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  • Kate Mihevc Edwards PT, DPT

The Cold Tundra: Upstate N.Y.

I was born in Upstate New York. Aside from there, I also lived in Vermont, Boston and even Chicago. Then I moved to Atlanta. I love the cold weather and complain about the heat the moment the temperature is above 70 degrees or there is any humidity in the air. Not only do I like the cold but it also makes me feel better. My heart rate stays lower, and I can be more active with less fatigue.


We recently went back to Upstate N.Y. to visit family and move some things into our new house. It seems a bit crazy, but we bought a house there to be closer to my family and so that I can get out of the Atlanta heat in the summer. At this point, we may have to live on ramen noodles for a while, but I know it will be worth it come July and August!


We decided to drive up to N.Y. since we had a lot of stuff to bring to the house. Brian's father Walter came with us to help split up the driving - it was really helpful. When we pulled up in the U-Haul (and my car) at 6:30 p.m. after two days and sixteen hours of driving, we arrived to a full house! Most of my uncles, aunts, many of my cousins, my grandma, parents, friends of my parents and one of my brothers were there to help us unpack. I love coming from a big family that helps each other all of the time. It was truly amazing, and the U-Haul was unpacked in less than an hour! Living in Atlanta we have a great community of friends, but there is something different about being in a small town.


We were all so excited to get to N.Y. that we didn't even remember some of the basic things we needed for winter...like gloves, windshield wiper fluid that doesn't freeze, snow tires and much more!






Needless to say, the North wrecked us.


Our all-wheel drive SUV was no match for the bitterly cold (-17 degrees) northern winter. A few days after we got there, we packed up the car and started driving from our house to my mom's house in V.T., but about 25 minutes from home, I lost the ability to turn the steering wheel, the car started to slow down and I had to pull off of the road. I nearly turned the car off, but luckily Brian stopped me. Who turns off a running car in below freezing weather anyway!?


We sat on the side of the road for several minutes contemplating what to do as Andy yelled from the back, "Why did we stop? I want to go to V.T.!" I tried to call my dad, my step mom and even my brother Joe - but no one answered. Luckily, Uncle Tom answered his phone! After a few minutes, Brian decided he would try to drive the car back toward our house. He manhandled the car back onto the road toward home. We passed a car repair shop about 10 minutes later and stopped. The alternator belt was shredded and idler pulley had cracked and broken into pieces (what the hell is that!!!). So needless to say we called my family, and my cousin came to get us.


The repair shop worked quickly, and we were able to get the car back that night. However, the next day our windshield wiper fluid froze (rookie mistake). But of course this didn't happen in the driveway - no it happened while we were driving to Nora's house! Every second that went by my annoyance grew, and I could barely see, so we stopped for some Windex and paper towels. I was so annoyed sitting in the car that I kept pushing the button for the windshield fluid to come out like a crazy lady, and suddenly the windshield fluid came out of the driver's side. Yay! The down side - the pressure built up in the line enough that it cracked and fluid was coming out of multiple places it shouldn't and not many of the places it should!


A few days later when we did make it to V.T. The weather warmed up to a balmy eight degrees, so Brian decided to try to fix the fluid. After several minutes in the cold, with no gloves on, Brian and my stepfather Keith resorted to fixing it with duct tape! It actually worked. Then several days later Brian mentioned his hands were hurting, and when I looked they were red and cracking. He got mild frostbite!


Of course, there were other rookie mistakes and consequences for being in the freezing cold without acclimating first.


We didn't have snow tires. My father took one look at the tires and said, "You can see Abe Lincoln's head Katherine- you need new tires." Then when it snowed we had a very difficult time going to his house since it is on a steep hill. We even were sliding around the grocery store parking lot hoping not to crash into someone else. I think snow tires will be on the list for next winter!


I forgot how dry it was in Upstate N.Y. Brian and I had a horrible time with cracked hands. It was so dry that our fingers were cracking and bleeding no matter how much water we drank or lotion we put on. Sounds pleasant right?


Then there was the house. It has a lot of windows and no drapes. It was so cold in our kitchen that I barely wanted to cook! Luckily, Pottery Barn has overnight shipping, and we could at least get drapes for the kitchen! In the rest of the house we wore slippers and layers and snuggled up in down comforters.





But despite our many "adventures" and difficulties, we had a great time with our family and loved our house. When it warmed up a little we went sledding. We were able to spend a lot of time with my family - which I love. Now we are looking forward to going back home to N.Y... but this time in the summer!


#KateMihevcEdwards #NewYork #Snow

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