LIFE IN OUR MOUNTAIN TOWN: A house with coats for every season
In my household, we have three places where we keep coats.
We have a coat rack with a few hooks by the front door, which is where my husband and I hang the coats we wear most often.
We have a mud room with two tiers of pegs, which is where I hope my kids will hang up their coats, or where they are asked to go hang up their coats when I find them lying on the floor.
And then we have a front hall closet. Because the coats in this closet need a hanger and therefore require more effort to hang, they are definitely coats worn less often.
I have a coat that is dressy which I wear when I go to the city. You can probably guess that this coat hangs on a hanger in the front hall closet. I don’t find much use for it here in Truckee. A lot of the other coats hanging in this closet end up being the ones our family donates to the coat drive held locally at Christmastime.
We have quite a collection of fleece jackets, which is a very practical material for those of us living in the mountains because you can wear these coats year-round. On our glorious sunny winter days, or on cool summer evenings, that’s pretty much all you need.
The problem with fleece for my family is that we own a mixed breed dog whose long hair tends to weave itself into the material. So when we grab a fleece jacket we don’t always look the most presentable because we’ve got dog hair stuck all over our coat.
I do keep a good supply of those handy lint rollers around to combat the dog hair, but there apparently is more dog hair floating around our house than we’re able to successfully take care of.
My older daughter lost her brand new ski jacket this past week. That really didn’t sit well with me, the mother, who talked about getting her a new coat for weeks, who took her shopping for the coat, and who took the time to go back to the store to get a refund because we were overcharged for the coat. And of course, it was me who discovered that the coat was missing. Once we realized the new coat had disappeared, nearly a week had passed. The process of trying to track it down has this discouraging rule of thumb: the longer the coat has been gone, the more remote your chances become of recovering it.
I believe my children are like many Truckee children in that they actually prefer a sweatshirt to a coat on most days. Unless it is snowing or raining, they will don their favorite sweatshirt and head out the door. I’ve noticed down at my kids’ bus stop, where 20 or 30 kids line up each school morning, that sweatshirts are the accepted outer attire for most kids.
And as for lost children’s sweatshirts and jackets, you should see the heap of clothes that accumulates down at our schools in the lost and found. That huge pile, which is donated to charity if not claimed after a month, speaks volumes about children who routinely walk away from their coats without a thought toward the fact that this particular item of clothing is something of value in their parents’ minds.
My first exasperated thought upon discovering another missing coat, a brand new coat, is that my child is very irresponsible. There is some truth to that statement, but it’s also true that a child’s first thought is not about the cost of things or that jackets are worn to keep us warm on cold days. I think children think more in terms of “jackets make me hot and need to be shed.” Their next thought probably is something to the effect of “end of thinking about that subject.”
Last night we met some friends of ours and went ice-skating. It was half-raining and half-snowing outside and I was in a pretty bad mood over the newly discovered missing coat. My other daughter, the one who still has her new ski jacket for the season, presented me with her first idea for a coat to wear -her heavy hooded sweatshirt. That didn’t go over too well with me. Her next idea was to not wear but bring her ski jacket, which we agreed upon.
This bargaining with my children over what coat to wear surprises me when I consider that I am the self-proclaimed mother who does not do clothes battles. But since it’s my job as a mother to care, and since my children have their own ideas, the coat discussions seem to ensue, remaining an unresolved issue in my household.
Katie Shaffer has lived in Truckee since 1981.
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