Friday, January 3, 2014

Winter is wearing out its welcome (yeah, already...)

It simply boggles my mind (which really isn't as difficult as it sounds, but whatever...) to think that it was less than a year ago that I was overtaken by the lunatic notion (to my disbelieving family, anyway) of vacating the state of my birth once and for all, and hightailing it to parts unknown. You might recall the proverbial straw that broke the writer's--um, "camel's"--back was a late-Winter snowfall that had the audacity to occur on the first day of my kids' Spring Break. From that moment, I became single-mindedly focused (some might say obsessed...they might not be wrong...) on getting my cold-weather-loathing self settled somewhere that the blasted white stuff never happens. The rest of the year--you know, amidst our "regular life"--seemed to be consumed by a whole lotta researching, discussing, planning...and at long last, some traveling. All of this toil and trouble (ah, who am I trying to kid--most of it was super-fun) paid off in spades when we finally pinpointed our next proposed place of residence, namely the lovely college town of Chapel Hill, North Carolina.

Over the boys' Winter Vacation from school, Team WestEnders enjoyed a splendidly entertaining and productive southern sojourn...during which the temperatures cooperated beautifully by remaining true to their promised averages: around freezing overnight, but warming up to 50* or better during the daytime. We spent many pleasing hours outside taking advantage of the...well, to us it felt downright "balmy"...conditions. Yep, we all agreed we could definitely get used to this kind of climate...which leads me to a conversation I overheard one morning over breakfast at the hotel, that I found highly amusing. (The talk, not the food...just in case that wasn't entirely clear...) You see, the place was virtually overrun with teenagers during our stay, and one couldn't help eavesdropping on their chatter. (Since they"loud"...and the tables in the eating area were practically on top of each other...) One girl who seemed to be from out of town asked another girl--apparently a local--if they ever got snow in the area. The Carolinian's response was to burst into immediate, sarcastic laughter, then snort derisively, "If we get this much (fingers held approximately a quarter-inch apart), everything shuts down. If there's so much as a flake, everything is closed. If there's even a forecast of snow..." (Well, you get the picture...)

At the time, this caused me to chuckle for the simple reason that, here in the Mid-Atlantic region, we do get winterish precipitation in the form of snow and ice...but it's not really what you'd call "dealt with" very well. Things slide quickly into panic mode on the roads and in terms of school cancellations...which earns us much mocking (rightfully so, I personally think) by those hardier souls who live farther up the Eastern seaboard in, say, New York or New England. (Not to mention the crazy Midwest, but they're a whole 'nother story, aren't they?) So now, I find it hysterical that I am headed to a place where Maryland will look like...the tough, resilient "north". Ha! Am I prepared to become an even more pathetic weather wimp? YOU BETCHA!

It's also ironic that as I type this, there's snow on the ground...again...and the parts of the roadways and sidewalks that didn't get plowed or shoveled today have solidified into...pretty much hockey rinks. Schools were closed today...for the third time already this Winter, and it's barely January. And can I just mention the charming 12* with a wind chill of -3? Holy guacamole, what is this, Chicago?  Let me just point out how highly unusual all of this is for us...and how I get it, already! Jeez, as if I needed any more convincing that I should get the heck up on outta here, my last Winter seems bound and determined to seal the deal with a frozen exclamation point. So in order to survive this nonsense as best I can, I'll put on some wool socks...and another layer of fleece...and wrap my hands around a hot mug of tea...and hibernate until our next trip to North Carolina...hey, the long MLK weekend is right around the corner...

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