By Ross Markman
Memo to anyone looking to move to Montana from the East Coast: Bring long underwear.
Actually, that tasty nugget of advice goes out to anyone accustomed to a warmer climate than the one that exists in Havre you know, like the climate in Antarctica.
Seriously folks, I don't know how you do it. I've been here for two weeks and have had enough of this ice, snow and below-zero temperatures.
Growing up in the suburbs of Philadelphia, I'm no stranger to snow and cold weather. But never have I experienced something like this.
And I'm told this is nothing. I'm told it's been a mild Montana winter.
Are you people kidding?
I swear, just to go outside, I put on so many layers, I look three times my actual size.
In the mornings, I do my best to scrape the ice off the windshield. I'm thinking of buying a chisel.
One morning, I made the mistake of hitting the windshield washer button. The washer fluid froze immediately.
Each morning, I warm my car up a good 10 minutes before driving the whole block and a half to work. In a "normal" climate, I would walk to work.
But not Havre. Here, I drive.
That is, when I can open my car door, which one morning was frozen shut.
My dad calls me on the phone and laughs.
He says, "I told you how cold it is there."
Yeah, yeah, I know. But maybe I didn't believe it could possibly get this frigid. Perhaps I just didn't realize the difference between 30 degrees in Pennsylvania and negative 10 in Montana.
Still, I think I'll be OK. I went to Kmart the other day and bought long underwear, warmer gloves and enough thermal socks to insulate a small house.
But, for some reason, I'm still cold.
I walk in the office and my co-workers snicker. Maybe it's because I sit at my desk with a scarf wrapped tightly around my neck and a hat pulled over my ears.
The front door opens and I cringe, knowing the cold, brisk winds that will soon fill the room.
Last Friday, I was at the Palace Bar and saw a guy wearing shorts. Now, I realize my cold threshold is much lower than most, but how in the world was this guy not a walking icicle?
At least one person agrees with me in this town Vicki at my bank. After depositing a check Tuesday afternoon, I heard a voice behind me say, "You brought this cold with you!"
It's actually 65 and sunny back home.
I wonder if the temperature even approaches 65 in Havre. And I don't mean 65 below.
Got a letter from Mom today. Her main advice is to do everything in my power to stay warm.
I am, Mom. But it's easier said than done.
Never before have I yearned for 40-degree days and 25-degree nights.
Now, I pray for them.
Back home, I used to hate sitting at home and not going out at night. Here, I don't even want to go outside to get the mail.
Am I a big baby?
Do I want the snow and ice and bitter cold to go away?
Will I continue to bundle up and wear what seems like my entire wardrobe at once?
Regardless, I think I'll make it. I'll brave the cold and sub-zero temperatures.
I mean, how long could it possibly last?
Memo to anyone looking to move to Montana from the East Coast: Bring more than one pair.