The last time I spent a whole winter in Maine was seventeen years ago. I mostly remember hating it a lot, always stepping in slushy puddles with bad shoes and being freezing and miserable and counting the minutes until I could move away and never come back. I’m cold-blooded and can’t do anything when it’s chilly, I really just want to be warm all the time and lie in a hammock, sweating gently and drinking lemonades. Spent most of my winters perched on the kitchen counter with my toes on the woodstove, or else sitting on top of the furnace vent with a fleecy blanket and a good book, waiting for the furnace to roar on and inflate my fleecy blanket into a puffy tent of hot air. Always thought I’d end up living my life in some hot and steamy place, but for some reason I love people who love winter, so I’m back in Maine and it’s winter and it turns out it’s OK. We must be near the half-way point now, and I think it’s not going to be so terrible. Snow is the best part of winter and we’ve had a few really good snowstorms and a lot of pretty flurries. We’re lucky enough to work from home so we don’t have to drive around in it. We’ve got this beautiful path through the woods out back and it’s been awesome to bundle up and stomp through the snowy forest with the puppy. Also I think being an adult makes the winter more bearable. I don’t hate the world for making me live here because now I could drop everything and move to the tropics if I really wanted to but instead I’m staying here with my boo and my dog and my loving family and my crazy house and my path in the woods, because I like all those things. Also I don’t care about looking like a dork in puffy jackets and boots and whatever. Totally used to looking like a dork by now. I just want to be warm and dry in my enormous winter jacket and hiking boots and layers of long underwear and woolly socks and hats and mittens and scarf and gloves and everything. I think when I was a silly teenager I made the mistake of trying to look cute in the winter and ended up with frozen toes and fingers and hating my life all winter. Now I am a hermit and I only hang out with people who love me no matter how many pairs of long underwear I’m wearing. Also the winter is probably more bearable because I’ve been gone so long! We never really had a real winter during four years in Argentina, not like this! So it’s kind of new and fun all over again. I really want to get a pair of snowshoes now, so we can tromp around the forest with greater ease.
We had originally thought we’d be closing off the 2nd floor for the winter and moving our bed into the diningroom or something, only living on the first floor of the house. But we just never really got so cold that it seems worth the bother. We hung a transparent butcher-shop curtain (you know, like in the dairy or meat section at the grocery store?) in the doorway of the livingroom, to keep the woodstove heat contained to the central core rooms, and keep the drafts out. Hung more plastic over various doors and windows to stop the drafts. Upstairs, we have a little electric heater in our bedroom, we close the door and turn it on at bed-time and it keeps our noses from freezing while we sleep. We have a little electric heater in the upstairs bathroom and it keeps the bathroom toasty warm (we keep it on low all the time to make sure the pipes don’t freeze in there). It’s totally manageable. We have a few cozy warm zones, and then you just have to jog through the cold rooms to get from one warm spot to another. And then bundle up and go outside to stack firewood or play in the snow.