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Saturday, February 10, 2007

We're Not In Kansas, er, Texas Anymore...

Of course I realize that I lived in Canada for 22 years of my life before heading to the deep south. I know what cold is. I know what -40 feels like. I know that the inability to feel your extremeties is a sign of frost bite. I know not to stick my tongue on a light post in winter.

That said, I've never lived as an independent adult in Canada. Dad was always a phone call (or a few rooms) away. I didn't have to worry about house or car maintenence. My primary concern was making sure I could find a warm jacket that was also stylish.

I became a married, independent, responsible adult while living in Texas. I know how to maintain a house in a mild climate. Or, more accurately, Richard knows how! But, as I look outside at the shimmering snow, and the frozen mercury, I am well aware of the fact that we no longer live in Texas. Oh no. We are MANY MANY MANY miles from Texas.

So, here is a short list of "Canada things" that have Richard and I puzzled. Laugh if you must, but I can guarantee that my American friends reading this blog would also find these things foreign!

*Water Softeners. How often do you fill them with salt? How do you know if it's working? What happens if you forget to put the salt in?
*Block Heaters. Are all cars equipped with them? At what temperature do you have to plug in your vehcile so that it will start?
*Shovels. Is a shovel with a metal handle better than one made of wood? Are we responsible for shovelling a path in front of the mail pod? Is a snow blower worth it?
*Sidewalk salt. How often should we throw salt down on the walkway to the house? Does it hurt the concrete? Will it hurt the bushes if it gets into the soil?
*Windows and doors. Does EVERYONE have drafts coming in through their windows? Is it normal to have ice build up on the INSIDE of the door hinge? Is a $300 gas bill acceptable?
*Exhaust. Is it harmful to start your car and leave it running in the garage? (Um, yes, that one's a joke.)

See, the next time you're fixin' to make fun of Richard or me, consider the culture shock we're experiencing and give us a break. Because, goodness knows we're capable of caring for palm trees and maintaining air conditioners! So, we're not dumb. Just cold-stupid sometimes.