Monday, January 12, 2009


It's hard to be glamorous in Bermtopia. Especially when you have a dog that expects two walks a day whether it's 80 degrees -- or 8 below zero with 12 inches of unshoveled fresh powder on neighborhood sidewalks and streets. That's where GEAR comes in:

1. Puffy pants: Basically like wearing an arctic sleeping bag. Puffy pants are critical in keeping legs warm -- and your tush dry following the inevitable "berm squat"*. They also have the most amazing array of zippers, velcro snaps and pull strings. I'm afraid to touch them in case I accidentally inflate or eject.

* Berm squat: A maneuver whereby a dog owner follows his or her pet over a snow berm only to have the snow shift under his or her feet, resulting in the need to sit down abruptly. In the berm. Due to the laws of snow physics, once down in the snow berm, it is impossible to stand upright. Berm squat extraction involves rocking sideways until the squatter can roll over onto his or her hands and knees and push himself or herself out of said berm. As I said, it's hard to be glamorous is Bermtopia.

2. Puffy jacket (Code name -- "Fat Bastard"): Also like wearing a sleeping bag.

3. Wool hat: I purchased this hat, made somewhere in South America, at a fair trade shop on NW 23rd in Portland several years. I've been told it looks like a bottle cap when I wear it.

4. Wool-lined leather boots and SmartWool socks: See note on wearing sleeping bags. 5. YakTrax: Slip-on "shoe chains." You're screwed without them. Trust me.

6. Puffy wool mittens: Once they're on, say good-bye to opposable thumbs. Opposable is overrated anyway. Warm and water-repellant are not.

7. Biodegradable poop bags. You get the picture.

When all gear is assembled on a human body, the visual effect falls somewhere between Michelin Man and a grounded Macy's Thanksgiving Day parade balloon. With about as much mobility.

But at least the dog gets his two walks a day.

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