Wednesday, February 17, 2016

What's Up With Winter?

Well, since this is the second Winter in Chapel Hill for Team Westenders, it seems like a good time for a little anecdotal review. Last year, we experienced what people told us was the "typical" season--overnight lows in the 20s or 30s, with temps rising to around 50 most of the time, punctuated by bursts of colder weather that would stick around for a couple of days or so. We had one furious bout of ice and snow that pretty much shut down the region for 2 weeks in February...and then Spring arrived as we had been promised it would...March 1st.

So....2015-16 has been....downright weird (y'all). To begin with, Fall warmth lingered through December...all the way into January. (Seriously, when I--the Queen of...Hypothermia...which, although well-earned, is NOT such a desirable title, you must agree--can exercise outside in shorts and a tee is, shall we say, "unusually mild".) Then we got hit with a relatively minor storm that deposited a couple of inches of snow, along with a light crusty coating of ice...which resulted in schools being closed for 3 days. (Ay yi yi...the South....says the oh-so-jaded Mid-Atlantic chick who grew up only 300 miles north of here...where, incidentally, they received almost 3 FEET of the white stuff from the same system . Please hold on while I count my blessings....and knock on wood for good measure...)

So far, things had been all kinds of...whackadoo abnormal (she states in a completely unscientific manner, yet with a firm tone of authority). I think we can infer that February is, in fact, generally the chilliest month around here. We've seen some numbers on the thermometer in the teens when we wake up in the morning, and felt some brisk winds and shivery....weeks, actually. In order to make up the missed instructional time, our local school system added President's Day back into the calendar--only to cancel it once again due to icy roads and sidewalks from sleet that fell overnight. (Ha! Cruel irony...unless of course you're a student, feeling vindicated...)

Then, this being Dixie (eh, kind of), the frigid stuff released its hold on us, and we were graced with mercury in the 50s once more (as we selfishly expect, I'm not gonna lie). Suddenly it didn't quite feel like Winter anymore, as Husband and I both took advantage of the pleasant afternoon to go running today, and Derek and Riley each joined their soccer team for practice (Granted, Derek has been working out with his team since Thanksgiving, so that's nothing new. But Riley's squad is just getting organized for "Spring" February...go figure! And yeah, the fields were a...muckety mess...out there...but no one seemed to mind. Boys!)

One final note: the Powers That Be chose to add the hours back in from the latest school cancellation by converting 3 upcoming Delayed Openings into full teaching days. That's all good--no harm, no foul, except that the kids don't get an extra couple of weekdays to sleep in...they'll live. However, they opted NOT to change tomorrow's late start. At first I thought perhaps it was too close, and maybe they already have meetings or workshops planned, that they would prefer not to postpone. Riley and his friends apparently came up with another reason, though: UNC happens to play (mumble mumble "the other local team in blue that we don't like")....a rather important basketball game this evening. The 7th graders hypothesized that, since so many students--and teachers--would watch the broadcast (which by the way doesn't even start until 9 p.m.), they kept the 2-hour grace period in the schedule to allow folks to rest up before appearing for business as usual in the Hallowed Halls of Academia.

When he shared this with me, I thought it was brilliant....but also utterly RIDICULOUS. I mean, it's just preposterous to even consider making programming decisions based on college hoops, right? And have to try to imagine for a moment the rabid, hard-core fandom that permeates this area...and remember exactly which 2 universities we're talking about...and then it seems...if not completely rational, per se...then at least much more likely...that this contest-on-the-court factored into the equation. I don't know for sure that it did...I'm just saying I can believe it...yet am still shaking my head. Not entirely certain if I'm proud...or be part of this whole...sports circus. (Let's just go with "bemused" for now and leave it at that....)

So, anyway...with luck, we're headed out of the freezy season...and the Tarheels take down the Blue Devils in the Dean Dome to claim ACC bragging rights. And all will be well in the Triangle...

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