Survival instincts

It is cold outside today.

It’s the sort of cold day that I’ve written about before — so cold you shiver just contemplating going outside. When I checked the weather app on my phone early this morning, it informed me that an extreme cold weather warning was in effect.

In bold white letters on a background of red emblazoned across the middle of the app’s screen so you could not possibly miss it.

The wind chill was -40 in the oh-dark-thirty hour, and -37 when that girl we call B left for school. The sun is blazing out of a clear blue sky, giving the illusion of a beautiful day, but I know the truth, and the truth is bitterly, bitterly cold.

Which is why our eldest child took one look outside and announced that since it was a PD day for him, he was going to spend the day battling tanks, chasing aliens, racing cars, and other such things on the Xbox.

A good plan for a day like today.

Our youngest child though? I have to question her sanity. She hummed her way through her morning routine, not having the day off like her brother, then called out a cheerful “Bye, Mom!” seconds before she slammed the door closed behind her and ran down the road to school. By the time I made it from the room I was in to the front door in hopes of a hug, or at least a shouted “Love you! Have a great day!” down the street, she was already well out of sight.

School is only a couple of blocks away – a 10 minute walk or so if you’re chatting with friends, shorter if you’re in a hurry, and less than 5 if you flat out run and cut through the park for good measure.

But the park is buried under a meter or so of snow pack, making it harder to take that shortcut. And when you have to walk the long way around the park, it is a good 10 minutes at least, though less if you’re walking fast.

I do so very much hope that she was walking fast, for when I turned away from the door (and the bitterly cold air that was pouring into the house at high speed, leaving a cloud of whitish mist in its wake), I spied a pair of dark gray B-sized snowpants still neatly hanging from their hanger.

She left the house without her snowpants, dressed only in her favourite pair of dark green cargo pants decorated a-la-Kaylee.

The Man We Call Dad and I looked at each other and sighed, knowing that with teenagers, some lessons just have to be learned the hard way.

But recess will be indoors, given the temperature, and it’s slowly warming up besides. By the time she heads home again this afternoon, it will be a balmy -19 with the wind chill at a mere -28.

And hopefully our B will have learned a valuable lesson about the importance of having healthy survival instincts, though I have a sneaking suspicion that we’ll be having the same discussion about the importance of dressing for the weather for a few more years to come.

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