Here are some things I learned during my first winter in West Michigan:
- Weather-related cancellations are rare. They are more likely to happen due to cold than to snow. I understand this because I know that cold can be dangerous, especially to the very young and the very old, but driving on slippery roads with low visibility is also dangerous–just saying.
- Speaking of slippery roads, I learned that I can drive okay in snow but that I will feel much more comfortable in an all-wheel-drive vehicle. I came to this decision when my Mazda 6, which has served me well for nearly 10 years, got stuck in the snow twice in one day in February. I plan to begin shopping for a small SUV soon.
- On the other hand, I learned that I probably don’t need a garage or carport. This had been one of my must-have items when I began home shopping, but I ended up buying a garageless house that fit nearly all of my other needs and desires. I talked about installing a carport, but now I don’t think I need it. Defrosting my windshield in the morning is a minor inconvenience, and anyway, I live close enough to my job to walk when I don’t feel like digging out the car.
- I also learned that you find out who your friendly neighbors are in the winter. During the late January polar vortex, one neighbor whom I hadn’t met saw me struggling to shovel out my driveway and came over with his snowblower. It was too cold to exchange pleasantries, so I still don’t know his name, but I’m grateful to him. Other neighbors helped me push and shovel on that day in February when my car got stuck twice.
- And finally, I learned that I can handle a Michigan winter. So to those of you who were hoping to gloat when I came crying back to Virginia–sorry, you don’t get that satisfaction. Heh, heh.