Last year we sat in Indianapolis trying to decide if we would take my husband, The Turk’s, relocation and start over in New England, The Turk pro-New England and me not so sure. Our evening conversations looked something like this:
Me: “It snows there for like 8 months!”
The Turk: “You born in Iowa. That is like tundra. You will be fine.”
Me: “They have hurricanes.”
The Turk: “Here there are tornados.”
Me: “It’s so far north it’s like Canada. We’re going to freeze.”
The Turk: Slyly eyeing my extra 20-post-baby-five-years-ago pounds, “I think you be fine.”
Eventually I agreed to take the plunge into the frigid North Atlantic, but my climate worries were never truly eased. Since our arrival in June we’ve had winds that made me doubt the Turk’s choice to buy a house surrounded by 40-foot pine trees and rains that made me glad to be far above bog level. But these are small potatoes compared to what awaits us.
Winter is coming. (Insert Game of Thrones music and other nerd references of your choosing here.)
But before the seasonal horrors I must face such as traversing an insanely steep, ice covered, driveway or dodging snow covered pines as they fall upon my roof, I must contend with last weekend’s horror, (aka the stupidest idea since literally, the dawn of time) the end of Daylight Savings Time. Instead of waking in the dark and enjoying sun well into cocktail hour, we swap the clocks, ultimately screwing up the body clocks of every human and animal in that time zone and beyond. For what? No one really knows. Daylight Savings Time is bad, but the end of Daylight Savings Time in New England is a horror unspeakable.
Last week the weathercasters began bantering about the time change. “It’s almost time to change those clocks New Englanders and you know what that means.” The helmet haired man teased.
To which I would scream, “No! What dose that mean Helmet Head? How ‘bout a recap for the newbies?”
The next day he was at it again. “Day Light Savings Time is almost over and New Englanders, we all know what happens.”
“No we don’t Helmet Head.” I’d scream at the television causing my children to question my sanity. “Some of us have no clue! Don’t be such a Masshole.”
Finally, the morning news explained everything, “It’s about time to turn back those clocks and get ready for 4:30 sunsets.” The beautiful Asian anchor lamented while sharing a forced chuckle with her co-anchor. I’m sure they shared other important tidbits of information but my brain was stuck. The sun would set at 4:30? How could this be?
As most do in a panic, I turned to Google for confirmation. Though she seemed like a credible new source, the beautiful Asian anchor was wrong. The sun didn’t set at 4:30 in my new homeland. No, depending on the day, it set some days as early as 4:12. God help me.
Indiana was the westernmost edge of the Eastern Time Zone. It didn’t belong in the Eastern Time Zone at all but had wiggled its way in against the wishes of many a few years before we moved there. This meant that sunset in Indiana was more than an hour later than most places on the East Coast. In the summer it sucked trying to get kids to bed when it was still light at 9:30 but in the winter, the sun would still be shining to usher you home from work and well into dinner prep, usually setting around 5:30.
Were we spoiled by sun time in Indiana? Most certainly but a 4:15 sunset seems excessive New England. It’s not that I’m a sun bunny or anything. (Especially when said sun is hot and makes my butt sweat.) But I really hate darkness. I hate driving in the dark because I’m old and blind and sometimes see things that aren’t there like a loose moose or a crazed yeti. I hate being outside in the dark because I’m pretty sure there is a murderous madman lurking behind every building, bush or tree. To top things off, I now have a house in the woods and you know what happens in the woods at dark? Sasquatch. Sasquatch goes frolicking through the woods in the dark and now that hairy bastard will be frolicking through my backyard from 4:30 on every damn night leaving his big-ass footprints where I’m trying to re-grow grass. Not cool Sassy.
On the first day of the time change I lamented my newly found horror to a few other parents at the football game. These were all native New Englanders and they had a few tips.
- “Get some good fuzzy jammies and get used to putting them on early. We tend to jammie up as soon as we get home and stay that way until morning.”
This seemed reasonable. If I love anything it’s loungewear and staying home. What’s better than an excuse to extend my loungewear time and remain homebound?
- “We drink more in winter.”
I think this goes without saying, but hells yes, sign me up. Perhaps I can convert Nugget’s closet into a wine cellar. He’s little and his pants don’t take up much room. It is for survival after all.
- “The time change here means you need to do two things, hook up the generator and refill your antidepressants. No shame in happy pills. Everyone else here is on them.”
I liked this acknowledgement of using the pharmaceutical assistance invented for getting through metaphorical darkness to get through the physical darkness of New England. And fortunately, we bought our generator a few months ago.
I’ve tried to keep my panic at bay about the impending period of darkness but I’ve been unsuccessful. The looming sunset is always on my mind.
“Boys, you know it’s going to get dark soon. You better get ready.”
“Mom, it’s 11:30 in the morning.”
“Exactly. You have 6 hours left of this day. You better use it.” (Insert horrific tween eye rolling here.)
It’s 3:30 now so I’d better go. Looks like its time to put my jammies on and pour the wine. After all, if I’m going to make it though my first New England winter I’d better adhere to the advice of the natives. Maybe in time I’ll adjust to the darkness and learn to embrace it by treating it like a sort of hibernation. But for now, I’m going to keep whining as I turn on the security lights in the hopes of keeping a Sasquatch from doing a soft-shoe on my back deck.