1. Phase 1: The leaves are gone
It’s gotten colder and it looks depressing and brown outside. The days are becoming shorter rapidly. You know it’s all downhill from here, and you are already nostalgic for the fall colors and pumpkin-based products.
2. Phase 2: OMG!!! Snow!!!
It looks so pretty outside. You are going to take like a thousand Instagrams of your dog/cat/kids/self frolicking in this fluffy white awesomeness and then go sledding, no, skiing, no, make snow angels, no, all of the above because SNOW IS HERE!
3. Phase 3: Christmas/The Holiday Season
The snow is still awesome as long as there’s some on the ground the morning of December 25th. In addition, there is gingerbread everything, eggnog, chocolate advent calendars, ugly sweater parties and Mariah Carey’s All I Want for Christmas is You.
4. Phase 4: The Holiday Hangover
The gingerbread and twinkle lights have gone away and left you with a credit card bill, christmas trees left on the curb and a headache. On the positive side, the days are officially getting longer.
5. Phase 5: Welcome to Planet Hoth
Winter just got real. The temperatures continue to slide and your need to wear increasingly warm clothing is at its maximum. The icy and snowy roads make you wish that you could travel by tauntaun, and, sometimes, it seems like those foul beasts would be more efficient too.
6. Phase 6: You rediscover pasta
Your skin has reached its peak level of paleness. Your body is telling you to eat carbohydrates like there is no tomorrow. All hope of ever looking stylish again seems lost. The only thing that matters now is warmth.
7. Phase 7: Travel lusting
You say to yourself, “I need to get out of this; I need to feel warm.” You start searching around for warm places to go… Florida, Jamaica, St. Lucia, Mexico, California, Hawai’i, Australia, Thailand… you’d consider North Korea if they had temperatures in the mid-seventies. Then you see how much it would cost. You buy a sunlamp instead.
8. Phase 8: Groundhog Day
You have officially lost all hope and have made the conscious decision to turn to a rodent as a means of reassuring you that everything will be okay.
9. Phase 9: The news gives up
After two months of meteorologist dominated news cycles, the news industry just gives up on blanket coverage of blanketing snow. Suddenly 4”-6” of snow is given the same amount of time as high school basketball.
10. Phase 10: It warms up (briefly)
It’s approximately 47° F (8° C) outside. 4 months ago, you would be pulling out your woolens, but, now, you are following Nelly’s lead and taking off all your clothes because it’s now too hot.
11. Phase 11: Stores start selling spring clothing
Are you serious? I am not shopping for bathing suits right now. In fact, I don’t even want to know that bathing suits exist right now.
12. Phase 12: Winter returns
Just when you thought it was all over, you find that you were lulled into a false sense of security. It gets cold again and you become more bitter every time you hear from anyone living somewhere warmer than you.
13. Phase 13: Grocery stores start featuring Mexican foods
You go to your local food seller to buy some milk, bacon, root vegetables and frozen macaroni and cheese when you see all these specials on the constituent ingredients of tacos. You usually don’t fall for this kind of pandering, but tonight, it’s going to be taco night.
14. Phase 14: Your last big winter storm rolls through
You have officially begun to believe that, if winter continues, you will magically turn into a penguin.
15. Phase 15: The world turns into mud
Well, it finally happened, it’s been above freezing for long enough that the snow has started to melt, the ground has stopped being frozen, and every lawn, field, and outdoor space is a muddy disaster.