Ice Whine

It starts roughly the day after Valentines Day – the upper midwest’s snow and ice whining season. This is the time of year when typically upbeat midwesterners complain bitterly and incessantly about, of all things, snow in the winter.

To outsiders, complaining about snow in February and March in the upper midwest might seem about as logical as complaining about sunsets at days end. Or Vikings collapses in January. After all, these are statistically inevitable occurrences. But still we whine.

Actually, we’re not always this unstable. There are distinct snow psyche seasons in the upper midwest. From mid-October to Thanksgiving is the Giddy Season. If it snows in the Giddy Season, we frolic. We also wrap our SUVs around telephone poles. After all, it’s been six whole months since we’ve driven in the stuff.

From Thanksgiving to New Years is the Romantic Season. During the Romantic Season, snow is a highly coveted holiday prop. Sure, we bitch a bit about its effects on our travel plans, but gosh our holiday decorations look so much prettier with snow in the background. Budweiser ad-driven nostalgia wins the day.

From New Years to Valentines Days is the Grin and Bear It Season. The novelty of snow and ice is long gone. But, hey, we get a chance to use the swell new skis and expensive Snowtex undies we got for Christmas. So we plod along without (too much) complaining.

But towards the end of the Grin and Bear It Season, Groundhog Day plants a very ugly seed in our Vitamin D-deprived brains. Groundhog Day reminds us that it is statistically possible for winter to end a bit earlier than average. And hope can be a very subversive force.

But still, MLK Day, the Winter Carnival, Super Bowl Sunday, Valentines Day, and President’s Day give us some days off and diversions, and so we muddle through.

Then it gets ugly. From Valentines Day until Ice Out on the lakes, the natives get restless. Though snow is still metereologically normal, we act as if the gods are playing cruel and unusual pranks on us when snow happens.

Our darting eyes start to take on the look of Jack Nicholson’s in The Shining. We curse our Minnesota heritage, and our neighbors showing off their precious Ft. Myers sunburns. We start panicking about how all that dog crap is going to smell when the glacier rolls out. We stop shoveling all but the largest accumulations in bitter protest. We wander catatonically in the garden section Target has cruelly resurrected. We’re not at our best.

And this year is much, much worse. Because this year we combine our wretched Ice Whine Season with the fact that much of the country has it worse than us.

You see, the only upside of Ice Whine Season is that it allows us to feel superior to our weak neighbors beneath us. But all of the joy of winter whining is lost when people in DC and Louisiana actually have it much worse than us. I have had midwesterners get very upset at me when I have had the nerve to suggest “at least we had a normal winter and don’t have it as bad as those poor people in Virginia.”

Trust me, in the Ice Whine Season, you do NOT want to deprive northerners their self-pity.

So here I sit under my SAD lamp, Jack Torrence eyes glaring at the Target Field live webcam, wondering when oh when the groundskeeper will start circulating heated glycol through the pipes underneath center field…and wondering how much it would cost to install something like that in the dog shit section of my backyard.

– Loveland

27 thoughts on “Ice Whine

  1. Momkat says:

    Very funny, and so true. One of your filing tabs is glycol and I thought, how much stuff could be out there about glycol. Well, I guess I learned–a ton!

    1. Joe Loveland says:

      Yes, SRC now has the corner on glycol commentary in the blogosphere. Everyone has to have their niche.

  2. Jennifer says:

    Having grown up in just outside of DC, I was terrified when 9 years ago my parents informed my sisters and I that we were moving to Minnesota. My friends tried to console me with comments about all the snow days that I would get when I moved to the “Frozen North”. Little did they know school districts here DO NOT cancel school over a threat for 3 inches of snow. Moving to MN did not help my qualms over the winter. What did however was the fact that starting the winter after my family moved here the East Coast, DC in particular, started to have horrible winters, while here in MN we haven’t had anything that outrageous. I do feel for the residents of Northern VA, Maryland and DC for having the worst winter on the record. But at the same time I can’t help but think haha serves you right. Of course I do so ever so silently so the Karma police don’t turn my words against me.

    1. Joe Loveland says:

      Jennifer, we’re glad you joined us in MN, and have adopted our resentful ways. Assimilation!

      I lived in DC for 7 years, and found that three inches there is much more debilitating than three feet here, because of the lack of snow removal infrastructure. But on the positive side, the duration of their ice age is much shorter, so we can still resent them for that.

    1. Joe Loveland says:

      All work and no play makes Joe a dull boy.
      All work and no play makes Joe a dull boy.
      All work and no play makes Joe a dull boy.
      All work and no play makes Joe a dull boy.
      All work and no play makes Joe a dull boy.

    1. Alright. The harassment can now be considered sufficient. Let’s do this.

      We should probably wait until Benidt returns from TSRC’s southern outpost in the Keys. When will that be, Bruce? Are we looking at March? I can only presume you’ll be back in time for the home opener.

      What works for those who’d be interested in attending? A Monday night? A Thursday night? Friday? Weekend?

      1. Dennis Lang says:

        Wait a second. So the “harassment can NOW be considered sufficient.” It’s been over two years of promises and…. nothing. The Crowd is a patient group. But not right if Benidt is the only one there with a tan and sadly my annual hiatus to St. Barts had be scuttled–the economy and all that.

      2. PM says:

        I think that a Monday night might be appropriate–with less competition, I assume that you all will be less likely to mistake the local drunk for me.

        Oh, and as Lambert is the newbie here, he buys the first round, right?

  3. Dennis Lang says:

    PM–Since gender is no dead give-away among the pseudononymous commenters should we be looking for someone more in the spirit of Monty Wooley or a leggy, urbane blond resembling a youthful Grace Kelly?

      1. Mike Kennedy says:

        Grace Kelly?

        Although she retired from acting before I was born, I have seen enough of her to consider her among Hollywood’s all time, top beautiful women.

        You and I would be looking for the same one, PM.

      2. Mike Kennedy says:

        Oh for Christ’s sake. Here we have a fantasy going along nice and smoothly. Along comes Lang (aka Mr. Buzz Kill) to throw cold water on the whole thing.

        In my dream — hell yeah. She IS the one that looks back. Hey, it’s my dream. I can make it anything I want.

    1. PM says:

      Oh, I’m sorry–you wanted to know who i resemble more!

      Well, as old Monty was a bulldog, I’d suggest that you look more for the Jimmy Stewart type. (BTW, just watched “The Man Who Shot Liberty Valance” again the other night–now there was a great movie!)

      1. Dennis Lang says:

        Yup,terrific Western! Like Jefferson Smith before him, James Stewart rises to the occasion. Good role model PM.

  4. Ellen Mrja says:

    Too precious, Loveland.

    My friend Eileen used to have what she called “Dead of Winter” parties during this horrid time of the year. The only requirement of guests was that each had to dress as their favorite dead person. What fun.

    Tippi Hedren with birds stuck in her hair…Jack and Jackie…Audrey Hepburn…Joan Crawford.

    Ms. Smythe: when are you going to throw another one of those soirees?!

    As for the southerners, wha-wha. Boo-hoo. I’m not feeeeling their pain.

    1. Eileen says:

      Oh, the good ole days of the Dead of Winter party. Thank the goddess it was back in the days before YouTube and digital photos. Yikes. My current residence is too small for such fun. Anyone is welcome to pick up on the idea! I’m going to Spring Training!

  5. Eileen says:

    One more thing. Loveland, that webcam is depressing. There is snow on my seats. I should be allowed in there to clean up my little corner of paradise. The glycol tubes won’t reach my seats.

  6. Ellen Mrja says:

    Kennedy and PM: Is THAT what I was supposed to be doing all these years – looking back?!

    I always just kept on walking…

    1. PM says:

      that just brings up so many lovely songs…

      Don’t walk away Renee….

      These boots are made for walking….

      anyone else?

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