Thursday, January 9, 2014

A Shiver in My Bones

Temperatures in Houston dipped into the twenties Monday night but climbed into the fifties yesterday. I am not gloating; I’m saying winters here are mild. Yes, we get the occasional hard freeze, but it’s short-lived. January gives us no cause for complaint.

Last week, the local temperature hit an almost sultry 55 when my brother-in-law texted me to say a major snowstorm was headed for his house in New Jersey. Major snowstorm? It wasn’t on my radar.

I turned on The Weather Channel, surprised to find it had interrupted regular programming for breaking news about Winter Storm Hercules. Uh-oh. A named storm? That’s never good. Sure enough, there was Jim Cantone, struggling to stay upright as winds buffeted Boston.

Before I went to bed, I pulled an extra blanket from the linen closet. I live 1,800 miles from Boston in an area blessed with balmy winters, yet my reptile brain had caught a glimpse of bundled-up Jim Cantone and demanded an extra blankie.

Then the polar vortex roared. Folks in Minneapolis-St. Paul endured 62 hours of below-zero temperatures. Chicagoans braved temps in the double digits below zero. I empathized and tossed on an extra sweater before dashing outside to pick up the morning paper. But wait! The weather I dashed into represents spring to Minnesotans. They wouldn’t have put on one sweater, never mind two.

Am I suggestible? Maybe, but a lot of people in south Texas watched coverage of the bitter cold and headed for the grocery store to stock up on non-perishables, bottled water, and batteries.  What? That was just me?

Television and Internet give those of us in the far South an inkling of the trouble arctic chills cause, and those of you in the North know summer heat in Texas wilts more than crops.  I want to be connected. Yes, I may scoff at some pre-storm coverage as hype, but it’s hard to argue with a camera that pans a snow-blanketed city street or the aftermath of a tornado.

Nothing froze at my house this week, but that doesn't stop me from anticipating the forecasted Big Thaw. Hang in there, Minneapolis!

Tell me I’m not alone. After you see footage of fires several states away, are you tempted to wet down your house’s roof? Do reports of hurricane force winds prompt you secure lawn furniture although you live hundreds of miles from the sea? Did you pull a puffy jacket from storage even though your local temps rarely drop below forty?



18 comments:

Liz Flaherty said...

We are in Florida for the winter. It's been cold here the past few days, but my family is in Indiana, where it is COLD. Mostly I feel guilt. After all, here I am in a hoodie while my grandkids are in double-digits below zero. :-)

I will admit that the condo we've rented has mostly tile floors, so I'm actually never warm. So much for guilt!

Pat O'Dea Rosen said...

Hi, Liz,
I hear you on the guilt, Liz, but you can't build snowmen in Florida. The grandkids probably are okay with the cold. Their parents are the ones battling the elements to get to work and keep the houses warm.

Every area has its challenges. Meanwhile, did you go to Florida in winter without packing fuzzy slippers?

Jennette Marie Powell said...

We had 0-ish temps here in SW OH, but I didn't mind because that meant I could work at home! We don't panic shop, but my daughter was not amused when she did our regular grocery run and the store was packed! You at least have hurricanes to conditon you to panic shop.

Jennette Marie Powell said...

We had 0-ish temps here in SW OH, but I didn't mind because that meant I could work at home! We don't panic shop, but my daughter was not amused when she did our regular grocery run and the store was packed! You at least have hurricanes to conditon you to panic shop.

Lark Howard said...

This is the time of year I usually go ice-fishing in MN but, alas, the trip was canceled this year. Those 4 days of below zero degree weather give me a winter. Guess that's why our frigid temperatures this week didn't bother me, although I was relieved when temps got back to 50+. I figure we live where we live for a reason so there's no point to borrowing other regions' weather--good or bad.

Patricia Rickrode w/a Jansen Schmidt said...

You Texans - what a crazy bunch. Wimpy, wimpy, wimpy. It's only in the 20's and you're stocking up on perishables? That's funny.

We had a REALLY cold storm blow through my town the first of week of December with temperatures into the single digits, which I must admit, is a bit extreme for us even though we live in the Sierra Nevada foothills, but it was cold. It lasted about a week before it finally warmed up a bit.

Now, unfortunately, we've been the opposite extreme and had temperatures for a few days hovering near 70. What the hey diddle diddle? A 65 degree temperature difference? Insane!

It's been way too warm here and no rain so now everyone's worried about drought and if things don't change pretty soon and we get a fire this summer, the whole state's likely to burn up.

That's my world.

Incidentally, I'm a Minneapolis transplant. No way am I going back there.

Stay warm, Pat. We'll talk heat and humidity when I see you in July.

Patricia Rickrode
w/a Jansen Schmidt

Anonymous said...

Hi Pat,

Unfortunately so much of weather reporting today is such hysterical exageration that I don't pay attention to them any more. It's January in the Northeast - its supposed to be cold - what's the big deal?

You remember those cold winds on the hill at MSC in winter, don't you? Did you expect anything different? I doubt it.

Remember when you just looked out your window as a kid and if it snowed - wow! No hyper weather person screaming for you to take cover! Listening for the sirens to tell you there was no school.

Ah, for the good old days when we were so unhappy.

- Patrick

Coleen Patrick said...

Central Virginia has roller coaster temperatures too. We started the week at a low of 9 degrees, but tomorrow we're supposed to hit high sixties. Our strange weather gets us pretty confused here too--rushes to the grocery store and area schools were delayed twice this week simply because the morning temps were below freezing. Imagine if that happened in NJ? They'd miss a lot of school! Here's to sunnier days. :)

Karen McFarland said...

Named storm? That's what I thought when I heard it too Pat. That is Never a good thing. But thankfully, like you, I live in a warmer part of the U.S. and was spared the frostbite that many of our fellow citizens have suffered from. I applaud you for your solidarity! Bring on the blankets! :)

Sheila Seabrook said...

LOL! I think you should write a book, Pat. You have quite the imaginations. :)

Patricia Kay said...

I always smile when I read your posts, Pat. Stocking up, indeed. Actually, I tend to do the same thing. Maybe it has something to do with being named Pat?

Pat O'Dea Rosen said...

Jennette,
I'm glad to know you can work from home when the temperature hits zero. Since work-from-home = freezing temps for you, it would be wrong of me to wish you could work from home more often.

I stock up on bottled water and batteries at the beginning of hurricane season because those items sell out locally whenever a hurricane's path points toward Houston.

Stay warm!

Pat O'Dea Rosen said...

No ice fishing, Lark?! Shoot! I'll miss hearing about the trip.

Pat O'Dea Rosen said...

Patrick, you sound like a guy who got caught on the Fort Lee side of the bogus George Washington Bridge closing. (Oops. Must leave politics out of blog.)

I know what you mean about the media hype of storms and natural disasters, but I've also appreciated the during- and post-storm coverage, so I take the hype with a pinch of rock salt.

Stay safe on the roads.

Pat O'Dea Rosen said...

I like your "To sunnier days" toast, Coleen, and I'm raising my coffee cup to it.

NIne degrees to sixty? That's weather without a pattern.

Pat O'Dea Rosen said...

Hi, Karen!
You and me, we're all about the solidarity.

Pat O'Dea Rosen said...

I know temperatures that hover at zero seem warm to you, Sheila. You Canadians!

Stay safe and warm!

Pat O'Dea Rosen said...

Hi, Pat,
Maybe it has something to do with needing an excuse for another run to Trader Joe's.