“Mom! There’s no water in the bathroom!” This is exactly the news I need at 8 PM while trying to finish left over work. And the reason for no water? It’s TOO DAMN COLD.

So I forgot to leave the faucet running, just a little bit, so the pipes won’t freeze. Why would the pipes freeze, you might ask, and I’ll tell you, because it’s -30 celsius here, that’s negative 22 Fahrenheit! Yeah it is a bit chilly, don’t you agree? I don’t want to be an adult anymore. I want to make a fortress out of very warm blankets and soft pillows and sleep until the sun comes out. And stays out! You are no good for me just visiting for an hour a day! I need more!

But I can’t. Because apparently I chose to be the adult in this household. So I need to get the car heater from the car, and tape it on the bathroom ceiling, in the basement, that’s where the pipes are. Of course I don’t have tape so time to get creative. Luckily I’m an excellent fort builder. Turn the heater on and hope it works. This is our first winter in our new, decades old, home, and I’m not sure if it’s going to work. It did at the old house, but we moved out because it was too much work.

This all leaves me wondering, yet again, why do I live where the air hurts my face? Seasons in Finland are vastly different. Summer is short and full of sunlight, unless it rains, or snows, which is oddly not that uncommon even in June. Autumn is one of my favorites, it’s getting darker, moody, and just cold enough, for sweaters and woolen socks. Spring is when the sun decides to turn her warm face upon us once again and you can see all the dust and dirt gathered in the corners and windows from the winter. It’s much more fun when it’s too dark to see the mess.

“You forgot winter”-some might say right now. And I really wish I could, forget it. But no. For a few reasons. One, obviously, because it’s the topic of this article, and two, because I’m surrounded by it 24/7.

Some people love winter. Love the snow and the cold and the crisp bite of the air. But my face hurts from the bitter cold and from the dryness the cold season brings to the air. And the skin. And the hair. “Moisturize me!” -my body screams. It’s all frizzy hair and flaky skin for months. Even my humor gets dry.

And -22 F is not that uncommon. It comes every year and it stays for a while. Days or weeks, maybe the chill takes a break at some point but it will always return at some point. That’s why we don’t get time off from school or work because or the cold. Even when it’s this cold, or colder, we have to get up at 6:30 AM, try to drag the kids out of their warm beds, make sure they dress appropriately: long johns, pants, winter pants, shirt, another shirt, maybe another shirt again, the warmest jacket, a scarf, a hat, and gloves. And mittens on top of gloves! And many layers of socks in warm winter shoes. For smaller children we can use woolen overalls under outer overalls (overalls over all’s), but when they get a bit older they refuse to dress like that, because it looks stupid. And then send them out in the bitter cold and hope they survive to school (and back, even though I sometimes wish they could stay there way longer). Then prepare yourself to face the arctic cold.

Talking about looking stupid while dressed warmly, teenagers! Even in an arctic weather like this, the teenagers in Finland have no survival instinct. They dress as it was somewhere around 30 F. Now it’s a trend to let your bare ankles show, a decade ago it was the bare midriff, so I guess it’s better now? When I was young we settled for freezing our brains, cause hats were stupid. They still are stupid of course, so you don’t see many teenagers with hats on even now. Jackets are on, but open, no scarfs or gloves and only a thin pair of jeans, and sneakers. To put it short, to avoid “looking stupid” they just act stupid. (Sorry teenager, if you ever read this, mommy loves you, but put your clothes on for god’s sake.)

There’s some positive sides to the cold too I guess. At least we don’t get many spiders and snakes and other things that want to kill us, because they can’t survive the long winters in Finland. Except the ones people keep as pets in their warm houses. Cockroaches, tarantulas, beetles and all.

Btw*, my very safe looking construct in the basement worked, the car heater thawed the frozen pipes and we have water again. #handymom

P.S. Next week we’re getting up to -40 F weather! Surprisingly, -40 Fahrenheit is also -40 Celsius.

* That’s internet talk for “by the way”

— Editors

The writer of this story is a member of the Mom of Finland community.


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