Sunday, February 13, 2011

Cold-n-Warm Climates

Recently my husband, two kids, and I went to Boulder, Colorado for a family wedding. We are fair-weathered San Diegian folk so we had to collect a few warmer items before we left. The boys received hats and gloves from Santa and I nabbed coats from Costco back in October. I bought me some boots and my husband thought he would be fine without a coat and just took layers.
The week before we left to Colorado, I was watching the weather forecast and if you remember there was a huge snow storm that fell on most of the United States except us in Southern California. Earlier in the week, Boulder had a high of -7 degrees. We thought we would die in such cold. Fortunately for us, it rose to above freezing when we arrived and we were able to enjoy the best treat ever: snowfall. It was only the second time my kids experienced snow (we went up to Big Bear, California one time while it was snowing).

While in Colorado, my family and I noticed a few differences in how the cold and warm weather cities are different:

  1. In the airport restrooms, when you wave your hands under the faucet to wash your hands in San Diego the water comes out cold and in Denver it comes out warm.
  2. Whenever we walked into a store, restaurant, and even a house in Colorado, hot air blows down at the entrance. In San Diego, whatever the weather is outside it is usually the weather inside; the only time there is blowing air is maybe at a grocery store to keep out the flies from coming into the store.
  3. Because of #2 we were constantly taking off and putting on our coats. One carries one's coat around in stores, they have hooks for them in the restaurants, there are coat checkers at museums, and hangers at the entrance of receptions.
  4. I still haven't quite figured this one out, but all the stores and restaurants have this extra room at the entrance. I know they have that at the zoo, but that is for a precaution in case an animal gets out one door, they can trap them with the with the second. Maybe that is the same concept with the cold and hot air in these cold weathered states.
  5. People wear light weight shirts under their coats. This is the weirdest concept af all. I would think that sweaters were sold and worn more in those cold states, but I honestly didn't see anyone wearing a sweater. When we arrived to Denver, we stopped at this BBQ restaurant. It looked as if it had recently snowed outside and I knew that earlier that week it was minus degrees, but the  hostess at the entrance was wearing this cap-sleeve t-shirt. This concept was very odd for all of us.

I discovered this reality when I went to New York City in December with friends a few years back. Our first night on the town, my friend and I went to a restaurant named Casimir on Avenue B, between 6 and 7th Streets (I ordered clams for the first time and they were so delicious, although that is all they served, a big bowl of clams, no side dish). Anyway, my friend and I took our coats off and did what any San Diegian would do, put the coat over the back of the chair (although they were long and dragged the ground and people could step on them). My friend and I started looking around to see how others in the restaurant were doing it and noticed that no one else had their coat on their chair, they hung them at the front of the restaurant or on hooks near ones table. No one was wearing heavy sweaters or scarves around their necks, except for us, but the women even wore sparkly tops and light weight short sleeve shirts. This struck my friend and I as very odd.

The day of the wedding in Colorado, it started to snow. We arrived at the church and everyone dumped their coats on chairs and couches on the way in. Now the thing that hit me as so strange is that the bridesmaids were wearing spaghetti strap dresses while it was snowing outside. The entire time I sat there I thought that was the strangest thing.

When I got married in November in San Diego, I had long sleeves made out of netting, because churches and reception halls don't usually have the heater on and I didn't want to get cold, because frankly, I get very uncomfortable cold even on my wedding day. It turned out to be a very beautiful that day and I didn't need the sleeves, but it turned out fine anyway.

In San Diego, airconditioners and heaters are rarely used. Basically, the average temperature year round (now don't hit me) is 70 degrees so if it goes below that temp or above that temp you wear your jacket or short sleeve shirt inside or outside of stores and restaurants. In my office, we hardly ever put the heater on or air and it can get cold in there so I will bring a sweater. My friend and I were talking about this concept and we realized there were only two, possibly three, months that people could comfortably wear tank tops or spaghetti straps: July, August, and possibly September. (Note: don't visit San Diego in June, it is cold and cloudy almost the entire month.)

Just two evenings ago it dropped to 37 degrees here in San Diego and it was so cold in our house that I was wearing my coat, scarf, and boots inside the house. Our house is set up for 70 degrees with it's single paned windows so our little heater just won't cut through the chill.

Have you noticed any other differences between the cold and warm climate cities?


  1. I've been meaning to respond to this but forgot. Sorry! Yes, there is a big difference in how stores are setup in cold vs. warm climates. The funniest thing to us was that all the Costco stores we have visited in Oregon have indoor restaurants and seating. Strange after living in San Diego all those years and every Costco has the food center outdoors. And I believe, they have the "lobby" type situation when you first enter to keep the heat in the store. When it's snowy the snow can blow into the store along with all the cold air. I believe they have two sets of doors so that the cold air mainly enters that first area and the rest of the store stays warm.
    As for people wearing short sleeves in freezing weather - believe it or not, one acclimates to the cold weather. Yesterday we were working out side and it was 22*. I only had a long sleeved t-shirt with a sweatshirt over it and I was warm. Claire wears short sleeved shirts to school all the time. The classrooms are warm once she gets indoors. In fact, oftentimes the stores are too warm.
    Glad you enjoyed your trip to Boulder! I just love living where we have 'real' winters. There is something so cozy and magical about snow on the ground, a fire in the fireplace and a pot of soup on the stove.

  2. @SuzyF ~ and you would certainly know of the differences between the two climates for sure. I'm wondering who and where wears sweaters, because it certainly doesn't seem that the cold climates need sweaters bc they jump into those hot stores, restaurants, school rooms, and homes!

  3. My friend said that in those hot states in the South that they keep their stores, hotels, restaurants so cold in the hot months that they have to wear a sweater and pants inside instead of a cute summer dress!