That time I learned that hands can get chapped

If you listen closely, you can hear all the midwesterners laughing in the distance as they read that title. (Along with anyone else who has dealt with actual cold weather).

There’s a learning curve when you move to a completely different climate than you’re used to. I’m a Florida girl, born and raised… I’ve spent a few summers in different US cities, but this past winter was my first *real* winter outside of my home state.

Just in time for that nasty polar vortex, of course. Yay! 

Anyway, being the “research till you fall asleep on your keyboard” type that I am, I did look a few things up before we made the big move. One person suggested a good lotion to deal with the dry winter air, and I filed it away in the part of my brain I love to store important things that I’ll completely forget about. Big mistake.

Fast forward a couple of months, we’re all moved in and we get our first big snow. After a few sad attempts to make my first snowman (I later learned there are different types of snow. “Of course it was crumbling it’s not snowman snow” …How was I to know? In Florida it’s just rain!) I decide I’ll be a good neighbor and shovel the sidewalk. All goes well, I think… but then later that evening, I notice my hands have what looks almost like a rash on them.

My mind races with possibilities. Chemical burn from cleaning products? Or am I finally getting psoriasis (family history of it)? Is there something in the water? WHAT IS WRONG WITH MY HANDS?!

I know, it seems obvious now, but I can be a bit of an airhead.

I pulled the old “If I pretend it’s not there, maybe it will just go away.” and went to bed. The next day, we went out for the day – just driving around and checking out the area. As the day went on, my hands got progressively worse until they were (TMI, sorry) cracking and bleeding. My husband suggested it may just be the cold drying them out, and though I was doubtful, I had him pull into CVS so we could grab some intense lotion.

…and wouldn’t ya know, it worked. Pretty much instantaneous relief. I realized in that moment that I have A LOT to learn about functioning in a real winter. Honestly, the concept of chapped skin just from the air was so far out to me that I thought it MUST be something overly dramatic.

Like I said… I can be an airhead.

So, what’s the point of this whole story? Mostly, if I’m going to suffer a mild misfortune I figure the silver lining is we can all get a good laugh about it.

But also, sometimes we can get down on ourselves about not being an expert on this or that, or maybe not feeling like we’re fluent in anything in particular. Here’s a reminder that that no matter who you are, that’s not true – no matter where you come from, you have a particular skill set and body of knowledge that you’ve gained just by merely living your life wherever you are. Just like Floridians don’t think twice about a gator passing through the golf course or Florida Man doing what Florida man does, a northerner knows how to navigate a frozen road without a second thought, or what kind of snow is *just right* for building that damn snowman.

And further, there’s a writing lesson here – there’s a big difference between researching something, and actually living it. I’d been to this area before, and thought it’d be a great setting Sanguine Malum, but I’m glad I’m actually living here to try to absorb some of the smaller stuff while Chorus Mortem comes together. Learning through living… the info sticks a bit better than when you’re just staring at a Wikipedia page. Does that mean you should move every time you set your story in a different place? LOL nah. But if you know someone who lives in the area, maybe talk to them and pick their brain for any small details they can add to help your story feel that much more real. 

Alright, this is getting long so I’m signing off here for now. Gotta get back to the housework I’ve been putting off all morning. Thanks for reading!

❤ Lila



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