Today, we're going to start things off with a little weather-related experiment.
Here's what I want you to do: Walk over to the nearest window, fling it open, then stick your head outside as far as it will go.
OK, that's perfect. Now, take a big sniff and suck up as much of that frosty Manitoba air as you can handle.
There! Did you smell it? Did you detect that little whiff of spring in the air? That tiny aroma carrying the hopes and dreams of a glorious time of rebirth that will soon be upon us?
Ha ha ha! Of course you didn't! In fact, you couldn't smell a (bad word) thing, because your nostril hairs were immediately frozen by the Winter That Refused to Die.
Seriously, last year at this time, the temperatures were hovering around a sultry 20 C as we basked in a record-breaking early spring en route to the warmest March since they started keeping records.
Whereas this year, with the first official day of spring arriving Wednesday, we are being punished with below-normal temperatures and an outlook that includes -- get ready to weep uncontrollably -- even more (extremely foul word) snow.
According to Environment Canada, today's forecast calls for a mix of sun and clouds and a marrow-chilling high of -12 C, compared to the normal high of -1 C in the final few days before spring has sprung.
On Sunday, St. Patrick's Day, begosh and begorra, the luck of the Irish won't be with us, because we're looking at a high of only -9 C along with a 60 per cent chance of ("grab yer shovels, me old flowers!") flurries. Look for periods of snow Monday and (why not?) Thursday as well. Good luck finding the pot of gold at the end of this (yet another bad word) rainbow.
Just to tease us, on Wednesday, the spring equinox, the sun will pop out and we'll bask in a tolerable high of -6 C.
But don't despair, Winnipeg. Let's show Mother Nature we're made of sterner stuff and head out to revel in the cold. For starters, swing down to the convention centre for the Home Expressions Home & Garden Show featuring everything you need for your home, cottage and garden. Tickets are $10 at the door. The best news: It's being held indoors.
Speaking of indoor fun, I suggest you head over to the Winnipeg Art Gallery this weekend to laugh and cry at the World's Best Commercials. Tickets are $10 and $11 at the door or wag.ca.
Hit The Forks Sunday morning for the People's First St. Paddy's Day 5K, with all proceeds going to Habitat for Humanity Manitoba's Cycle of Hope. There will be hot beverages and Irish treats, which we can only assume will be magically delicious.
Also Sunday, I'll give you a biscuit if you help the Winnipeg Humane Society's annual radiothon/telethon top the $62,000 it raised last year. You can donate online at the society's website, call the hotline at 204-927-1001, drop off cash at St. Vital Centre, Kildonan Place and Polo Park, or visit the shelter at 45 Hurst Way and see all the cute puppies and kitties.
Whatever you do, Winnipeg, have a safe and happy St. Patrick's Day, and keep a weather eye out for spring.
P.S. You can STOP sticking your head out the window now!