win-ter-ize: verb to make ready for winter or winter use, and especially resistant or proof against winter weather.
Last autumn, whenever a Local heard that we had never lived through a Steamboat winter, his or her eyes would get big, and he or she would smile a knowing smile. "Just wait," we would hear time and again. Then, at the end of last winter when feet and feet of snow melted to form running streams, the comments turned more positive. "You made it!" "You're Locals for sure now!" And I loved that. I made it. I'm a Local. A Coloradan.
Last year, the irises froze under fallen snow. This year, I learned that I am supposed to cut them back.
Last year, we had to sit the ski season out after buying a house. This year, rented skis are hanging in the garage on a wooden rack that John built from leftover bunk room lumber. Austin's snowboard, boots, and bindings will join them in a couple of weeks.
Last year, we learned how much propane it takes to heat house and home. This year, hopefully, we are better prepared.
Last year, even though I was warm and toasty in all of my layers and hats and snowboots, my fingers froze. Painfully so. This year I am making some Fair Isle knit "warm woolen mittens" lined with cashmere. (Eep!) The yarn was a Christmas present from John to me last year. I am just getting around to knitting with it. Just getting over my fear of colorwork. Now I want to knit everything Fair Isle.
Mountain bikes have been cleaned, maintained, and put away. The fireplace has been dusted and polished. I am looking through soup recipes. The kids need new thermal underwear. We're almost ready.
Our much-desired mudroom has been reworked. Don't you love that "Before" picture? Real life. Real mess. Real disorganization. John kept saying he thought he could make the space more efficient, so he took down all of the shelving and covered the walls with a fresh coat of paint to start with a blank slate. We discovered that the back wall had never been finished out with a baseboard, so he cut one to length, and...nailed the baseboard right into a copper water pipe.
"Lisa!" he called me. "Listen! Do you hear that? I think I hit something!" Yep. We found the trickle of water running out down under the floor, down the basement ceiling, down the concrete wall in the mechanical room, and into a puddle on the concrete floor. It could have been so, so much worse. The original builders hadn't placed the pipe away from the sheetrock as they were supposed to have. Now after watching a few YouTube videos, John knows how to repair water pipes. That amazing man. I am one lucky girl.
He repaired the wall and left himself an access. (He likes to check that his repair is good and isn't leaking.) The baseboard went back on, the old shelving repurposed into a different and more efficient configuration. Once we can purchase and hang a few hooks on the back wall, we will have another house project completed. Soon it will see constant use. Wet snow boots, jackets, and gloves. For now I have a clean mudroom, and a picture on the blog to document it. Ha!
Snow is in the forecast for Monday. Winter is coming. I still can't believe how quickly autumn passes here. I have promised the kids a Snow Day from school when the first good, big snowstorm hits. I hope I never lose the anticipation I feel in October for the snow. I had better not. 'Cause I'm a Local now.