As I write this week’s column we are still in the grips of our winter storms. It seems likes this winter has just not let up. We have had cold and wet weather for quite a while without a break. That has always been a benefit of Texas winters, we get those nice breaks in the cold where we can recharge our summer spirits and keep us going. For the past few weeks we have not really had those excursions from the cold. Of course this is all relative and we look at our weather from our perspective. While we are complaining about a few days of extreme cold and ice, our northern neighbors are being buried in record amounts of snow. Usually we can tease our northern friends with the pleasant days we have in the dead of winter in Texas. This year we aren’t getting much sun. Even the chance at getting snow so we can play outside and release our inner-child, is being denied because we are not getting any of the fun parts of winter. The kids are seeing schools delayed and even canceled, but without snow to go out and enjoy it is just a day of sitting in the house.
Being Texans we are at a disadvantage in dealing with winter weather, we have thin blood, we don’t have the tools to deal with ice and snow, and we just aren’t well prepared. Consequently a lot of Texans will stay home during the extreme conditions, letting the more “experienced” yankees brave the slick roads. I have noticed the hardships here. I went out the other morning and my trash can had a covering of ice, I had to struggle to get it open so I could deposit my bag of garbage. As I drove down the street I noticed my neighbor’s trash can had blown over and the lid was blown half way across his yard. Now that I think about it, the lid could have been from another house further down the street, given the blustery winds. I guess in a way I had a blessing with my trashcan being frozen into one sold ice cube. Another thing is having to cope with ice on vehicle windows. Why can’t the clear ice just form smoothly so we can see through it and not have to spend time outside in the blizzard-like conditions scraping it off?
And don’t get me started on winter clothing! It takes all the light jackets and Texas winter gear just to brave the howling winds and freezing temps. One of my favorite light jackets (real Texans don’t wear sweaters) is good for sitting around in but outside it is the equivalent of a screen door. I also have a nice pair of “driving gloves” but they are very light weight. They seem to be meant for those Texas “cold” days where it dips into the 50’s. They do little to keep my fingers warm, they actually just separate all my fingers so they can’t share their warmth and they go numb individually. Someone recently gave me some heavier gloves for working outside. They seem to do a better job of keeping the blood flowing to my digits. However they are not really suitable for driving. Well I mean if you are just steering the truck they are just fine. However you aren’t pressing any buttons with them. Or I should rephrase that, you aren’t pressing any buttons with accuracy in those gloves. If I want to change the radio station I can turn the radio off, activate the flashers, turn on the air conditioner and honk the horn with one press of one of those giant fingers. I just plan ahead and set everything before I slip on the gloves.
As you might guess I am a typical summer loving Texan. I prefer the warm weather. I will forgo the cliches, but it is just more pleasant to me in the summer time. I don’t like the extreme summers like we had a couple of years ago. Those are not much fun for anyone or anything. It is those times when we barricade ourselves in our homes with the air blowing, and watching TV. Much like the folks up north do in their winters.
While we are bemoaning the seemingly endless winter here, the northern parts of the country are seeing record snow falls and harsh conditions. It is hard to complain about an icy trashcan when some folks can’t locate their cars in the massive snowbanks along their streets. Well there is often an offset to something else. Their winters are hard at times, but perhaps that is the price to pay for cheap lobsters. I will be monitoring the approaching warm weather from the comforts of my chair in front of the fire. Hopefully next week I will have some better news.