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fogofwar
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PostSubject: Moving to Wisconsin   Mon Jul 11, 2011 3:53 pm

I'm moving to UW Madison with my advisor in the fall to finish up my PhD in economics. I've never traveled up north in the winter so I've seen at most an inch or two of snow which usually melted by noon. So I'm looking for recommendations from you guys on how I should prepare myself Very Happy
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PostSubject: Re: Moving to Wisconsin   Mon Jul 11, 2011 6:21 pm

I understand your position--two years ago I moved from an area that gets MAYBE an inch of snow throughout the whole year, to a place where digging your car out from the snow is a thing, and people do it regularly.

So my advice to you: Snow boots, with good traction. You will find yourself trouncing through big piles of snow, which you will want to keep off your pants and socks. And beneath that snow, and around it, and everywhere you forget to check for it, there will be ice. So having boots that don't slip around is a must if you want to avoid doing the splits at random intervals.

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PostSubject: Re: Moving to Wisconsin   Mon Jul 11, 2011 11:20 pm

Thanks for the recommendation, it is still hard for me to imagine ice and snow just sticking around. Unfortunately, the stores here don't actually sell snow boots so I may have to get them when I move up north.
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PostSubject: Re: Moving to Wisconsin   Mon Jul 11, 2011 11:42 pm

When you get north, get yourself a good pair of insulated Carheart cover-alls. The kind with the full sleeves, long legs, zipper halfway up the legs, the ones that look like the jumpsuit April O'Neil had on the old TNMT cartoons and which have all the mobility of a spacesuit. It'll set you back a few hundred bucks, but they'll keep you warmer than you'd imagine and you will be very greatful you did it.

Second, find an army surplus store and buy an old army goosedown coat. It'll look like hell, and you've got to keep it dry, but you can get them rated to -20F or more. I've got one that I could never wear if it was above 0F, it was just too hot. When my wife and I did field work at -20F I was VERY glad I got it.

Third, buy a good, sturdy shovel. Skip the "snow shovels"--just go with a flat-bladed spade. The handles on snow shovels are crap, and most of 'em are plastic or cheap sheet metal. A good flat-bladed spade will survive anything winter throws at it.
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PostSubject: Re: Moving to Wisconsin   Tue Jul 12, 2011 8:59 am

Also talk to the locals. They will be able to give you some advice about what works in their area. When I lived in upstate NY for awhile I had to relearn everything I thought I knew about weather and all the best information I got at the local barber shop from a group of old men.
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PostSubject: Re: Moving to Wisconsin   Tue Jul 12, 2011 12:00 pm

You're going to need a lot of salt for your driveway and sidewalk, if you're in a house rather than an apartment.

I can't understate how important a good hat, scarf and pair of gloves are. Though if you're never outside for longer than 5 minutes (I include being in a car as 'inside') they might not be as important, but still.

On the note of a car, if you have to leave in the morning I recommend starting your car about 5 before you actually plan on leaving. That way by the time you get out to it, its warmed up. Trust me, your hands touching a steering wheel that isn't -100 degrees will thank you Very Happy

The last thing I'll say is that no matter what you do, all of these little things will only ever make your life slightly less cold and miserable. In the long run you'll just have to get used to it Razz

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PostSubject: Re: Moving to Wisconsin   Tue Jul 12, 2011 12:36 pm

Good points Calwyn, also dress in layers when the cold comes.
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PostSubject: Re: Moving to Wisconsin   Tue Jul 12, 2011 1:21 pm

I'd like to ammend part of Calwyn's recommendations ... COnsider beign in a Car in the winter the same as being outdoors. Car's get flats, break down, etc.. and the last thing you want is a 20 minute walk in 0F temperatures with only a light jacket that would usually get you from the car to the door at each end fo your trip. Even if you don't wear it, take it with you in a bag - or have a bag you leave int he car with spare jacket, mitts etc..)

Gloves look nicer, Mitts work exponentialy better. It's up to you if you want to look good or feel good Smile

Sunglasses. You will need a good pair. Sunlight in the summer is bright. Sunlight in the winter is 10x that on a clear day (abotu double what it's like to be on a boat in a lake on a clear sunny day) - it's reflected off everything in sight - and msot fo that is white snow & ice. Driving is tough without them, even going for a 5 minute walk to the corner store can leave you squinting and with sore eyes.

Bass Pro Shop is your friend! GO there, get yourself a few pairs of the Redhead winter insulated socks. They are, by far, the best winter socks you will ever own, and the last pair you will ever buy - because they are garaunteed for LIFE not to wear out and get holes in them! I bought one pair to see if they were as good as claimed - a week later, I went back, bought 5 more pair and tossed all my old "grey with the red stripe" traditional winter socks into the rag pile. The warranty works for damage as well ... I caught one on a nail sticking out from my trim, pulled a thread way out and made a small mess of the sock ... was still wearable, but since I was in the area, figured it was worth trying ... No Quesitons asked, no reciept needed ... handed me a new pair and off i went.

For "inner city" life ... a good set of earmuffs. Anythign that fits well and has even a bit of insulation to them. You will not believe how cold it is as you walk between buildings and get hit by those random gusts of wind that buildings generate. It takes very little time to get really cold and sore ears. The more times they do get cold and sore, the more easily they will do that next time.

If you are taking your own car up there: (If travelling now, save this for later ... if travelling later in the year (septpmber-ish), do it before you leave):

Empty the Winshield Washer FLuid that you have (syphon it out or just turn them on and keep pressign the button until it's empty) and replace it with WINTER fluid - it shoudl say right on the label that it's good to -40C/F. You won't want to be replacing your washer pump (they are plastic and very susceptable to the pressures created by water expanding as it freezes). I usually end of changing a coupel every winter for peopel that forget they had "summer washer fluid" in their cars when winter hit.

Buy a second jug of the stuff and leave it in the trunk. The blue stuff is cheap, and very handy. IF, in the case that you get stranded in winter for whatever reason, the stuff is very high in alchohol content and will burn very easily ... pour it over any semi-combustable item and it'll light almost as easy as gasoline.

Summer Tires & Winter Tires = Wrong. (most do this, but I don't for the "mid season" driving in late fall & early spring)
All Season Tires & Winter Tires = Right.

Other than that, there isn't a whole lot you need to prepare for ... clothing will be the big thing depending on how much outdoors stuff you normally do.

One thing to remember if you are an active outdoorsy person ... Below freezing temperatures = wind chill. That includes breathing. I've seen enough people make the mistake of over-exerting themselves and "panting for breath" and getting minor frostbite in their throat.

Also - Slow down when you are shovelling, active, etc.. It's kind of like working in the heat when you slow down to keep your body cooler and prevent heat stroke. Same aplies in Winter, but you are slowing down to preven sweating. Sweat freezes once it gets into your outer layers, and when that happens, you are walking about in frozen clothing, it takes very little time for that to start into the first stages hyperthermia.

If you toes, fingers, nose, ears start hurting (not the initial "shock factor" of feelign the cold, but the aching throbbing "this hurts" kind), go inside and let them warm up WITHOUT rubbing them - Room temperature water at the hottest if you think you must - and have someone else check that temp for you. DON'T push through the pain if you notice it. When you ignore it forlong enough, it will go away - then it's too late and you don't feel it cause it's FROZEN (or at least cold enough your body has diverted all blood from the area). Frostbite sucks. Once you've had it, it can return that much more easily the next time.

Hot Chocolate (or Hot Apple Cider) are socially acceptable substitutes for any other hot beverage in witner. If invited "out for coffee" in the winter, you will not look a fool for ordering hot chocolate. Whiskey or Bailey's Irish Cream in them (or coffee) is also qutie well received Smile

Ice. The bluer/balcker it is, the more slippery it will be. Same goes for shine ... the smoother it is, the slicker it is. Also, asphalt & concrete - it a parking lot/sidewalk looks like it's "just a shade darker than dry" ... maybe the color it would be after a light mornign fog ... it's probably what's knownw as "black ice" - a layer of ice too thin to be seen, but as slippery as if there was 2" of it there.

Even the dullest, roughest ice is slippery - wet bathtub slippery. Wet feet on a tile floor slippery. I'm glad you have a great sense of balance and aren't too worried :p Try that sense of balance with 5 pounds of oversized boot on each foot and a bag of groceries/books/etc.. in one hand Wink Turn corners deliberately - step up and down curbs, stairs, etc.. with a purpose.

After your first few falls, you'll figure it out Smile Lots of us "winter folk" relearn each year to walk more on our toes than our heels (especially on outdoor stairs leading up to buildings - it lets a person fall forward and catch themself, rahter than backwards and using the ground to cushion the back of your head Sad

Also, once the first frost hits and winter starts setting in ... It is considered the most heinous of crimes to use fake Maple Syrup flavored syrups on pancakes, waffles, french toast, etc.. Aunt Jemimah syrup is fine in the summer and on ice cream if you must ... but in the winter, you need the real thing Wink

Lastly ... The first day the temperature is approaching 0F ... try barely touching the tip your tongue to any nice non-painted steel or aluminum item. Galvanized chain link fence posts, screen (porch) doors, etc.. are good candidates. Enjoy the rush of adrenaline and the feeling of panic as it sets in. Embrace the desperation and the commitment it will take to make that final decision to inflict the pain of skining your own tongue upon yourself (a small piece of it anyways). Laugh like you are 5 years old again as you spend half the day talking like a mumbly-peg "cuzth my tongue hurthz". Congratulate yourself on surviving a right of passage for anyone who calls themself a "winter person". :p
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PostSubject: Re: Moving to Wisconsin   Tue Jul 12, 2011 1:32 pm

Find yourself a woman to keep you warm at night. Or at least a big dog.

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We should create a loop. That way when he gets back he can feel jealous that he's been out of it.
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PostSubject: Re: Moving to Wisconsin   Tue Jul 12, 2011 1:43 pm

oh ... and this is certainly funnier for those of us that have lived through a true northern winter, but I'll share it with you anwyays Razz

Swearing is involved, but it's needed to make it true Wink

Dec. 15
Moved into new house after a long drive from South Carolina. The trees are nothing more than bare sticks and all look dead, but the neighbours say that's normal and the leaves will come back in the spring. They tell me they'll look very nice once the snow covers the limbs.

Jan. 10
5:00 P.M. It's starting to snow. The first of the season and the first one we've seen in outside of postcards and television. The wife and I took our hot buttered rum and sat by the picture window, watching the soft flakes drift down, clinging to the trees and covering the ground. It was beautiful!

Jan. 11
We awoke to a lovely blanket of crystal white snow covering the landscape. What a fantastic sight. Every tree and shrub covered with a beautiful white mantle. I shoveled snow for the first time ever and loved it. I did both our driveway and our sidewalk. Later a city snowplow came along and accidently covered up our driveway with compacted snow from the street. The driver smiled and waved. I waved back and shoveled it again.

Jan. 12
It snowed an additional 5 inches last night, and the temperature has dropped to around 11 degrees. Several limbs on the trees and shrubs snapped due to the weight of the snow. I shoveled our driveway again. Shortly afterwards, the snowplow came by and did his trick again. Much of the snow is now brownish-gray.

Jan. 13
Warmed up enough during the day to create some slush which soon became ice when the temperature dropped again. Bought snow tires for both cars. Fell on my ass in the driveway. $145 to a chiropractor, but nothing was broken. More snow and ice expected.

Jan. 14
Still cold. Sold the wife's car and bought a 4x4 in order to get her to work. Slid into a guardrail anyway and did a considerable amount of damage to the right rear quarter-panel. Had another 8 inches of the white shit last night. Both vehicles covered in salt and crud. More shoveling in store for me today. That goddamn snowplow came by twice today.

Jan. 15
Minus 2 degrees outside! More fuckin' snow. Not a tree or shrub on our property that hasn't been damaged. Power was off most of the night. Tried to keep from freezing to death with candles and a kerosene heater, which tipped over and nearly burned the house down. I managed to put the flames out, but suffered second degree burns on my hands and lost all my eyelashes and eyebrows. Car slid on ice again on the way to the emergency room and was totalled.

Jan.16
Goddamn mother fuckin' white shit keeps on coming down. Have to put on all the clothes we own just to get to the fuckin' mailbox. If I ever catch the son-of-a-bitch that drives the snowplow, I'll chew open his chest and rip out his heart. I think he hides around the corner and waits for me to open our driveway again! Power still off. Toilet froze and part of the roof has started to cave in.

Jan.17
Six goddamn more fuckin' inches of fuckin' snow and fuckin' sleet and fuckin' ice and God knows what other kind of white fuckin' shit fell last night. I dented that fucker's snowplow with an ice axe, but he got away. Wife left me. Car won't start. I think I'm going snow blind. I can't move my toes. I haven't seen the sun in weeks. More snow predicted. Wind chill -22 fuckin' degrees. I'm moving back to South Carolina!
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PostSubject: Re: Moving to Wisconsin   Tue Jul 12, 2011 1:45 pm

rainshadow wrote:
Find yourself a woman to keep you warm at night. Or at least a big dog.

Shocked Shocked Shocked

I don't want to know.

I don't want to know.

I don't want to know.

Razz
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PostSubject: Re: Moving to Wisconsin   Tue Jul 12, 2011 2:05 pm

Very Happy

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Life isn't about waiting for the storm to pass... it's about getting out there and dancing in the rain.

We should create a loop. That way when he gets back he can feel jealous that he's been out of it.
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PostSubject: Re: Moving to Wisconsin   Tue Jul 12, 2011 2:10 pm

Wow, you guys are great! That is one detailed list Imagius!
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PostSubject: Re: Moving to Wisconsin   Tue Jul 12, 2011 2:44 pm

If only 1% of it helps you, it was worth the time taken to type it out Smile
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PostSubject: Re: Moving to Wisconsin   Tue Jul 12, 2011 2:46 pm

That story is brilliant Paul. And wholly accurate, unfortunately.

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PostSubject: Re: Moving to Wisconsin   Tue Jul 12, 2011 4:01 pm

The story is humor and pain congealed together to a compelling tale. So when did this happen Imagius? I assumed you never actually moved back to South Carolina.
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PostSubject: Re: Moving to Wisconsin   Tue Jul 12, 2011 4:31 pm

I can't take credit for that one ... it's just one of those "Internet Jokes" that have been floating around for years ... one of the rare ones that hits pretty damn close to the mark. Not entirely different from the "Roping A Deer" story I posted on TG's forums last year.

Give it until next June, then read this one again ... I'm sure you will have a much better appreciation for the humor it in Smile
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PostSubject: Re: Moving to Wisconsin   Tue Jul 12, 2011 8:22 pm

Oh, one piece of advice I don't think anyone mentioned: Grow a beard if at all possible. I started my beard because I got sick of my face being cold. Sure, once the ice starts to melt it's mildly annoying (my definition of cold: ice is forming in my beard), but just don't lean forward over important papers and you're good.

A second bit of advice: Keep cold-weather cloths (spare cover-alls and a good coat) in the car. Don't ask me why, but it always seems that once a year you get into a car on a cold day without your coat, and you freeze. Having a coat in the trunk helps.

One final thought: DO NOT, under ANY circumstances, roll down your windows to get the snow off. You WILL break the clips that hold them up, your windows WILL spend the winter falling down on you, and you WILL experience the joy of shoveling a drift out of the driver's seat before starting the car. Not fun.
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PostSubject: Re: Moving to Wisconsin   Tue Jul 12, 2011 8:54 pm

which reminds me ...

If you insist on shaving, and if you can get away with it - a fair number of guys prefer to shave in the evening rather than the morning. Same goes for showers. Leaving the house even slightly damp in the morning when it's -10F is not an enjoyable experience.
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PostSubject: Re: Moving to Wisconsin   Tue Jul 12, 2011 10:25 pm

There's trick I learned growing up. I have very large feet, and if I walk the right way, I can usually use my own feet like snowshoes, and walk on just the surface of the snow. Creates a really cool effect--not quite Legolas on that mountain but not half-bad for a mortal. Unfortunately I can't explain how to do it.
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PostSubject: Re: Moving to Wisconsin   Tue Jul 12, 2011 11:35 pm

I know that trick - I can only describe it as "stepping lightly" ... it works, but the moment I stop thinking about it, I fall through the surface layer of snow.

Also works most times when using empty cardboard boxes as an impromptu ladder Smile
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PostSubject: Re: Moving to Wisconsin   Wed Jul 13, 2011 11:09 am

all these funnier advices makes me think of when i was in school.
After gymnastic classes the teachers told us to wear showercaps when showering else when we would go out from the house the gymnastic was in our hair would freeze to ice..which sometimes happend on those that hadt wear any. Many of us thought it looked cool when someone had hair like ice and frost but when the hair snapped like an icicle that person wast so happy anymore Laughing

so yes goin out after taking showers baths etc bad idea!
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