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Gill always wants to come home to a white Christmas. The past few have been anything but. This year, however, her wish was granted…snow and ice everywhere. It served to remind her that living here and coping as a true Canadian takes fortitude…I’d say balls, but that would be crude. True but crude.

Gill experienced firsthand this year the camaraderie felt in neighborhoods when everyone is out chipping and shoveling so they can make a break for it and re-enter the outside world in their cars. Up and down the street, people were sharing stories, exchanging the newest in shovel technology, raising fists at the snowplow driver who had just deposited feet of icy rubble at the end of their driveways–the ones they had just cleaned. If any one gesture marks a true Canuck, that’s it. Of course, there’s always one in the crowd who, after shaking her head at the rubble, throws up her hands, and tears in her eyes, marches back into her garage, closing the door with a thud. Apparently she has chosen to hibernate until March.

Gill will be back soon in the land of Biblical rains, having learned nothing, I fear, of the spirit of happily getting through, a smile on one’s face, the spirit of the True North. Perhaps it is true that the prolonged damp, grey, and sunless skies of the miserable little island where she resides have infused the residents with a certain kind of resigned misery. Of all the things she picks up while living there, I hope that’s not one of them.

I worried when she began to rant about the gale force winds in the UK. That was the point at which I dragged her outside to look at my roof. She refuses to believe my concern about its longevity, arguing that the UK has stronger winds. Well, tell that to the shingles lying on the ground. Everytime the wind howls, I rush out to see several shingles, tips up, looking not unlike a mallard duck’s upended curly-cue tail feathers. (I thought the duck reference was appropriate since they line up on the peak of my roof. Aha, just had a thought! Maybe it’s the duck poop that has melted the adhesive attaching the shingles and NOT just wind.)

We made it through the recent ice storm with no power outages. In my efforts to be prepared for such an eventuality, I had wood stacked up by the fireplace and had distributed my old fur coats to everyone just in case…making sure I had one in reserve to throw over the canaries. With the furs,  gas barbecue, and fireplace at the ready, I assured Gill she would not die of exposure whilst in Canada. We might have died of boredom, not being able to access the internet, television, or anything else electronic, but that’s where having a house full of dogs comes in handy. If they aren’t busy grazing the counters, opening the fridge to help themselves (yes, The Pig,L’il Sis’ beagle CAN do that), peeing on the carpet or running laps around the living room, they love a good game of catch or tug. The cleanup after all that will ensure that nobody has time to be bored.

Of course, all this ice business has provided Gill with some great tales to tell when she returns to the UK, land of weather wimps. After all, they can’t de-ice their planes because they don’t HAVE de-icer. We can’t because the de-icer is FROZEN! Who has balls now?