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The view out our front door

It’s snowing in Portland.  For most of the rest of the states, this is no big deal – they have been dealing with piles of the stuff for weeks.  For the eastern part of Oregon snow is the norm every winter.  But in Portland, it becomes a major event.  It’s not like it never snows here, but it happens infrequently enough (for instance, our last major snowfall happened in 2008) that the city doesn’t tend to deal well with it.  Streets go unplowed, drivers use poor judgement, most businesses close early or don’t open at all, and the news stations become 24 hour panic inducers.

Because we usually have such uneventful winters, I’ve been questioning a lot of winter and snow related items in my wardrobe when I’ve been paring stuff down.  I’ve kept things like ski pants and ski gloves because I sometimes like to go snowshoeing, but I was wondering if it was really worth hanging on to that kind of stuff long term – couldn’t I just borrow items like that for the 1-2 times a year, if at all, I decided to participate in winter sports?  I’ve wavered on several winter items over the past few months, moving them to the resale box, and then back out again, and feeling like I’m probably being silly and coming from too fearful of a mindset for keeping them.

On Thursday though, it started to snow in earnest.  By late afternoon, there was a significant amount on the ground, and when I was getting ready to take Stella on her evening walk, I decided I’d better bundle up.  I do NOT do well in cold weather – nothing makes me bitchier or more irritable than being too cold, and if you add being wet into the mix, I kind of fall apart.  So I pulled some of those questioned winter items out of the corners of my drawers and closets, and ventured out into world.

I can remember previous years where I’ve had to wear tennis shoes in the snow, because they were the only shoes I owned with any decent traction to them, and they were immediately soaked through to my socks just walking from the house to the car.  I once shoveled snow in a nice wool dress coat because it was the warmest one I owned, but as the snow fell on it, it became heavy, soggy and cold.  And I’ve ruined more than one pair of nice leather gloves while scraping snow and ice off the windshield of my car.  All these experiences have contributed to my hatred of cold weather.  But on this snowy afternoon, I found myself warm, dry, comfortable, and able to walk safely enough to be able to actually admire the frozen beauty of our neighborhood.  The winter garments I own aren’t super expensive or fancy, but they’re all in decent condition since they rarely gets used, and they definitely were doing their job.

Here are the items I’ve been wearing every time I’ve ventured out of the house for the past few days, that I am now soooo glad I’ve kept:

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I got these ski pants at an REI because they were INSANELY cheap.  I was actually there looking for something else, and I happened to come across these on a sale rack and they were marked down to about $45, and then were an additional  50 or 60% off of that.  I think I ended up paying $19.99 for them, and the cashier realized that they had been mistakenly marked down too much.  He went ahead and honored the marked price, but as he rang them up he sent another employee out on the floor to make sure there were no other ski pants marked down like that, so I totally lucked out.  I’ve worn them to go snowshoeing a few times, but we don’t go often enough that they get a lot of use, and I’ve been debating getting rid of them.  After this week, I am definitely keeping them. They’re warm, water-resistant, and they fit me perfectly.  I could walk for hours in them.

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I think I got these gloves before we went on a vacation to Europe right around Christmas – we were going to Portugal, Spain, France, and Italy, and were worried it was going to be really cold.  We actually got lucky with the weather, so  they stayed tucked in my suitcase for most of the trip, until New Year’s Eve in Venice, when it started snowing.  I own a lot of other gloves, so I was thinking of getting rid of some, and I still might.   But I can tell you this pair will not be leaving anytime soon.

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Ron gave me these hiking shoes, and though we do go hiking, I usually just wear tennis shoes with strong treads and they’re more than sufficient.  I’ve thought about reselling these, because I rarely wear them.  But as I walked effortlessly through the snow them these past few days, I was really glad to have them.  They’re staying.

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I own waaaay too many coats.   I definitely have my favorites for winter, and this coat isn’t one of them.  Most of my favorite coats are longer so they cover more of my body and keep more of me warm.  But when paired with the ski pants, this coat is perfect, and the built in hood is nice plus too.  It’s made by Columbia Sportswear, which is a brand that specializes in clothing for extreme cold, and they clearly know what they’re doing when it comes to keeping you warm.

It may only be once in a while that I need these items, but I have decided that they are all well worth saving – even if it means I just pack them in a box labeled “SNOW DAY” and stick it in the basement.  If they can put a smile on my face in the snow, they’re have earned their place in my life.

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