Sunday August 31, 2014

Coping with the cold from the cheap seats


View from the Cheap Seats is kind of an extension of the newsroom. Whenever our three regular reporters, Calvin Daniels, Thom Barker and Randy Brenzen are in the building together, it is frequently a site of heated debate. This week: How are you coping with the cold winter?


I’m now on the shady side of 50, and every one of those years lived right here in Saskatchewan.

That means I am well aware winters on the Canadian Prairies are chilly, all right make that cold, affairs.

But this current edition of winter seems particularly chilly. The Prairie wind has meant repeated mornings where windchill temps have pushed south of minus-30.

It is, by my recollection, the coldest winter in my aging memory banks.

So what does one do to combat cold day, after cold day, after colder day?

That is one of those questions which seems to be tossed around on cold days. The idea of cabin fever persists, and yet I have no clue why.

We are buffered today from winter by technology.

The car starts for many by remote control, meaning it is toasty warm when we climb into it. The garage door opens with a click of a switch.

But even without such techie miracles, winter even at its harshest is a time for each of us to indulge all those little interests we have.

Most have interests we would much rather delve into than go to work, they call them hobbies.

In my world the list of hobbies I am involved with is actually longer than the time I have to devote to them.

So cold weekends and long winter evenings when the wind howls outside are ideal for indulging in our passions.

There is a pile of books on my side table just waiting for me to have time to slip into the world contained in their pages. So far, according to my log at, I am now into my 14th book of the current year, and I haven’t felt the cold reading a single page of any of them.

Then there is my gaming passion. There is always a miniature to glue, frustrating as the Drake minis I am currently working on might be, it is something winter is perfect for.

I love to fish, and while ice fishing might run counter to the stay warm theory of this article, learning to tie flies is perfect for winter. It is quite comfortable and definitely enjoyable hunched over the tying vice trying to create something which will attract a pike.

Mix in some decent television, fine series such as Elementary, Foyle’s War and Blacklist, are worth time each week, and getting through winter, cold, or not, is just that hard.

So let the wind blow, and the temperatures plunge, finding ways to while away the winter hours in warmth is simply not that hard.

— Calvin Daniels


How am I dealing with the cold winter?


No, I am not in denial that it is cold. I am denying there is anything unusual about it.

It’s Saskatchewan. It’s winter. It’s cold.

Since when did we get so bent out of shape about it?

Sure, one of our favourite pastimes in this part of the world is whining about the cold, but that takes second place to our number one pastime of being proud about how tough we are compared to the wusses in the Lower Mainland, Toronto and the U.S.

Granted, we may have gotten a tad spoiled over the past few years, which have been a bit milder, but this has just been a normal winter to me.

It’s not like we don’t all have insulated homes and furnaces and cars and coats and hats and long johns.

Maybe that has something to do with our collective eroding tolerance to the cold.

But how about the good things that come with the cold such as blue skies and sunshine? I’ve barely had to shovel my driveway all year.

Then there’s the privilege of living in a prosperous country with benefits such as cheap flights to the Caribbean.

I’ve always liked winter for the activities too, skiing, skating, tobogganing. Last year, I discovered snowmobiling.

That’s not to say, I won’’t let out the occasional yelp of “crap, it’s cold,” but you won’t hear any sustained complaints from me.

— Thom Barker

Think hot

How do I cope with the chilly winter weather?

First off I must mention that this is my first Canadian winter in over two years.

I was lucky enough to miss the last two winters due to living in the United Kingdom, where a cold day is anywhere from five above to five below zero.

There are several ways that I personally cope with the frigid cold of the Canadian, or more specifically, Saskatchewan, winter.

Hot chocolate.  I’ve never particularly liked any hot beverage (I’ve never had coffee in my life and tea is, in my mind, a joke). But recently I’ve found a liking for hot chocolate. Especially the hot chocolate sold at the Kinsmen Rink (it’s a godsend in that place!).

Another way I deal with the cold is to have nice, long, hot showers that chase the chills away from the bones.

If it’s really cold I search for jobs in places such as the Dominican Republic, Australia or Cuba and sort of will myself to get warm.

The fourth, and quite possibly best, way to cope with the cold is to simply play with the dogs. Literally. Find yourself a furry friend and keep yourself entertained and warm all throughout winter (and spring…  And summer…  And autumn… And repeat).

While I complain about the cold (as do most people in this country) I must say: I do take pride in continually surviving the frigid winters. As does pretty much everyone in Canada.

— Randy Brenzen



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