newyorksubalien has evolved. New city, new life, new blog

newyorksubalien has evolved. New city, new life, new blog.

Yes, I’m still socially-insecure and still deemed too primitive a life form for a bank account. I still can’t say ‘water’ correctly and voice-recognition software still doesn’t understand my number 8.

Meanwhile Superalien is still as super (at least in my eyes), Male Mini-Me is taller than all of us and Mini-Mum has returned to the home of the Mini, only popping back from London to sleep, be fed and help balance out testosterone levels.

But in my new home of Chicago, I can at least lay claim to my own subgroup. I’m now Chi-rish as in Chicago Irish. Apparently the hyphen is important so as not to be confused with Chinese Irish or the town in Armenia. But I’m trusting my readers not to be churlish and to forgive these, my (hyphen-less) Chirish chatters…..

Friday, January 24, 2014

Defcon duvets and chattering Chirish teeth - it's winter in Chicago

So you may have heard it’s been a tad cold here in Chirish-land recently. So cold that I should have renamed my blog

It’s really all our fault. I've mentioned before the arrival of the Sub-alien family on any new planet seems also to involve the arrival of other 'sub's as in subnormal winter temperatures (New York), subnormal summer temperatures (France), even subnormal rainfall (Brazil). And sure enough, our first real winter here and what do we bring - polar vortices with temperatures so low the whole Centigrade versus Fahrenheit thing becomes immaterial.

Not all of us are complaining. With 2 snow days off school already this year, Male Mini-me is enjoying that Christmas-Eve-like excitement on the night of a big snowfall or freeze, never quite knowing whether he will be granted that extra-special lie-in.

Except that he won’t. Because, according to the City of Chicago Municipal Code, all good citizens of Chiberia need to ensure their sidewalks are clear of snow and ice by 10 am if snow stops falling after 4pm. Or if the snow stops before 4pm, 3 hours later. Except for Sunday when you don’t have to clear. So that would make it a Snowy Day Snow Day if you see what I mean.

Anyway, Superalien has made it clear there is little point in having mini aliens if they’re not the ones shoveling up the fluffy stuff. Which didn’t go down too well until last weekend’s trip to the local DIY store resulted in the reincarnation of the snow blower left in our yard. And then the whole little-boy-playing-with-loud-machines-and spraying-snow-everywhere-thing kicked in. Oh and Male Mini-me wanted a go too.

For the females in the family, the cold poses another problem.  How to look pleasing when it’s freezing.

Hats had never featured in my wardrobe until we moved to New York where they became an odd-day accessory. Here they are an every-day necessity which of course gives rise to the problems of the non-rise ie flat hat hair. 

I’ve been fascinated by how fellow Chiberiennes have embraced the battle of fashion versus freezing, utilising ear-warmers, head bands and snoods to fend off the effects of minus 15 degrees Celsius. True their hair does indeed seem to retain some body and height but those little white icicles around each strand may have something to do with it. Personally I think Superalien has it right – easiest way to solve the problem of hat hair is lose the hair, not the hat!

And then there is the coat issue. I was reading the other day about what makes a real Chicagoan and one of the benchmarks was your choice of winter coat. The first stage is realizing that what has served elsewhere as your cozy winter coat for the last upteen years is only an autumn coat here - or a Defcon 3, as I prefer to call it.

You realize why everyone has those bulky duvet things so you buy one, a fashionable enough version, not too Michelin-Man-like and falling above the knee. You decide to go for a walk by the lake to celebrate your immersion. And then you realize that this is merely the Defcon 2 version and that you're only half-way there – you’re Chic but not Chicagoan. In fact you’re not 'a-go-an' anywhere. Because your legs have frozen.

No, for the true Chicagoan the only viable winter coat is the Defcon 1 - a long, duck down coat. As in it’s so long you have to duck down to find the zips at the bottom. Not exactly the coolest of looks but who wants to be cool with a wind chill of minus 30 degrees Celsius!

Chicago - the ultimate chillin' out city. Especially in the winter.