We have a saying here in Texas. “If you don’t like the weather, wait.”
Texas is perhaps one of the only states in the country which gives you days when you need to run the heat in the morning and switch over to the A/C in the afternoon. Or vice-versa. It can be sunny and clear one minute, and stormy and dark the next. Weather here is, shall we say, interesting.
Except for the summer. Summer is sunny and hot. Pretty much every day, day in and day out. 100+ degree days are not uncommon. Some years are worse than others. In 1980, when I was 19 and driving a delivery van with no A/C, we suffered through 69 days of 100 degree temps, 42 of them consecutively. We topped that in 2011, with 71 days over 100 degrees (only 40 were consecutive, though, so there ya go.)
In a bad year, these temperature spikes can start in late May and go on until mid-September. Summer in Texas always lasts at least four months. Count on it.Most Texas natives are accustomed to the heat. Some folks actually enjoy it. Mostly, we just wait for it to end and pray that the A/C doesn’t conk out.
And in return for surviving the heat and humidity, we get about eight months of moderate, temperate weather. In the fall, the days stay warm well into November, and you can get by in the evenings with a light sweater or a hoodie. If you want to be awed by the autumn leaves changing color, you’d better plan a trip to Vermont, because there’s not much of a show here in the Fort. By Christmas, you might have to dig a coat out of the closet, and if it gets really cold, gloves and a scarf may be necessary. We’ll usually see four or five days of sleet, snow, or freezing rain sometime in January.
And then the worst is over. Spring starts its tease in mid- to late February. With it comes rain and the occasional thunderstorm. Hail is big in my part of Texas too, so auto body repair and roofing businesses tend to make a killing in the spring.
But it just doesn’t get cold here. And we locals like that. Mild winters are the gift we get for those four months of sweating our asses off. I like the fact that I can go have a pedicure most any day of the year and be comfortable in my flip-flops, with no worries about my feet getting cold. This is as it should be.
So this all begs the question, what the hell is going on this year?? Who ordered this extravaganza from Old Man Winter?
In the early days of December, our local weatherman was screaming about an impending ice storm. I was still putting away all the dishes from Thanksgiving, so of course I didn’t believe it. Ice storm? In December? In North Texas? Dude, what are you smoking? But he got it right. Most of North Texas was shut down for three days due to incredibly dicey road conditions. I’m talking major freeway systems being shut down completely. Cobblestone Ice. Google it. It’s scary.
We saw a similar ice storm in February 2011 (2011 was just a freakish year all the way around!) It was Super Bowl week, and that year’s game, between the Pittsburgh Steelers and the Green Bay Packers, was happening smack in the middle of North Texas, at Jerry Jones’ sports venue to end all sports venues, the monolithic Cowboys Stadium. If you follow football at all, or if you’re a local, you know that Cowboys owner/general manager Jerry Jones is not deeply loved by many area fans. There are lots of reasons for this, but for most faithful fans, it goes back to his very unceremonious firing of the team’s original head coach, the much beloved and revered Tom Landry, back in 1989.
Long-time Cowboy followers explained that the storm, which created all sorts of havoc for traveling fans, the Packers, the Steelers, the media, and Jones himself, was divine intervention, insisting that Landry, replete with angel wings and a shiny halo hovering over his trademark fedora, went to God and said “Hey, you know what would be funny?”
As one of those fans who loved the Cowboys during those golden Landry years, and who hasn’t had much use for them since, I thought this was a perfectly rational explanation of our freakish weather. But I have no explanation for this year.
Ice storms, sleet, snow, freezing rain, and precious little sunshine. That’s what we Texans, and most of the rest of the country is dealing with this winter. If I lived in Nebraska or Minnesota or even the mid-Atlantic, I would be more understanding.
But this is Texas, damn it! We’re not made for this crap! We don’t know how to drive in snow and ice, so those of us who are smart are forced to stay home, and those of us who aren’t (and that’s a REALLY big percentage) go out and create treachery everywhere. And most of all I’m just sick of being cold all the time. I want to put my coats and gloves and scarves and boots away and not see them again until next winter. I want to put on a t-shirt and flip flops and bask in sunshine. I want to sit on my back porch on a beautiful chilly morning and sip coffee and wait for the sun to burn that chill away.
So this is where the dream job comes in. My favorite band lives and works in beautiful, sunny Southern California. I could do with some sunny California right about now. I’ve heard that the temperatures there are even more moderate than they are here in the Lone Star State. No harsh winters, no broiling summers. And the Pacific Ocean! Nice.
Sure, there are occasional mudslides, and fires, and earthquakes. But I’m okay with that. I’d trade a Texas tornado for a mudslide. I think we’ve been in drought conditions here for a few decades. And we were so envious of California’s earthquakes that our booming gas drilling industry here has figured out a way to create our own here in North Texas. We don’t need the San Andreas fault, we just get busy fracking and voila! Earthquakes abound!
Rumor has it that the political climate in California is a little friendlier too, especially for a liberal like me. California allows same-sex marriage, the state is working toward legalizing marijuana, and I’m pretty sure their legislature isn’t hell-bent on preventing the state’s female citizens from making their own reproductive choices. It’s definitely a place I could be comfortable. I bet there are some hungry kids in California who I could help to feed, too.
So guys, if you’re out there reading this, give me a call. I can be there whenever you’re ready. The sooner, the better.
Because I’m really, really done with winter.
Congratulations to Victoria of Fort Worth, who was our January contest winner, and is enjoying her very own pan of Pecan Pie Bars RIGHT THIS MINUTE!! February could be your month to win. Just keep reading, and keep sharing this blog. The more new subscribers who you refer, the more chances you get to win!