Monday, January 25, 2010

Shiver Me Timbers

It's dang cold outside.  The temperature is -21 celsius at the moment, and the wind and blowing snow make it look and feel nasty and blizzardy out there.

This morning, though school buses were cancelled across the city, and though snow made the road hard to see at times, Matthew and I braved the terrible roads to get to the concert hall, where we'd signed up for a homeschooling field trip (to listen to a 'magic' concert put on by our city's symphony orchestra).   It took twice as long as usual to get downtown but I figured it would be worth it to hear a good concert.  I planned to splurge and park underground in the heated lot under the concert hall so that we would be toasty warm from car to concert.   Well, unfortunately, the underground parking was closed for some reason, so we were forced to find a parking spot on the street, two blocks from where we needed to be.  Now, two blocks might not sound like much to those of you who don't live here, but let me assure you that two blocks in blizzard-like conditions can be very slow and hard to walk...not to mention cold.  By the time we'd walked the first block (in parkas, neck warmers, boots,  hats, hoods, mittens...essentially covered in gear from head to foot), Matthew was crying from the cold and I could hardly breathe with the wind snatching my air every time I took a gulp.  Nonetheless, I picked up my forty-four pound side-kick (who likely weighed a full ten pounds more when one accounts for the outerwear he had on), and soldiered on through the knee-high snow on the street.  I could barely see ten feet in front of me.

Finally, after what seemed like an hour but was probably only about seven or eight minutes, we burst through the front doors of the concert hall and stood there, blocking the doorway, just luxuriating in the warmth creeping through our clothes and onto our skin.  The only good thing about the cold weather here is that it is a very dry cold, so that once you remove yourself from the cold outdoors, you warm up extremely quickly (it's not like when I lived and worked in London and Toronto, Ontario, when the cold seemed to creep into my bones, and it would take an hour to warm up again).  I felt proud of us arriving, and we were even early.  As we stood there rubbing our hands, we noticed that the lights were dim inside the inner foyer doors and that people standing around us were actually putting coats on.  Puzzled, I went to the box office and asked if this was the right place to be for the event that we'd signed up for.  "Yes," she answered, "it's the right place all right, but unfortunately we've had to cancel the performance due to the blizzard conditions."

Matthew and I looked at each other.  Matthew dramatically clapped a hand to his forehead and pronounced precisely what I was thinking:  "you have got to be kidding."  We gave ourselves another ten minutes to enjoy the warmth of the heating vent inside the foyer, and then did the whole thing in reverse.  I'm not sure, today, why we moved back here!


  1. oh dear, i had a nasty feeling reading that you'd wind up with a cancellation..after all that braving the blizzard too! I can relate-we're in 'northernish' Saskatchewan, and wowee, did we get a storm this weekend. (must have then headed out to you!) ah well, you and matthew have an adventure story to share!

  2. Hi Ruth,
    You and your son are so brave to come to the Concert Hall in the blizzard on Monday! My sincerest apologies that we didn't get the word out on time. An email went out at about 9:15am but it may have come too late for you. I hope that you'll be able to attend the rescheduled concert on March 2!
    Tanya Derksen
    Director of Education and Outreach
    Winnipeg Symphony Orchestra