds, inverted car hoods, trashcan lids, and our own butts across any type of frozen material — we’re not picky. We don’t require actual snow because that’s just crazy talk and only occurs in movies. A good ol’ hard-pack of two inches of sleet covered in an inch of frozen rain is all you really need. (The sooner we all come to grips with this, the better.) Throw in a four-wheeler and a strong rope, and now you’ve got something.

2. Comcast repairmen are not like the U.S. Postal Service. Their slogan should be: “We’re Not Coming.” I’ve learned this one the hard way. Our cable/Internet box crapped out three days before the Great Wintery-Mix Storm of 2015 arrived, and we all know that Comcast ain’t getting to your house within three days, unlike our local mailman, who simply strapped some chains onto the tires of his 1994 Honda Accord and never missed a beat. But we’ll be lucky to see a Comcast technician before spring. For the past six days at the Johnson house, all five of us have been fighting each other over Holly’s feeble air-card signal like a pack of hyenas into which an antelope haunch has been tossed. Four of us watching Mad Men, Pokemon, and The Office on Netflix means that the fifth is unable to satisfactorily operate his Xbox, and then all hell breaks loose. Coming from a guy who grew up with the option of two fuzzy TV channels and possible three, depending on where the dog was standing in the room, it’s a sad commentary on where our culture has gone.

And my No. 1 observation about winter storms in the South is…

1. Don’t believe any weatherman forecasting a bunch of snow, because it ain’t happening. We desperately want it to, but it’s not. It’s like the feeling you get at the end of the football game and your team is down by six on their own 20 yard line with 70 seconds left. You think, “This would be AWESOME if they somehow managed to drive all the way down the field and score as time runs out!” But your logical mind breaks the hard news to you no matter how hard you wish otherwise: Your team isn’t the Patriots; it’s the Titans. Or the Jaguars.

Oh, I admit it’s easy to get sucked in by all the flash and glamour of a snow forecast, but the closer you get to that magical hour that They claim it will start snowing, the more They change their tune. “Snow” inevitably becomes the dreaded “wintery mix.” That’s what we’re getting. That’s what we always get.

So guzzle your mug of chocolaty melted marshmallows, pull on your un-insulated hiking boots, and go grab your Wham-O Midget Tube.

Those tiny snowmen ain’t gonna build themselves.

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5 Responses to “The Top 10 truths about winter storms in the South”

  1. Andrea says:

    Hilarious!!! The tiny snowmen. So sad & so true!!!

  2. karenrsanderson says:

    Very amusing. I’ve been in ND for a little over four years. I know I probably won’t be able to get traction from about November to March. When snowmen get built up here, they are significant. And they can sometimes sit on the lawn for four or five long months. Today we are enjoying a minus 42 wind chill. Bring on the hot chocolate!

  3. Uncle Buck says:

    I I
    I love it when the news media reports that some places may receive up to a quarter to half and inch of snow……………I bet if the people in Boston heard this, they would roll over laughing.

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