By Mason Daring
So here we go again … right around the first of September, the Big Guy Upstairs hits the thermostat, and Presto! The nights get colder, and in the daytime we go from too hot to just about right, and in the back of our minds lingers the memory of what lies just beyond autumn.
I swear, autumn is straight out of Faust—you make a deal with the devil as follows: “Here you go, Pal: You get, upfront, two beautiful months, the best of the year, and later all you have to pay is three or four months of biting winds, black ice, frozen doorlocks, and it gets dark at what seems like one in the afternoon—what do you say?” Sounds like a deal to me!
There are some fringe benefits: You don’t have to mow the lawn anymore, the bugs all go to Florida where they lie in wait for you, and if you’re into football you can get your heart broken on a weekly basis.
Remember the garage you were going to clean when things warmed up? It’s still there waiting for you. Schedule it for next week, and, if you’re like me, you can sneak it in right around the first snowfall.
And get out the can of Stabil. Pretty soon you get to pickle the lawnmower, weed-whacker, bush hog, etc. While you’re doing that, you’re going to try to recall if you properly put the snowblower away last April; if you didn’t, call the chiropractor and make an appointment.
Get ready for the time change—spoiler alert: it’s November 4. And if you’re like me, you can’t remember if Daylight Saving Time is what we’re on now or what we will be on November 4. Another spoiler alert: it’s what we’re on now—we go to Standard Time on November 4. (Little known facts: Arizona does not observe Daylight Saving Time, although the tribal lands in Arizona DO observe it. And did you know Newfoundland has its own time zone, which is one half hour off of the rest of the world? Why? Because they want to be cool. Which, of course they are.)
Other things to do on a Sunday afternoon when the football game you want to see is on Monday night: Switch the clothes out. Find the snow shovel. Decide the snow shovel is too bent to use again. Buy a new snow shovel. Check your tire pressure (it got too high this summer in the heat and you let some air out of it so now it will be too low). On your next oil change, ask them to check the antifreeze.
On the subject of winter clothing: It got a lot better in the last several years. Remember when you were 12 and Mom sent you out to play in the snow covered in a couple layers of itchy wool? Boy, who invented fleece? I would like to shake her hand. Polartec, fabric that wicks away moisture, boots that are actually waterproof AND warm—where would we be without these and whatever miracle products we will immediately buy as soon as the Eddie Bauer winter catalogue arrives?
One of the things I love about Vermont is that it does winter very well. Blizzard? Lotsa snow? No biggie. Super cold? Get more wood, go stay with a friend if your furnace conks out. Super-high piles of snow along the highway are something to celebrate up here. Some of us welcome it, some of us suffer it, and some of us escape it. But none of us ever seem to dread it,
Remember to schedule the chimney sweep. By the way, he’s booked until March.
Also, you know the 10 pounds you were going to lose this summer? You didn’t. So now you have until Thanksgiving, the official start of the Eating Way Too Much season. Get cracking.
There is good news: You look great in turtlenecks. No, really, absolutely terrific. Now, where did you put them?