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 It's T minus 7 days to the official start of the coldest season of the year. And I’m in a COLD sweat rushing to finish off all I must do to feel ready. That’s because I’m the most prepared of pre winter preparers. I have to be because I am scared to death of winter.

I can hear some of you saying right now—"You do realize you live in New England, don't you?"  I do.  But I’m a transplanted Southerner who lived through winters I often described as suede boot weather. There was no danger of salt damage on that delicate fabric because there was never enough snow and ice to require salt.

Right about now the Big Guy in the red suit is getting ready for his special night, making a list and checking it twice. But, I’ve got about 90 nights to get ready for, and one list will not do.  It’s multiple checklists for me-- with tasks outlined on count down calendars, and a set of programmed alarms and reminders for specific to-do jobs.

In the last month, I’ve retrieved my clothes from box storage, made an appointment with my mechanic, and made sure I have household products and pantry staples to last through April.  Ma and Pa Ingalls from Little House on the Prairie had the right idea—store up for the long haul. 

I’ve changed the air filters in the furnace, and am attacking those pesky window air leaks. I was freaked out by the ice dam crisis last year. Everybody says what happened last winter will likely not happen again for decades. But, I knew I’d be a nervous wreck if I didn’t take some precautions. So I had the heating coils installed in the gutters and made sure the insulation under the roof was good to go.

I wish I could figure out how to calm my sheer panic about driving in snow. Nothing I can do except stay off the streets. Yes, I’m the one gripped onto the steering wheel, and driving at a snail’s pace. I’ve heard your honks, and seen your vulgar gestures out of the corner of my eye. Don’t worry I never go far. Runaway Red Line trains aside, here’s hoping the T’s new mantra, “Winter Happens: But We Know You Have to Get There,” really means those trains and buses will run. 

Part of my winter transportation plan also includes begging rides from friends and colleagues who traverse snow-covered roads as if the streets are bone dry. And, I’ve invested in new snow boots, the ones snow lovers swear by, so I can navigate the ever-narrowing icy paths.

I’m thrilled by the recent warm and dry December. I know it’s temporary —early predictions from the Old Farmer’s Almanac say we’re in for a winter just as bad as last year’s. Plus, I’m taking a page from House Stark of Game of Thrones. Their motto ‘winter is coming’ forecasts a harsh season of hard times, and let’s face it—these people KNOW winter. So, pooh pooh preparation if you want, but you’ve been warned.

>>>Callie Crossley is the host of Under the Radar. Past commentaries can be heard here.