It happens just one time a year.
It’s a special time, one brimming with excitement, maybe even a little trepidation. It’s definitely a time of contemplation, reflection and most definitely spirituality because HOLY COW — 32 degrees is COLD.
Yup, I’m talking about that special event for us desert dwellers when the temperature dips to freezing and we all kind of short-circuit because it’s the one and only time all year we can wear true cold-weather gear like boots and an actual coat and so, how do you decide what to wear? It’s also quite confusing as everyone struggles to figure out what everyday household item can double as an ice scraper.
Pro tip: not a shower squeegee.
While a Tucson summer is a terrible, horrific, trying time that tests the limits of human endurance because no one should slide onto a leather car seat when it’s 118 degrees outside nor should you walk a mere 37 feet to to the mailbox and feel like a meat thermometer would already register your guts as perfectly medium rare, a Tucson winter — rare and blissfully brief as it is — can really throw you for a loop.
We kind of suck at cold. And by “we,” I mean my family.
One year, when the kids were little, it actually snowed, which happens from time to time. They were beyond excited and so of course we told them to pull on their puffiest jackets and warmest socks. Off we drove in the direction where there seemed to be the most snow. We ended up at Saguaro National Park East and happily clomped around in the cold, white stuff until someone stepped in a cholla cactus. Which wouldn’t have been such a huge thing in boots but this 4-year-old whose parents apparently paid NO attention to what their son was wearing WAS IN CROCS.
Another time, No. 1 had a 7 a.m. calculus class (double ew) and left for school only to come running back through the front door in a panic.
“I don’t know what’s wrong! I can’t see out of the windshield!”
This 16-year-old had never encountered a frosted-over car. Neither had her friend, who reported that she just rolled down her front window so she could hang her head out and see the road until the mysterious substance all over the windshield disappeared.
Well, when the cold hit this week, at least No. 3 knew what was going on — he just didn’t have the proper tool to get rid of the ice.
“The shower squeegee’s not really working,” he said, dropping it on the kitchen counter.
“Go check the desk drawer for a plastic ruler,” said his dad in his audition for the “MacGyver” reboot.
I rummaged through the silverware drawer and produced a hard, plastic scraper intended for the food processor. Ta da! It worked!
And, with that crisis averted, I ordered not one, not two, not three, but four ice scrapers, which arrived the very next day. Of course, now the trick will be finding them when we need them again on that one day next winter.