Cardinal rule: if you’re not sure, it’s pee.

When New York City is blanketed in snow, for the first five minutes it’s beautiful. A snowy wonderland, surrounded be people enamored with the fluffy, clean white layer, bringing a calm stillness to the busy city. Quiet, and introspective, and still. And then the snow turns to sludge, your favorite pants are caked in 4 inches of honestly-I’m-not-sure-if-that’s-pee-or-just-dirt and public transit shuts down, despite being removed from the actual weather. It’s a rite of passage to survive a New York winter with boots intact and a red-hot hatred for anyone predicting a “wintry mix.” 

Puddles. Puddles everywhere.

Puddles. Puddles everywhere.

While sidestepping another frozen puddle this morning (see title), I gave a silent prayer of thanks to Hunter boots and a warm hat. I won’t claim to be an expert in New York winters, this only being my fourth, but I have picked up a few tips along the way. Here’s hoping someone can learn from my many, many, winter-related PLDs:

Poor choice: no snow boots

“I think I’m just going to wear my Uggs today, they’ve probably cleared the snow.” Nope. First, anything that isn’t waterproof is a poor decision. Never assume the streets are cleared because normally they’re not. And never, ever think that Uggs are an acceptable choice for a snowy day or the days after. They may be comfortable, but those little shoe-monsters are the WORST in the snow. They’re slippery, they’re terribly uncomfortable when they get wet after stepping through the unavoidable street puddle and they’re impossible to clean. It’s worth spending the money on Wellies or snow boots or basically anything that isn’t suede Australian fluffy boots (because all things considered, the Aussies really know about snow).

Poor choice: No doormat.

I am embarrassed to admit that it took me three years (plus) to get a doormat in my apartment. Before this past January, I just tracked that dirt and nastiness THROUGH MY BEDROOM to my shoe closet. Shudder. It took waking up one morning to find the cat licking a puddle that had formed around my rainboots to realize that something needed to change.  One trip to Bed, Bath and Beyond and $20 later, I am the proud owner of a doormat that catches all of the nastiness of outside and keeps it contained. Life changing? Yes. Yes it is.

Actual game changer.

Actual game changer.

Poor choice: not checking the weather.

On average, I’m outside and walking for at least 45 minutes a day. The last time I skipped the glance at my weather app, New York had one of the biggest snowstorms of the season. Walking home from work in 10 inches of snow was a treat. I was in a lighter winter coat and Uggs, sans gloves or umbrella, and to top it all off, my entire block was un-shoveled until the next day. We all have smartphones now. Just check the weather.

As we’re posed for even more snowstorms in the next week, I can almost guarantee I’ll do something to inspire a Part II on this. Until then, enjoy the snowstorm and don’t eat yellow snow. Or, if you’re a New Yorker, just don’t eat snow.

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