One day it's 40 degrees with the driveway glaciers bleeding frigid water in hopeful trickles, fueling the pleasant delusion that maybe this winter is finally winding down.
The next day, it's zero with a wind-chill factor that hurts to even hear about, with snow blowing horizontally directly into your ear canals.
Through it all, Western New Yorkers persevere, donning layers, shoveling sidewalks, fishtailing around corners, losing gloves and thinking of spring.
That will come, in its own time. But now is not that time.
And because we're all going through the same thing, we should work on a common vocabulary -- practical, specific and wry enough to spark a shared smile among co-sufferers.
Do you speak Buffalo winter? Let's see.
Here are a few definitions from our flurry-fatigued staffers -- and a few challenges for our readers:
*Snowdenfreude: The sadness of seeing a cheery snowman slumping in the afternoon sun.
*Buffalo brine line: The white high-water-mark left on the back of your pant legs by salty slush.
*Uggage: The pile of boots and other outdoor items you trip over in the hallway.
*Code Blue: Using squirts of wiper fluid to clear the windshield when you are in a hurry and have no time to scrape.
*Snownami: The avalanche of slush that rockets off another vehicle onto yours while you are driving on the Youngmann.
*Glovelorn: The sense of ennui you get when you spy a single mitten forgotten and flattened in a parking lot.
*Icehole: Driver who clears a small oval area of windshield just big enough to peer through and then starts driving.
*Squaller: What your house looks like after a snowstorm keeps you cooped up in it all weekend with the kids.
*Buffalo two-step: The considerate stomp or tap you perform before entering a building or car to knock at least a bit of the packed slush off the soles of your boots.
*Click of Doom: The hollow click you hear when you turn the ignition and discover your car battery has expired overnight. See: Frigidaire
*Frigidaire: The hyper-cooled, dry and quiet atmosphere inside your parked car after you close the door and before you turn the key. See: Click of Doom.
*Pupsicles: The ice-coated stalactites that form in the fur of longhaired dogs.
*Slipper shock: The instant you step out onto your icy porch and realize that yup, you really should have paused and put on your boots.
*Auto-immune disorder: The state your car is in after you decide you don't care about it anymore and neglect to get it washed all winter.
*Sleigher: The ill-advised final toboggan ride of your adult life, typically followed by either a dinner of Motrin and hot chocolate or a call to 911.
*Downdrift: The pile of coats on the bed when you have company.
*Flurry fossil: A parked car that is so thoroughly plowed in that it will not be able to move until spring.
*Snow Blowers: The highly dramatic, endlessly repeated, yet completely incorrect predictions of looming storms that whip everybody into a panic.
But we have many more things -- events, objects and emotions -- that we need to define.
What are the words or phrases for:
The act of emptying store shelves after blizzard predictions?
The tall, circular crust of snow on the backyard birdbath?
That one neighbor who shovels the snow from her driveway into the street?
The feeling you get when you hear a snowplow -- when you are waiting to be plowed out?
The feeling you get when you hear a snowplow -- when you have just cleared the mouth of your driveway?
The way dogs zoom around in fresh snow?
The color of the knees of the little Irish dancers during the annual St. Patrick's Day parade/blizzard?
The state winter-weary people are in when anything above freezing seems downright balmy?
The accumulation of ice and slush in your wheel wells?
Read our list and then take your turn at defining the things, places and events we've outlined. Send them to aneville@Buffnews.com.
With contributions from Jane Kwiatkowski, Mary Kunz Goldman and Charity Vogel.