Monday, October 21, 2013

Fall in Saskatchewan

Fall in Saskatchewan is cold by California standards. Most mornings begin below freezing, and if the temperature does rise, the wind chill reminds you that something far colder is in store. 

My current locale is Saskatoon, and here,  everyone is preparing for the main event: Winter.

As a newcomer, I am woefully unprepared. I don't have the right clothes and footwear, although I do seem to have outerwear mostly covered. Even my car is unprepared for winter here. There's a requirement for special wiper fluid, special anti-freeze and winter tires that must be put on if I want to go anywhere once the white stuff comes in force.

To facilitate my winter readiness, a trip to Canadian Tire was in order. Canadian Tire is an interesting hybrid of automotive, home, and sporting goods. Kind of like Sears without the clothing lines, furniture and major appliances if that makes sense. It's a great store to get lost in. There are canoes, and kitchen appliances, and power tools, and big rubber bins and of course, tires.

The tire counter was busy, but it wasn't long before a slim young man helped us buy two winter tires for my car. I will still need to get steel rims for them, and have them installed but luckily I have an in for that part.

Besides the winter tires and all the special fluids, I will also have to get a chip in my windshield repaired before the extreme cold comes. Failure to do so could cause a failure of the windshield. And, to clean the windshield, I got a wooden ice and snow scraper. Apparently the plastic ones just shatter in the cold.

After our success at Canadian Tire, we headed to Timmy's. Timmy's is slang for Tim Horton donuts. If anything is ubiquitous in Canada it's Tim Hortons. They are in every shopping center, every neighborhood, every truck stop, just everywhere. Timmy's has good coffee, donuts, soup, sandwiches and bagels. There's also free wifi and at many locations a drive-through, not unlike many Starbuck's in the states. I am yet to enter a Tim Hortons that isn't busy.

In Saskatoon you can find a complete cross-section of the community within Timmy's: families, elderly couples, students, teenagers, professors, immigrants, farmers, and professionals. For this reason, and because they have donuts, Timmy's is one of my new favorite places to be. I especially like the Tim Bits, which is what they call donut holes, and yes, the pun is absolutely intended.

This morning I was met with a dusting of snow. There's no denying what is to come, but at least I'm starting to feel a little more ready than I was when I got here.

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