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blanketed with a soft dusting; Provincetown looked even more bucolic than ever. The fellows at the Work Center had a snowball fight. One of the artists built a snowman, complete with arms made of bright red and yellow buoys he’d collected at Herring Cove Beach. But the next morning, it took me several minutes to force open my iced-over front door. My old dog, a native Texan, stumbled off the porch. Standing neck deep in snow, he began to whine. It was so cold that every five minutes Carrie and I had to take breaks from shovel patrol. The office manager brought us tea. We were miserable, but after three hours, the snow was shoveled and the pathways were safe. Working on the shoveling crew, we decided, was not only important, it was also empowering. Thenjust to make myself miserableI checked the Internet and looked at the weather in Austin. A balmy 69 degrees. Sunshine. Once again, I put on my boots and headed out to face the drifts. And face the truth, which is that, after a lifetime of coping with “inclement” weath er, Aus tin had spoiled me: the Mexican martinis on the deck at Trudy’s in November; Goliath burritos and never-ending baskets of tortilla chips at Polvo’s outdoor tables; January walks at my friend’s ranch in the Hill Country; avocado margaritas at Curra’s and outdoor concerts in March. I had become what I had long detested a cold weather wimp. After our first day of snow patrol, Carrie and I went to the mall to prepare for the next storm. We purchased an entire box of ToeWarmers, little adhesive packets that stick to your socks and actually do what their name . sug aests Without sug gests. them, standing in snow for up to three hours digging out a tunnel would be unthinkable. “The sky looks mean,” she said on our way back home. We were in for it, and we knew it. The first few flakes began to fall in careful, slow spirals, skittering off the windshield and melting on the ground as soon as they made contact. Even the sea looked scared, bracing itself to be swept up in the storm that would batter the Cape with drilling rain, seasoaked snow, andjust as the impossibly cheery weather people on the local television station had predicted-70mile-an-hour winds. This, my Texas friends, is called a nor’ easter. Illustration by Mike Krone 30 THE TEXAS OBSERVER MARCH 4, 2005