let’s just take it slow in this home on ice

I’ve been cold my whole life and I I’ve never made any great effort to help my situation. Even now, at the age of 39, I have to remind myself that there are options and I’m a big girl – I can buy thicker socks and not keep wearing the ones I got from the dollar store 15 years ago. Like the aforementioned heated vest for the motorbike that my husband bought me. I told him I was going to return it — I probably wouldn’t wear it often enough to justify the cost. I not only wore it every day during the winter, I wore it in the summer, I wore it to the dog park, I wore it going out to eat, I wore it in the house, watching tv. I never, ever would have thought of purchasing something like that. I like thin, tight material, tshirts, layering. I’m short, so never wanted to bulk myself up. There’s a photo somewhere of me skiing as a teenager. I am wearing black jeans and a pretty light-weight jacket. I basically look like I could have been walking down the street in, say, the autumn. All the other we-ski-every-year types are wearing the puffy snow pants and fancy hats and goggles. I went to college in Wisconsin, but can’t remember wearing any shoes other than Vans and Adidas. No snow boots? Seriously? If I weren’t sick, always had warm feet, had endless money and didn’t have a skeleton to worry about, I would wear very high heels every day. I love being 5’5″. I love strutting and sashaying.

My best friend and I used to get dressed for school under the covers while still in bed. We’d dash across the room to grab any article of clothing that wasn’t within reach and dive back under the duvet, artfully swapping our sleepwear for our school clothes while lying down. There was never enough hot water in anyone’s house in Ireland for multiple people to bathe and you certainly wouldn’t luxuriate under a scalding shower for 15 minutes to get your core temperature up. We were both diagnosed with Raynaud’s, too. My Mother used to say “Che gelida manina!” whenever she took my hand. To this day, I relate cold hands with jellyfish because my childhood brain latched on to the “geli-” part.

I’ll never forget going to Edinburgh with my husband in the infancy of our relationship. I never made an effort to get good socks or invest in warm, practical boots or a proper winter coat or hat or gloves… I dressed the same way in winter and summer, I just took off a few layers. Walking around Edinburgh castle, my toes were bloodless greyish-white blocks of ice. We stopped every so often so he could put my feet under his shirt on his stomach, rubbing them gently in the hopes that they wouldn’t fall off. It was useless. Nothing can really bring back the blood except hot water. And then the blood pools in my feet until they’re hot and swollen and fit to explode.

A few years ago, I bought Uggs, not caring anymore that I’m 5 feet tall and they have no heel. I started wearing wooly tights under my jeans, remembering that’s what we used to do when we were kids. Then I bought a hat with fuzzy ear flaps because, if Frances McDormand could pull it off, so could I.

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And last week, I got my first heated blanket. Well, heated mattress pad. I only turn the heat on on one side so I can move to different areas of the bed depending on whether I am in fever or chill mode. My Mother has always had an electric blanket, I’m not sure why it took me so long to decide to get one. For Christmas, I want one of these:

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I am grateful for hot water and my bath tub.

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