Real Minnesotans don’t need a thermometer to tell the temperature outside.
60 – people are sunbathing
40 – kids are still playing football and Frisbee in their shorts
35 – there’s salt on the bridge and the rain isn’t draining away, the previous snow on the roof melts
30 – when the sun comes out, the snow on your sidewalk goes away and you don’t have to shovel. You need a long sleeve shirt to get the firewood, and long pants. The pond is mostly frozen with little holes for the deer in ducks to drink. Snow is perfect for snowballs. We’re expecting another 4 inches tonight.
20 – the kids still take off their pajama tops when you turn the fireplace on. The dog still goes on 30 minute adventures outside. Deer start nosing the feeder. You have to scrape ice off the outside of your car.
10 – you need a coat if you’re getting more than an armload of wood. The kids actually zip their coats while waiting for the bus.
0 – the pond is frozen solid. You’re not going to see that fireplace stone that the neighbor kid tossed in till spring. The snow squeaks like Styrofoam.
-5 – your nose hairs freeze. The garage feels a little chilly. You need to warm up your car if it is parked outside. Let the deer find their own food.
-10 – you reread Jack London’s “to build a fire” after getting the mail. The dog only stays out for two minutes at a time and barks ahead so the door is open before he gets there. The front door ices up when you open it to let the kids out. If you park outside, your breath freezes to the inside of the window. You have to scrape inside the car, and when the blower kicks in, it looks like a snow globe. The cat no longer tries to sneak out the door when you open it.
-15 – your hand sticks to the front door handle when you open it from the inside. The dog climbs in your warm bed while you are freeing yourself. Your car won’t warm up even on the ride to Walmart for more sidewalk salt.
-20 – you need two pair of pants to walk out to the mail box. You miss the 12 inches of snow because those were the warm times. School is delayed 2 hours, but work isn’t. The car tires get flat spots on them parking outside and you feel like Fred Flintstone going down the road.
-25 – all birds have disappeared. You suspect the deer may have eaten them. The Florida vacation commercials are running every hour. Your car’s suspension feels like a clapboard buggy. Drive by shootings and bank robberies stop altogether in the Twin cities. The cashiers at Walmart wear gloves inside. The cats can’t see out the bathroom window any more and are really bored. They play with the gloves you have drying on the vents.
-30 – Half the cars outside won’t start, the other half has to jump them. Starting motor rods on cars involved in any accident at any time during the year pick this moment to shatter. You ask yourself if this is what space feels like. You time how long it takes for spit to freeze. Your dog won’t go outside unless you carry him, and once inside, he starts reading Jack London.
-35 – lawyers keep their hands in their own pockets