House seasons

There are many ways to track the seasons, the calendar being only the most obvious and arbitrary.

I track the seasons by how my house stays warm and cool, and how I stay warm and cool in it. Let’s begin with spring, which is heralded by Furnace Stays Off Overnight Day. As the days warm, there’s Attic Fan Kicks On Day, followed fairly soon after by A/C Kicks On Day. The passing summer is marked by Removing Wool Blankets from the Bed Day, Lisa Turns Off the Heating Pad at Her Feet Night, Attic Fan Kicks on Before Noon Day, and A/C Runs All Night, which usually occurs at the zenith of the Hot All the Time season.

As the summer wanes and the days cool, we see the A/C Stays Off All Day, after which we usually get at least a couple of gloriously temperate weeks when I don’t have to either heat or cool the house and that is our favorite season.

But before you know it, Furnace Kicks On Day rolls around, and that means Cold All the Time season is just around the corner. Eventually I have to put the wool blankets and heating pad back on the bed, usually around Doggie Daytime Warming Station Activation Day (when I put a heating pad under a blanket on the couch to keep them from getting chilled). And so begins the long cold stretch when the furnace runs continuously, the heating pads are in place all day and all night, and the piles of blankets on the bed and a lot of snuggling together for body heat manage to keep us all from shivering ourselves senseless at night.


This year the weather has been out of order for months, so today was A/C Kicks On Day with a vengeance, which should not be here for another couple of weeks. I can tell it’s too hot when I find Rudy stretched out like this on the bed.


It already looks like it’s going to be a long A/C Runs All Day and Night season in these parts. We’ll do our best to keep cool.


Ugly weather

My town, thankfully, is not in the path of the polar vortex that is still freezing everything in other parts of the country right now. Our weather is more just typically wintry: some snow, some ice, some fog, that sort of thing. It snowed about 6 inches again two nights ago, thawed quite a lot today, and is probably going to freeze solid tonight. This is a wetter snow that is hard on small dog paws because it clogs them up with icy chunks. Which is as good an excuse as any to take the dogs to Camp Bow Wow rather than walking them.

As a friend of mine in the Midwest said at New Year’s, “had a white Christmas, ready for spring now.” I think we’d all be happy to bump the calendar ahead a couple of months.


Our weather is not deadly in the main, fortunately, unless you’re on the roads early in the day or late at night, in which case you take your life in your hands along with the steering wheel. I feel very fortunate that I don’t have a daily commute to contend with and that I can usually choose to make my excursions in the heat of the day. Also, I got my Escape back from the shop yesterday, two days sooner than expected, so I have a solid set of wheels under me again. I feel a lot safer when I am riding higher off the ground, especially when the roads are bad.

The shop did a fantastic job of fixing my car. My only quibble is that now the undamaged passenger’s side looks kind of shabby compared to the factory-fresh driver’s side. I’ll have to get a full detailing done in the spring.


Inexplicable American holidays

Americans are prone to believing some seriously weird hokum, and the whole Groundhog Day thing is right at the top of the heap.

Why would anyone believe, in 2013, that the visibility (or lack thereof) of the sun over the head of some celebrity rodent in Pennsylvania can predict the weather for the entire nation? Why is there a huge tourism industry built around this animal and its handlers? Why was a movie made about it? Why does anyone care? The weather is always going to be what the weather is going to be. Winter always ends with the Vernal Equinox in March, no sooner. Ever.

The groundhog and his annual antics tell us nothing except that we are a bunch of gullible rubes who love a good show above everything else.

Darn right you are.

“Darn right you are, Bub.”

That said, I’d just like to add: I hope he’s called it. I’m really tired of winter.

Image courtesy of Associated Press.


Nothing to do here

I am so frustrated today that I can’t go help my parents with their house!


Why not? Because my city is encased in ice right now, road conditions between here and there are not great, and it’s an 8-hour drive even in good weather. Also, their house is uninhabitable (not a bed or piece of soft furniture escaped destruction), and what would I do with my dogs? So I can’t go. But I want to. I wish I could help. Cleaning, organizing and sorting things out are where I really excel, and there is plenty of that to be done. I’m no good at hanging drywall or replacing subflooring or laying carpet, though. It will be awhile before I could really do anything other than stand around wringing my hands.

Besides, my mother says they’re getting plenty of help from the most unlikely sources, “one miracle after another.” I know they’re being taken good care of, and this is all going to get fixed soon and be even better than it was before.

In the meantime, I am rearranging the furniture in my own house and feeling restless.