Tag Archives: Layers

The Great Long Johns Debate

Image by Jill Wellington from Pixabay.
Hubby braves Indiana’s winter weather for hikes.

This shivery, January day, I contemplate a profound subject: long underwear.

My interest is personal. I prefer that my husband not freeze into a hiker-sicle.

While sane people stay by the fire during inclement weather, he’s addicted to five-mile winter walks. (And you thought Zoom had messed with my brain.) No antiquated long johns for him. He wants “base layers.”

At first, I feared he’d fallen prey to some paint-your-body trend. Then, I realized Hubby was carefully editing facts and figures to promote a new, improved version of long johns. Their wickability — whatever that was. He expected me to rubber-stamp his purchases.

Though even if I accidentally (ahem!) lost my rubber stamp, he would buy them.

I registered a protest. “John Sullivan never blew big bucks on base layers.”

“Who’s John Sullivan?” His eyes narrowed. “How do you know about his long underwear?”

“He was a boxer who made long johns popular during the 1800s. Wore leggings into the ring.”

“With that heavy cotton, he probably sweat gallons.” Hubby brightened. “Which is why I want base layers —”

“When I was walking miles at college in freezing rain,” I retorted, “I wore long johns Mom sent. Plain, cheap long johns. Why do you need something expensive?” I pointed at his laptop screen. “Those don’t look like they could keep somebody warm in Florida.”

Patiently, he explained that a modern winter base layer consists of a thin, but warm shirt and leggings of special fabrics that maintain body temperature. Yet, they prevent a hiker’s sweating too much, dangerous during extreme weather.

He made his case sound infinitely reasonable. As reasonable as a hike in single-digit weather can be.

Until he insisted he needed wool T-shirts for summer hikes.

“Wool?” My rubber stamp vanished into a black hole.

“Merino wool’s a main component of Smartwool®.”

Smartwool® in July didn’t sound smart to me. Besides, I distrust the label “smart.” We already purchase smartphones, smart cars and smart watches. Now we have to buy smart underwear?

He insisted, “Smartwool enhances the layering system.”

A system? “Does it require Wi-fi?” I said. “Or maybe it meshes with satellites. They’re tracking people’s long underwear from outer space now?”

Hubby — armed with base layers — hikes a nearby university forest.

Despite my objections, I knew he’d never buy long johns. I couldn’t permit my husband to freeze to death. Because base layers were on sale, I found my rubber stamp and approved his purchases, making him very happy.

Plus — (gasp!) this is hard to say — Hubby (choke!) proved to be r-r-right. The base layers have kept him toasty and safe.

Sorry, John Sullivan.

When it comes to long johns, you and I were way off base.

Your Extraordinary Ordinary: Has your spouse proved r-r-right lately?f

OMG, It’s Monday! Prayer: Giving Thanks for Winter?

O Lord, I’m tempted to gripe about dreary winter. Still, in January, I don’t do yardwork. I skip washing the car, because everybody’s car is grimy. And while poor souls in Hawaii must maintain abs of steel, my flab I conceal with warm, fuzzy layers. OMG, thank You for Indiana weather!  

Love Those Layers

Contrary to logic, as the weather warms, the plant world dons more layers. Bushes and shrubs wrap colorful scarves of leaves and blossoms around their shoulders. Trees drape bare branches with graceful green mantles. My lawn pads itself with a soft, thick layer of crabgrass.

Young human beings, however, shun this idea. Passing our town’s grade school one chilly afternoon, I noticed most shivering kids walking home sported shorts and flip-flops. They looked bluer than Smurfs.

At prom time, young women wearing strapless bodices and frozen smiles grace the spring landscape. A million goose bumps encase these lovelies like Bubble Wrap.

If you’re a parent, you do not puzzle over this missing link between wardrobe and meteorological conditions. Weather has nothing to do with it. What’s really happening? Kids are exercising independence. We all do stupid things at that age so we can grow up to never make stupid decisions again.

Still, as a perfect, mature being, I sympathize. My classmates and I suffered similar symptoms. We of the Dick-and-Jane generation wouldn’t have dreamed of wearing shorts and flip-flops to school. Still, our rebellious frenzy blasted black holes in that era’s proper universe.

We wore sleeveless shirts to class.

Abused classmates still wore sweaters Great-aunt Arlene gave them for Christmas. Obviously, they hadn’t exerted proper control over their parents.

I enjoyed wild, uninhibited freedom — until Mom made me wear a jacket.

In fact, she and my teacher kept me in a catch-22.

Mom: This class sheet says you must dress for all weather possibilities. Wear your jacket.

Teacher: Your mother sent this jacket with you, so you have to wear it.

Me: Can’t I put off hot flashes for a few decades?

We tortured children discarded outerwear as close to school dumpsters as we dared. We left jackets hanging in restroom stalls — or tried to flush them.

But our sins always found us out. Traitors among us tattled. No doubt bribed with extra-long turns at the water fountain, these snitches displayed our jackets and sweaters before the entire class until someone identified the culprits. Never would have I participated in such betrayal.

But when my children were growing up, I not only surrendered to the traitors — I joined their ranks.

Sweaters and jackets remain my friends to this day. They conceal my medical condition known as winter waist, characterized by mysterious swelling and extreme pain when buttoning last spring’s capris. Even when the sun shines, I cling to my compassionate buddies.

Someday, the young will realize that, along with moms and teachers, layers can be their friends.

And trees, who sport new cover-up wardrobes every spring, aren’t so dumb, after all.

Your Extraordinary Ordinary: Do you love your layers, too?