1. For the love of God, do not open your car door if there is snow on top of the door. Wipe the snow off the top first!
2. Make sure you put the “-20 degree” windshield wiper fluid in your reservoir BEFORE it gets below freezing or all the things will freeze and you won’t be able to clean your windshield.
3. You will NEED to clean your windshield frequently. Make sure #2 is taken care of or you’ll be stopping to clean your windshield at the gas station where you could die instantly from the cold wind that seems to sweep mercilessly through all gas stations.
4. Don’t let your gas tank get below a quarter of a tank. It’ll freeze or something.
5. If a snow plow comes down your street, make sure your car isn’t parked on the side of the road or you’ll have to wait until Spring to leave your house.
6. Get used to your car being dirty. Like really, really dirty. Like, “Did you ride through an acid carwash on your way here?” “No, it’s been snowing” -style dirty.
7. Getting stuck in the snow is not like getting stuck in the mud. Chances are, Uncle Bubba ain’t comin’ out in this weather or he’s stuck too.
8. Shoveling snow is a lot like shoveling dirt, except wet and frozen and unbelievably heavy. You can handle it…
9. Always have a big jacket in your car just in case you get stuck in the snow. Freezing on the side of the road is a thing here.
10. The squirrels are huge. Bigger than my schnauzer huge. Make sure they’re out of the yard before you let your dog out or the squirrels will attack them.
11. Chapstick and lotion. You need to buy these things in surplus. Humidity must be measured on a different scale in the North because there isn’t any no matter what the weather man says.
12. Apparently there are “snow emergency levels.” Level 3 means, “We’ll arrest you for driving on the roads.” I would suggest staying in for a level 3, but that’s just my opinion.
13. There are basements here! These are big rooms UNDER your house. I know, shocking. You’ll get used to it. They are very convenient.
14. Less convenient: If you have one, your garage is 40 yards from your warm, dry house. Keep rubber boots by the door.
15. Actually, speaking of rubber boots, find some you like. I haven’t been out of the house in “normal” shoes in a month.
16. Invest in an automatic car start, because most days it’s absolutely necessary to run your car for at least 15 minutes before you actually get in it. It’s difficult to drive carefully when you’re shivering uncontrollably.
17. It’s OK to be in public with rubber boots and your pants tucked inside them. At least that’s what you tell yourself when it’s below zero and the snow is higher than the hem of your pants. This style may not be totally alien to some southerners.
18. When you’re watching the news and they give a temperature, wait for them to say “below or above” zero. I’m serious.
19. The stuff in the bag that says ice melt, really melts the ice. It’s like pop rocks except essential. Stock up.
20. It’s good “winter weather etiquette” to sweep the snow off the top of your car so it doesn’t blow off while you’re driving and fall on the car behind you. No one up here observes this rule, so if you see someone with snow on their car, don’t get behind that asshole.
21. You’ll save money simply by virtue of the fact that it’s too cold to voluntarily go to places like restaurants. I’ve had at least one sandwich a day since I moved North.
22. The milk is weird. I don’t know if this is a northern thing or not, but buy the expensive milk first. You can thank me later.
23. Baseboard heaters. I don’t know what they do, but they exist and I appreciate them.
24. White Castle is Krystal’s in disguise. Rally’s is Checkers, too.
25. Lastly, invest in clothes that you can layer. And then add layer upon layer upon layer when getting dressed. It takes like 30 minutes to undress, but at least you didn’t die instantly at the gas station.