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Moving to Indiana...help me prepare for the cold and snow


lexi
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I live in south Texas, y'all. I'm going to freeze to death this winter.

 

We are moving in June so I have time to prepare.

 

So, can anyone tell me about Indy? What do I need to know for winter?

 

We will be living north of Indianapolis. We fly up in two weeks to house hunt. I know nothing about this state. I'm feeling totally overwhelmed.

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Check the weather before you go on your trip and dress accordingly.  You have time to get to know people, ask about kids clothing, find a lands end catalogue or even where the great thrift sales are.

 

Do check heating prices for the last couple of winters on any house you consider buying.

 

Enjoy the summer. :)

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Well, it's snowing outside my Hoosier window right now  :huh: . It's not Minnesota or South Dakota though, which in a way is bad. It gets cold, warms up, gets cold, ices, fogs, snows all in a couple days. Good outerwear~boots, coats, quality hats and gloves and snow suits if the kids want to play in the snow.

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I am a little south of Indiana but I think our winters are not too different.  My advice is to dress in layers!  Also be prepared for wild fluctuations in temperature from day to day.  We have several days per year where it is freezing cold and snowing one day, up to 50 or 60 the next, and then back down to the 20's or teens a couple of days later.  Sometimes this happens even within the span of a day- wake up and bundle up because it is freezing and then start having to pull off layers by noon because it has warmed up so much.

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Make sure your vehicle is at the minimum front wheel drive, AWD or 4WD is much better. Warm coat, socks, good boots, gloves, put blankets in your vehicle, some of the red hot fire ball candies, take some water with you just in case once November hits through about mid-March. Make sure your AWD vehicle has a new battery, new anti-freeze, fresh tune-up if needed, new or newer tires, etc.

Learn to keep your foot off of the brake unless you really need to use it. Maybe take a defensive driving course for winter driving.

Let me see, a shovel, possible kitty litter, mini first-aid kit, ice scraper, etc. I must go get coffee as I'm now drawing a blank. I'm sure there are tons more of  things.

You'll do great! I'm sure you've seen snow before, but there is just something magical about a freshly-fallen snow covering trees, bushes, etc. Winter is my favorite season and is one of the main reasons I don't leave the Midwest, where I was born. Good luck to you.

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Don't forget long underwear, especially for the little ones! We live in the Pacific Northwest, but have spent six weeks this winter in Michigan and Wisconsin. The kids spent every second in long underwear (plus their regular clothes or pajamas). Our families keep their houses cool, though.

 

 

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For a car, in addition to heated seats, seriously consider remote start if you do not have a garage. I know it's horrible for the environment to run my car, but it's so nice to have the car melt the ice off for me. Alternatively, park in an area that gets morning sun and don't plan to go anywhere until at least mid-morning. Of course, an ice scraper works, too, but then you get colder.

 

Plan much extra time to drive somewhere when it snows. Not because you necessarily need the extra time yourself, but because even people who have lived here for ages often drive like idiots as soon as someone says a storm is coming. Likewise, avoid the grocery store if a storm is coming unless you are truly desperate. Something about the words "it might snow" causes everyone to rush to the grocery store. It seems they buy as much milk, eggs, bread, and toilet paper as they can cram into their carts and cars. I assume everyone but me is eating massive amounts of french toast during every snowstorm.

 

Plan some extra money in the budget for coats, boots, scarves, mittens, and sweaters for everyone. Invest in a good coat that you like and it will last you many years. The kids will, of course, outgrow everything. Always buy a size up for little ones so you can at least get two years out of everything. If you have money left after buying all the clothes, find someone to hire to shovel your driveway and sidewalks for you. People will advertise this service on Craiglist or in the newspaper and if you hire someone reliable in the fall, they will show up automatically. It's awesome.

 

We have two more years in Indiana (I've been here most my life) and "somewhere warmer" is high on my wish list for the next place to live.

 

But on the upside, your kids will enjoy building snowmen and having snowball fights. A good snow is the perfect excuse to not go anywhere for a while. Cold weather is a great excuse to drink hot chocolate, flavored coffee, or warm rum drinks. Oh, and you can experiment to find your favorite recipe for snow ice cream. Mine is fresh snow, Milnot, and sugar, mixed in whatever quantity holds together and tastes good. My daughter's is fresh snow with real maple syrup poured on top.

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I'm in Indy (just south of it, technically).  Not sure what advice to give as we grew up here (though just moved back from west Texas last year).  Last winter was one of the snowiest but this winter has been really pretty nice.  The kids just wore fleece jackets most of the winter.  We only had a couple snowfalls that were more than a dusting (and not many more that were even a dusting).  Even last year, though, we rarely wore more than a good fleece jacket + hat + gloves (maybe a scarf) when we were out running errands.  The only times my kids wore their winter coats (we got Lands' End ones that have the adjustable sleeve-length) were when they were playing outside or otherwise outside for any length of time (Christmas at the Zoo, Christmas lights lighting downtown, etc.).  

 

Hope you like it here!  I didn't appreciate the area when I was growing up but its been really good to be back.  

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I grew up south of Houston, and I now live in northern IL. When I first moved here, I couldn't tell the difference between 45 degrees and 20 degrees - it was all just "cold". I got mocked my first winter for overbundling for 45 degrees - it wasn't because I'm a delicate southern magnolia ;), but because I had no idea it had "warmed up" overnight - it still felt "cold" to me. But just as in the south you can tell the difference between how 85 and 100 and 110 degrees feel (northerners here can't do that; "hot" is anything over 80, and no one has any idea how to be active outdoors safely in higher temps, because it rarely is an issue here), I now can differentiate between 45 (and genuinely see it as not-winter weather - coming out of winter it's a heat wave, baby!) and 25 and 15 (and thanks to last year, I now know what 0 and -20 feel like ;)).

 

Second the rec's for good winter gear - not all gear is rated for all temps. Stuff for 20 degrees worn when it's 0 degrees will not provide the same protection ;) - have to plan for that. I had to learn how to be safe in freezing temps, because the southern approach of huddling in our houses until it goes away isn't exactly viable ;). (And I don't want to be like our softball team that held a practice when it was in the high 90s, and didn't think to hydrate more than they would when it's 80 - these temperature differences, they do matter ;).) It surprises me the number of families, life-long northerners, who keep their kids inside whenever it's below 20 degrees; it's like southerners who don't let their kids out whenever it's above 90 - it traps you indoors for a significant period of time. I personally prefer to learn the safe ways of being out in the more extreme temps that are usual for a place.

 

Getting used to the time it takes to bundle everyone up before getting into the car was an adjustment, and we all cheer and ditch the coats for jackets as soon as it's above freezing ;).

 

But the hardest thing for me has been the lack of light in the winter - living in the south all my life, I had no idea that would be an issue. Getting enough light is a major part of dealing with winter for me.

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Actually, when I think of weather in Indianapolis I rarely think about snow and cold ... I usually think about tornadoes ripping roofs off of shopping centers.

 

Anyway, you 'll need an ice scraper for your car. Dd's friends from Texas couldn't figure out what that weird thing was in the backseat of her car when they first saw it last fall, but now they understand. They also understand boots and coats much better.

 

People will want to help you figure stuff out, like where to shop for clothes, what to keep in your car. It's a friendly area.

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I'm in Indy (just south of it, technically).  Not sure what advice to give as we grew up here (though just moved back from west Texas last year).  Last winter was one of the snowiest but this winter has been really pretty nice.  The kids just wore fleece jackets most of the winter.  We only had a couple snowfalls that were more than a dusting (and not many more that were even a dusting).  Even last year, though, we rarely wore more than a good fleece jacket + hat + gloves (maybe a scarf) when we were out running errands.  The only times my kids wore their winter coats (we got Lands' End ones that have the adjustable sleeve-length) were when they were playing outside or otherwise outside for any length of time (Christmas at the Zoo, Christmas lights lighting downtown, etc.).  

 

Hope you like it here!  I didn't appreciate the area when I was growing up but its been really good to be back.  

 

I had thoughts along these lines. I wear a fleece coat and my teens wear their North Face shell jackets on 98% of winter days. On truly bitter cold days we add extra layers.

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Try to leave the garage available for cars in the winter. I'm a wimp about being cold, but really, in the course of everyday life you don't HAVE to be outside much. You can look out a nice window and be happy for central heat. It does snow, but rarely accumulates, so we only had three or four good sledding days this year. I wear slippers inside all winter. And socks. And a sweater. Occasionally a hat.

 

How far north of Indy will you be? Hopefully you will be south of White county which seems to get a lot more snow. I bet you will be, though, otherwise you would have said you "will be living south of Chicago". Hah. Indy to Chicago is like the drive-through section of fly-over country!

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You guys are scaring me!

 

We will have to do major shopping for warmer clothes.

 

We will likely be living in the Carmel/Westfield or Noblesville/Fishers area. So I'm hoping that's not too far north.

 

Some snow will be fun but I think I will be tempted to hibernate indoors all winter.

 

I hadn't thought about tornadoes. I'm from tornado alley in OK so I'm not sure I could live anywhere with worse tornadoes.

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I did think of one tip--don't get a house with electrical heating!!!  We are renting a house w/electrical heat and the bill is ridiculous.  

And, truly, winters aren't usually that bad.  We do tend to limit goings out in the winter/try to schedule most things on 1-2 days.  But unless you are going to be out every day for long periods of time, its not so bad during the winter.  Do be prepared (we keep an extra blanket or two, a small shovel & snowbrush in the cars) and do have good clothing (I rarely had snow boots growing up but a good fleece jacket, hats & gloves are fine for going in & out of buildings).  But its truly not horrible.  I think our average temperature this winter was low 40s.  March is always a guess--last Monday it was in the 70s and we were outside all afternoon, today soccer was cancelled because of sleet!  

 

 

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You guys are scaring me!

 

We will have to do major shopping for warmer clothes.

 

We will likely be living in the Carmel/Westfield or Noblesville/Fishers area. So I'm hoping that's not too far north.

 

Some snow will be fun but I think I will be tempted to hibernate indoors all winter.

 

I hadn't thought about tornadoes. I'm from tornado alley in OK so I'm not sure I could live anywhere with worse tornadoes.

I have a friend who lies in one of these places. She moved there from the state we grew up in. Per her description "winters are warm here!" Just keep telling yourself that. (We grew up in a much colder state.)

 

My friend (and her husband, who grew up in the same state we did) loves it there. The only reason they consider moving is to be near family.

 

 

 

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I've lived in Indiana my whole life and actually like it here!  We live less than an hour from where you are moving  :)  Yes, it is cold and pretty snowy in the winter, and it seems that it lasts way too long, but where we live at least, the roads are plowed pretty quickly, so we are rarely snowed in more than a day or two.  I don't have a 4WD vehicle and do fine.  My dh drives a Honda Civic...he drives 35 minutes to work (Indy) and usually gets along okay, too.  

 

I try to keep a bag of extra scarves, hats, blankets, hand warmers, etc. in my car, just in case we get stranded.  That has never happened to us, though.   

 

I actually love it when it is snowing...it is so pretty!  I curl up with a warm afghan and a good mug of coffee, maybe a good book and I'm happy!  :)  And I LOVE my down comforter for my bed!  

 

I really like the area where you're moving!   I do quite a bit of my shopping there.  And, with being close to Indy, you'll have anything you need close by.  I don't know if you like to do thrift store shopping, but there are many Goodwill Stores in that area.  

 

Good luck with the move!  

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I see that you have 3 girls close in age...Lands End will start selling off their winter coats, bibs and boats at great prices.  Get things you love and you can just pass those down as the girls grow.   I always outfitted our son for the next winter season in the spring when I could get things at the lowest prices.  

 

Enjoy! 

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For boots for the kids, look at BOG boots----the winter rated ones to -20 or something like that.  They make others that are more for temps above freezing but you want the warm ones.  If you get a neutral color then you can pass them from child to child as they are not cheap.  A plus with the BOGs (or MUCK brand) is that they are also waterproof for those spring and fall days where everything is an icy, muddy, cold mess.

 

Look for Columbia or Land's End, LL bean, etc for coats and boots if you don't go with Bogs. Buy black snowpants that can be passed down from child to child....if they don't rip them.

 

I am in west michigan in the lake effect snow belt and most days I just wore my fleece jacket for running errands, etc.  i did take a real coat with me to church one day (but never put it on) when it was -12 in the morning.

 

Hunt at thrift stores over the summer for used gear.

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Seriously, though, there are things to think about when house hunting in the Midwest.  For example, all things being equal, you do NOT want a house with a long driveway; it makes for a lot of snow removal.

 

Or an excessively hilly driveway.  My aunt has a very steep, hilly driveway and navigating it in the winter is... challenging.

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We are moving to Indiana in the next few months, too. I'm not concerned with the weather since I grew up there and lived in Buffalo for a number of years. I'm looking forward to seasons!

 

Not to hijack this thread but.....

 

Are any of you in East Central Indiana? I'm hoping to find a support group to plug into. Thanks!

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I live in south Texas, y'all. I'm going to freeze to death this winter.

 

We are moving in June so I have time to prepare.

 

So, can anyone tell me about Indy? What do I need to know for winter?

 

We will be living north of Indianapolis. We fly up in two weeks to house hunt. I know nothing about this state. I'm feeling totally overwhelmed.

You've gotten lots of really good advice about all of the stuff you will need to buy....now, think for a minute about WHERE you are going to keep all of that stuff!  When you house hunt, be on the lookout for a mudroom, a very large entry way, a garage with either room for storage or with storage already built in.  Keeping winter clothes for a family is not like having a slot for each person's flip flops, KWIM?  You'll be amazed at how much storage you'll need.  

 

As for clothes, you'll want to look for Cuddle Duds.  Best invention ever.

 

BTW--Carmel is ADORABLE!!  Except that I live where there's much less winter, I'd be jealous.   ;)

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Lands End has great parkas, and provide a rating for what range of temp. the parka/jacket/coat is good for.  I had to replace my dd's parka and found many now are very thin - a new, "packable" kind of down (you want down!) that is just as warm as the big puffy parkas!  But far more stylish!  Just don't get a coat so snug you can't layer with a shirt, sweater, or hoodie underneath. 

 

I like a parka that is long enough to cover my butt.  Hubby, who used to walk to the commuter train to get to Chicago, has one that almost reaches his ankles!

 

No one here has long underwear.  I moved here from S. California for grad school, and the first evening it hit 32 degrees I had my long johns on, my big fat parka, etc. - and looked like a fool to everyone else.  You get used to it.  32 degrees is Lands End squall jacket weather, maybe with a fleece scarf. 

 

Get ear muffs or a fleece headband that covers ears, and also warm knit hats, etc.  If you are dashing from car to building, that is all you need.  If it is windy at all, you will learn about WIND CHILL, which can be nasty.  Then you do want those really warm hats that have ear flaps you can fasten (to keep the wind out) under your chin.  Esp. if you have to walk the dog ;-)

 

Oh, and we have only driven cars. Hubby grew up here, just with normal cars. You just slow down.  Also we have no garage (well, we do but it is full of stuff).  You can buy a spray bottle of de-icer and a few squirts, plus turning on the defroster, and it is easy to get ice off a windshield. 

 

I agree about avoid a long driveway, or one that goes down (why?) to a lower level garage. 

 

And be very careful about black ice.  It is evil.  And sneaky. 

 

But at least we do not have fire ants or scorpions or killer bees or whatever else infests Texas ;-)

 

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You'll be fine in the northern Indy suburbs. Just make sure you all have warm winter coats, hats and gloves, get a good ice scraper for each vehicle, and at the beginning of winter I find it handy to pick up several bags of ice melt/salt and have them handy in the garage along with a couple of good snow shovels for when the ice and snow hits. FWIW, this year we didn't have any real snow at all until February. 

My advice, however? Look for a house with a basement! I'm more worried about severe storms/tornados than snow. 

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I loved Indiana! I grew up in a town (not in Indiana) where people wouldn't even glance at each other when they passed on a sidewalk. The first time I walked anywhere in Indiana, people were saying hello (to me!) and talking about the weather. I stopped dead in my tracks and looked around to see who the heck these people were talking to!

 

I remember seeing crocuses blooming in mid-February one year. Sigh. I won't see any spring flowers in Cleveland for at least another six weeks.

 

It will be a big adjustment, but I hope you will find much joy and happiness there. :grouphug:

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Around here we call folks with 4WD "the people in the ditch." As in, the fools who thought they were invincible and spun off and got themselves stuck while we're driving past them in our regular car. Slow down and allow extra time. For the vast majority of folks that's more than sufficient.

 

I live north of where the OP is moving and I've only ever owned FWD vehicles. Now about those heated seats? Totally a necessity.

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I loved Indiana! I grew up in a town (not in Indiana) where people wouldn't even glance at each other when they passed on a sidewalk. The first time I walked anywhere in Indiana, people were saying hello (to me!) and talking about the weather. I stopped dead in my tracks and looked around to see who the heck these people were talking to!

 

I remember seeing crocuses blooming in mid-February one year. Sigh. I won't see any spring flowers in Cleveland for at least another six weeks.

 

It will be a big adjustment, but I hope you will find much joy and happiness there. :grouphug:

The crocuses and daffodils just came up in the last week where I am in Indiana!

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We are moving to Indiana in the next few months, too. I'm not concerned with the weather since I grew up there and lived in Buffalo for a number of years. I'm looking forward to seasons!

 

Not to hijack this thread but.....

 

Are any of you in East Central Indiana? I'm hoping to find a support group to plug into. Thanks!

I live north but I'm sure Muncie and Anderson both had pretty decent homeschool groups.

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In terms of housing: short, flat driveway with room to pile up the snow. Unless you are doing your own plowing, budget for several hundred dollars a winter. I think we spent around $800 this winter at $40/visit.

 

House with a simple roof. Multiple rooflines from dormers or other structural features trap snow and ice, form ice dams, and cause leaks! Simple roofs can be cleaned of snow much easier. Don't let it pile up! We had to spend $240 to get someone to remove our ice dams.

 

Older houses can be poorly insulated resulting in higher heating costs.

 

Do not buy a house with a driveway that slopes down into the road unless you are willing to go out there every morning to shovel, sand, and salt. Multiple times I have had to hold my breath and hope no one was coming as I slid out into the main road where I used to live.

 

A mudroom is a great feature to keep the wet outerwear from muddying up the rest of your house.

 

Basement.

 

Snow tires (also called winter tires) will serve you even better than four wheel drive (though both is preferable). Budget around $600 to $800 for each car about every two years (snow tires are made of a softer material that doesn't last as long as that in regular tires).

 

L. L. Bean and Land's End kids outerwear is worth the price.

 

Keep an emergency kit with blankets and warm clothes and flashers and small shovel and salt in your trunk.

 

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No one I know here in Northern Illinois has snow tires.  We just use regular tires.  Is important to keep them fully inflated, and check for wear since you do not want to skid around on bald tires.

 

My Dad, who grew up in Kansas before moving to S. Calif., keep asking why we don't put chains on. Er, Dad, we don't leave in the mountains, and streets do get plowed. 

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Actually, when I think of weather in Indianapolis I rarely think about snow and cold ... I usually think about tornadoes ripping roofs off of shopping centers.

 

 

 

I had to read that 5 times before I realized it didn't say tomatoes. I could not for the life of me figure out how tomatoe plants could take the roof off of a building, and thought it must be some bad B movie reference I was missing. 

 

I have to get bloodwork done this morning and have not had any coffee. I guess that explains it.

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I've lived here my whole life.  I'm closer to Chicago, so we get more lake-effect snow.  I second the suggestion of getting good coats and buying them now.  SOOOO much cheaper at the end of season.  We layer clothes like t shirts under sweatshirts because the temp can be 40 degrees in the morning and 65 by afternoon.lol  Weather can be pretty unpredictable.  We had 4 inches of snow yesterday!  We don't wear long underwear unless the kids are playing outside.  We don't carry a bunch of emergency stuff because we are not in "no man's land".  I have great cell reception:)

 

Homeschooling communities around your new areas are plentiful.

 

Good luck with your move.

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When people used to tell me to dress in layers, I thought to wear a long sleeve t with a button down shirt topped with a sweater.

 

No.

 

What I've discovered that it means is to wear flannel long johns (I use cudl duds) on the bottom, tuck the pants into your socks, tuck the shirt into the pants and THEN put on the long sleeve t with a button down shirt topped with a sweater and THEN put on your fluffy robe and thick slippers. If the heat pump can't keep up (don't get a heat pump), then you can put on a hat indoors. The hat does a great job warming you up.

 

Outside it's hats, scarves, gloves, boots. The kids need snow suits so their pants don't immediately get soaked through and they freeze.

 

Electric mattress pad warmer with dual controls so you can heat up your side of the bed as hot as you like.

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Jeepers, aren't you all going a wee bit overboard with all the "cold and snow" stuff and layer upon layer of parkas and flannel? Seriously? Indiana is really far south compared to my world in Canada or other parts of the US where there is serious winter weather. AWD or 4WD? Choosing a house based on the driveway? You have got to be kidding. 

 

OP. You are going to be fine. You are not going to the Arctic. You can handle shoveling a little snow here and there. Just relax. Winter is only a few months of the year, and it's WAY easier to put on layers to get out and about in the winter than it is to strip down and exercise in the heat of the Texan summer. If the winters days are a little shorter, it just means that you have nice long days in the summer to be outside and enjoying the beautiful weather.

 

 

 

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Jeepers, aren't you all going a wee bit overboard with all the "cold and snow" stuff and layer upon layer of parkas and flannel? Seriously? Indiana is really far south compared to my world in Canada or other parts of the US where there is serious winter weather. AWD or 4WD? Choosing a house based on the driveway? You have got to be kidding. 

 

OP. You are going to be fine. You are not going to the Arctic. You can handle shoveling a little snow here and there. Just relax. Winter is only a few months of the year, and it's WAY easier to put on layers to get out and about in the winter than it is to strip down and exercise in the heat of the Texan summer. If the winters days are a little shorter, it just means that you have nice long days in the summer to be outside and enjoying the beautiful weather.

 

:iagree:

 

Look at an elevation map.  Indiana is flat. Steep driveways are unlikely to be an issue.  Flooded roads after storms are more of an issue than snow.  I lived there for several years. It is not Siberia.  The biggest problem in winter was the prevailing attitude that God put the snow there and He would take it away.  Many people felt no need to shovel their sidewalks.    If you want special features in a vehicle, get anti-lock breaks and vehicle stability control.

 

Go into any store in the fall.  Buy a coat, a hat, scarf, gloves, and waterproof winter boots.  The boots need to waterproof because 1) rain is as likely as snow, and 2) snow is often the slushy, soon to melt sort.  Wear a sweater, fleece,  or sweatshirt if you are prone to feeling cold.  You will adapt.    

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I feel for you. All I can say is that my sister survived moving from southern Alabama, where she owned no closed-toe shoes except for tennis shoes, to Iowa. Now she has a lovely collection of boots and looks cute in a hat and scarf! I, on the other hand, cannot figure out how mountains of snow can remain in parking lots and the ground can stay frozen when it's been 50 degrees for several days. My strategy of staying inside when it's cold till it warms up does not work up North!!

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