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I feel like we had a delightful extended summer, only to have cold weather come and bitch slap us all in the Midwest — which is all a Midwestern fall really is. Oh sure, there are Pinterest-worthy promises of frolicking in the leaves, days where you can get away with just a sweater, no coat, the smell of something cinnamon cooking in the oven (or is that just a candle?). But really, fall in the Midwest lasts for about a week and a half. And while it’s still clinging to the calendar, those of us who live here know: It’s just winter in a leaf-suit.

I know winter is approaching because:

  • I find myself buying coffee more to warm my hands than to warm my belly.
  • I saw something falling from the sky yesterday that was too big and wet to be rain, but too heavy to be snow.
  • My Facebook feed is starting to be scattered with photos of snow.
  • Target and Kohl’s have told me it’s time to start looking at Christmas trees. (I can’t actually complain about this — Christmas decor makes me smile like a kid on Dec. 24.)
  • I’ve worn a sweater to work three days in a row. (Lest you think I’m reusing the same poor sweater — I have gobs of sweaters. Gobs. I love them, they’re my favorite.)
  • At work, I’ve started to schedule communications to go out regarding fall break and Thanksgiving. True story: Thanksgiving is ONE MONTH from Monday. WHAT???
  • I’ve barely even noticed that my toenail polish needs fixing because my tootsies are in socks and closed-toe shoes all day.

What are the triggers that tell you winter is coming?

Yes, this is two years old, but it’s kind of what this is like.

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