My mother told me I’d be warmer if I gained weight. And then we laughed! Oh how we laughed. We laughed and laughed and lau---wait. Oh. She wasn’t laughing. That was just me. She proceeded to list off several overweight people we knew who were never cold. She may have had a point. When I was expecting my twins, I would be clearing the sidewalks of snow in my T-shirt and the neighbours would gasp – should you be doing that? Me: (depositing heaping mounds of snow on to the bank…) Oh this? Yeah, I’m just always hot (in retrospect, I suppose they could have been referring to the hugely pregnant woman shoveling snow like a crazy person).
I know you’re thinking, um…February? You could argue being cold is not news. We’re all cold. You could also argue that if I keep bringing up being Canadian I could at least “represent” by being patriotically cold. You could even argue that today is not particularly cold, in fact it’s quite mild up here. I would respond that you are being quite argumentative. I know it’s Monday and all, but try and relax. Have a doughnut.
The reason I bring it up is it reminded me to tell you about something that I really love. You’re thinking, aww…a kitten? A treasured book of family photos? Maybe a delicate gold chain with a heart pendant worn by generations of women before me in my family? Yeah, no. It’s my robe.
I really tried hard to think of a less cringy word for robe because, if you are like me, you probably immediately think of Hugh Hefner when you hear the word robe. A shiny satin, well fitted jackety type affair worn over his matching shiny satin pajamas...and worn all of the time. Um. No.
I should also point out here…not “robe” in the Victoria's Secret sense of the word. Exit Victoria's secret, head straight down to the Walmart pajama department (be careful in there, it's winter and there is a lot of static…you don’t want to stand too close to any of the highly flammable fibers). That’s where you might find something closer to what I’m talking about. In my defense, it’s still very nice fabric. You know those little plush Gund stuffed animals? Picture that in a robe. And very pink...again, not Victoria Secret pink. Pepto-Bismol pink.
In the morning, I put on regular clothes like a normal person. Most days, to the delight of my family, I remember the basics. Bottoms, tops. I come downstairs, turn the heat up, get the coffee started and proceed to “gear up”. Another sweatshirt. Another sweater. Something made out of fleece. A scarf. Slipper boots. Leg warmers? (oh yes…) Hello Flashdance! Except that I’m actually using them to warm my legs. A bonus that the leg-warmer inventors of the 80’s had not anticipated. I debate snow-pants, but decide against them. They are so bulky for around the house. Also my dog then thinks we are going for a walk and loses her mind.
I sit down at the desk to type. I really need those gloves with the finger-tips cut off. You laugh, but if I touch your arm with these fingers (like Elsa does, in Frozen) you will rapidly freeze into a block of ice. Then I will feel bad about it (like Elsa does, in Frozen).
I sling back my coffee. I am probably the only person out there who can guzzle coffee. Pretty sure my esophagus has an asbestos lining. I need warmth in my veins (now!) almost as much as caffeine.
So…my solution? My robe. Every day in the winter…and I won’t specify how long my winter lasts compared to the calendar’s, I pull the robe on over my entire ensemble. I may have appeared to have put on roughly 50 pounds but guess what, people. I am warm.
Here is an excerpt from the Canadianest Canadian poem we all had to learn in Public school or else they didn’t let you call yourself Canadian. It's about a guy who lived in the Yukon and died from the cold...now is being cremated, aka how I feel when I put on my robe...(except for the dying part).
And there sat Sam, looking cool and calm, in the heart of the furnace roar;
And he wore a smile you could see a mile, and he said: "Please close that door.
It's fine in here, but I greatly fear you'll let in the cold and storm--
Since I left Plumtree, down in Tennessee, it's the first time I've been warm."
Oh Sam. How have we never met? We would have been kindred spirits. Worn matching robes! (not in pink, though…he was clearly a “spring” it would have washed him right out)
Way back in time…my Grandfather came over from Europe, got out of the boat and had a little look around. To the south, were sunny skies, beaches, seagulls, women in bikinis…nope, not for him. He then swung his gaze to the North. Blowing, icy winds, white, barren hills (a polar bear shivering?) and said...there (pointing a shaky finger). That is where we will live. And a couple generations later, here I am at my desk, 3 feet wide with fleece (but warm).
Don’t worry, summers are beautiful. You should see our West coast. Our East coast! The middle is pretty neat too. We even have beaches and lakes you can even swim in for a 10 to 12 minute window in August. We’re the true north strong and FREE. Our healthcare is second to none. Justin Trudeau is quite handsome.
And I have my robe, soo….
(Here is the whole Sam McGee thing. It's actually quite long and boring, to be honest, but I have to include it or else Canada might get really mad)