Memories of past winters dog former New Yorker

By Ryn Gargulinski: CNJ columnist

The hazards of winter have already hit our humble abode. Sure, they are not like New York winter hazards — slushy subways, frozen taxi seats, yellow snow — but they are hazardous all the same.

Actually, I was lucky enough to avoid the foremost hazard, which would have occurred had I listened to some of my pals.

When I first told fellow New Yorkers I was moving to New Mexico, those that weren’t under the delusion it was a separate country had the distinct belief that the Land of Enchantment never gets cold.

“What are you going to do with your hats and your gloves?” asked one pal. “Can I have your faux leopard coat?” chimed another.

Thankfully, all are stuffed in my closet somewhere (the hats and coat, not the friends). They are in a box labeled “do not sell” amidst other boxes labeled “donate if you don’t wear by October” and “cool pants.”

Unfortunately the “cool pants” box is filled with cool skirts and a velvet cape, but I’ll get to the hat and gloves eventually. I already broke out the faux fur.

Speaking of fur, another winter woe is the dogs. The goats seem to be kicking around OK, particularly after we bust the ice of their water trough each morning. However, the dogs act as if it is a major crime to put them outside for even a millisecond. Actually, longhaired Lulu is fine with it. She even seems to be enjoying chasing her breath when it comes out in puffs that she can see.

The other guy, Scratch, who has begun to whine at practically everything, whines extra at the cold. We have to give him some leeway as he is a short-haired pooch, but he continues to whine when we dress him in his snazzy aqua blue winter vest. We are wondering if his vocal cords will freeze. We’d go out to test them but alas, he’s run away once again. Perhaps he’s scouting for another vest in a color less conspicuous than aqua. We did let him stay inside for an extended period recently, but that ended in poop on the carpet.

Winterizing your house is not easy as it seems either. For instance, my boyfriend suggested shrink wrapping the windows, but I learned that this involves a lengthy, tedious process.

First you have to actually count the number of windows in the house. Then you have to measure them, cut the plastic, make sure the plastic doesn’t fold in on itself like plastic always does, re-cut the plastic and then comes the final stage of blow drying the stuff to the glass.

We do not own a blow dryer so, the heck with this whole thing. It sounds worse, even, than painting the ceiling (which I despise because I end up with speckles on my glasses).
Frankly, I must admit New Mexico winters, which I haven’t even experienced yet as the season is still more than 30 days away, already seems like a step up from the East Coast kind.

The wind, although brutal, doesn’t shimmy through narrow building alleys and, if it snows, I heard it doesn’t stick around long enough to turn yellow.

I also heard New Mexico winter lasts about 10 to 15 days, whereas New Yorkers wear their faux fur for up to seven months.

And there is a good thing about winter — we burn off tons of extra calories to pump up our body heat. Of course, that helpful activity pretty much breaks the scale when we end up eating large bowls laden heavy with chili and beans boiled bubbly with a ham bone. Or don’t forget the seasonal treats. My boyfriend already bought a fruitcake (the goats loved it).
All right, so the winter food — not to mention weird coffee flavors such as pumpkin and autumn spice — is the only highlight. The cold is definitely the low point (pun intended).
In fact, to avoid it, I moved to New Mexico.

Ryn Gargulinski writes for Freedom Newspapers of New Mexico. Contact her at 505-461-1952 or by e-mail at