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  Thursday January 29th, 2015    

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Watch out fur the cold (02/07/2007)
By Frances Edstrom

Husbands always seem to have advice. Most of it is useless, but now and again, a gem appears, and you have to know when to latch on to it.

My father-in-law's advice on how to be comfortable in cold weather was to "Just relax!" It worked for him, I guess, since he was known to have left his overcoat in various coatracks in the most uncomfortably cold weather. He had taken the art of relaxing to amazing heights. Once he fell asleep during a proctologist's exam.

My husband's advice has always been to "Dress for the cold." Easy for him to say, as he doesn't mind being seen in a blaze orange cap with ear flaps and camo gloves. But when the mercury began to drop into the minuses, and since I can't yet run from heated space to heated space, I thought I might see if some of his ideas would keep me just a little warmer. He is a great believer in long underwear, so I got myself some silk long johns and undershirts from an outdoor gear catalogue.

Guess what? They really do help! I can now stand to walk between the car and the office or house and be only a little uncomfortable. My office, which suffers from rattly windows that date not from the last century but probably the one before, is always an icebox (except in the summer, when it is an oven), so I went to the hardware store and bought a space heater. That and my long undies make being at work a pleasure once more.

Another great piece of cold weather clothing is a fur coat. I discovered this back in the late seventies, when the wind went racing right through my woolen coat. I placed an ad in our paper saying, "Wanted, fur coat." I got several calls, and was able to buy a coat that fit and didn't look too much like a hibernating bear for $25. I kept the thing for years, and from time to time would take it to the local furrier to have it stitched up here and there. He once referred to it as "Old Rover."

Which brings me to another story. One of the furs that presented itself to me after I ran my ad was a black shirred something or other cape, which I just had to have, and shelled out another $20 for.

We had unfortunately recently put our black Lab to sleep, a rather emotional experience for our very young daughter. I don't think she had much of an idea of what it meant to put a dog to sleep, especially since when she asked her dad where the dog had gone to sleep, he answered literally, "Goodview," which is where the vet was located.

So on the day I picked up the black fur cape, I threw it in the back seat of the car and went to pick her up from her day care home. She got in her car seat in the back, and was uncharacteristically silent.

"Is there something wrong?" I asked her.

She pointed to the black cape in a bundle on the seat next to her, and said in a tiny voice, "Mom, is that Augie?"

I reassured her that it was not, that Augie was safely in doggie heaven, and this was just an old fur coat. I pretty much forgot about it, but have noticed over the years that she does not wear fur.

I dragged out my old fur coat (not the original, which would be a really old fur coat by now) when the temperatures took a dive, and am amazed at how warm it keeps me, especially sitting down in a cold car. Of course, I nearly had a bad accident, wearing the coat, when I slipped off my plastic mesh office chair, barely catching onto the desk to break my fall. Got to watch that.

Now, if I could only dress for the heat with such success. My old college roommate wore a battery-operated fan around her neck on a string at her son's wedding, and she said it worked wonderfully. I'm not quite there yet (or ever!). I'm also at that age when things such as short shorts and halter tops are just too last century for a number of reasons.

Oh, well, I think I have some time before I have to address that problem.

Stay warm! 


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