Last week I got home from work and started to unzip
the extra-warm down coat with the faux fur hood that I've been
wearing every day since Thanksgiving.
The zipper was stuck. No, it was more than stuck.
It was broken. And for the four frozen days it took for my local
dry cleaners to replace the zipper, I realized how much my dear
parka meant to me and my cold commute.
It's been quite a winter for Chicagoans. I moved
here back in 1994 and it's definitely the longest, coldest, most
brutal winter I've ever experienced. The weather's been so
unrelenting I'm tired of talking about it. You're tired of reading
about it. But stick with me.
While the arrival of the polar vortex coincided
with our move to a new house (yay, insulation and new windows), it
turns out that with a full time job and two elementary school-aged
kids, I can't stay inside reading and sipping tea and bourbon all
Fortunately, I found some coping strategies.The
most important one is my Uniqlo HEATTECH leggings and long sleeve
shirts. They're soft, incredibly insulating and they don't add
bulk. I've also invested in tall, cozy Timberland boots that lend a
trendy dog-sledding chic to my work ensembles. Top with a sweater,
a down coat, mittens, a pom-pom hat that only minimally squashes my
curls and a hand-knit cowl scarf pulled all the way up to my eyes,
and I'm ready to walk to the Blue Line. Once I'm there, it could be
20 minutes before a cold-delayed train arrives, giving me plenty of
time to melt my mascara with the warm, steamy breath trapped
against my face. If there's a silver lining, it's that my lunch
stays cold during my commute.
So it was with great relief that I finally made it
back to King Spa in Niles last weekend. For three hours I walked on
heated floors, sweated in steam rooms, soaked in hot tubs, dozed in
saunas and filled my belly with hot noodle soup. It was just what I
needed to steel myself for six more weeks of winter.
Alma Klein has been blogging since 2006. She works full-time as a creative director at a shopper marketing agency in Chicago and lives in the practically-perfect village of Oak Park with her husband Josh and elementary school-aged daughters.
See more of Alma's stories here.
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