Weather Punch

New Orleans is insane.

Two days ago I was talking to my dad on the phone, wishing him Happy Thanksgiving. I was walking the Babe around the block, because he was fussy and often walking is the only way to proceed with life.

“You’re outside right now?” My dad asked, from his faraway Alaska home.

“Yeah.” I said, forgetting why he sounded incredulous.

“What’s the weather like?”

“Oh. Right. Yeah, it’s been pretty hot lately. Unseasonably, I guess. It was a terrible day to be inside with the oven on, I was cooking Thanksgiving dinner in my bra and underwear! I think it almost got up to 80 today. But the killer is the 95% humidity.”

“My Lord! 80 degrees? At this time of year?” (My dad grew up in Florida, but time obscures all.)

The crazy thing is that now, less than 48 hours later, I am sitting in front of the open oven, trying to keep warm. The temperature dropped yesterday, with big gusty drama, and continued falling over the night to a low of 38 degrees (Farenheight of course).

78 to 38 in 48 hours. I dread the coming months. Last winter it got down to 18 degrees, and was below freezing for weeks. And for some reason, when it’s cold here it’s usually accompanied by an exceptionally strong wind.

And don’t you think for a minute this place is even halfway prepared for that kind of cold, even though it happens every year. In Alaska, 38 is no big deal whatsoever. Our houses are insulated. And sealed against drafts. We have heaters, that work. Not to mention appropriate clothing. Long underwear, wool pants, sweaters up the ying-yang.

Here they have twelve foot ceiling, which I can accept, because they help with the intense heat that predominates. The lack of insulation I can tolerate because the houses are old and incredibly quaint. The goddamned cracks and holes everywhere serve no purpose in either temperature extreme, and are not even cute. The icy wind blows through our house like a sieve. I swore I was going to weatherstrip this year, but the cracks are so pervasive it’s intimidating.

Oh, don’t even get me started on the heater. Suffice to say you have to hold your hand over the vent for a full minute before saying, “Yeah, I guess it is warm air.”

At least this year, I have fortified my closet. I have long underwear, slippers, sweaters, hats, and big winter coats. I even bought the kids mittens. Extra blankets are ready to pull out tonight. We have a space heater for the times you just can’t bear it anymore. And lots of hot cocoa.

We’ll survive. But I have to admit, I’m already looking forward to our Christmas trip up north to Spokane, where we will be cozy warm in a house that means it.



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