Dressing for the Weather Down Here

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Turkey Race in New Orleans for Thanksgiving … freezing…..

I got up this morning at 5 AM to walk my dog. Before I leave, I always check the temperature to see how to dress. It was 34 degrees, so I put on my three layers of shirts and heavy warm-up pants, hat and gloves. I was dressed perfectly except for the fact that my gloves were a synthetic material, and my hands were cold. Next time, I’ll wear my glove liners, I thought. It was a real gift when I got my dog, and I made a commitment to walk her for an hour every morning. It gets me OUTSIDE everyday. And, when you get outside everyday, you feel the changes in the weather. I started this in Memphis, and it is, of course, colder there so it took me awhile to get it right in winter. I thought when I moved down here my parka would sit in storage….. NOT …..

What I’ve found is the weather here is very schizophrenic. Thirty two degrees one day is not very cold at all. The next day, 32 degrees can be frigid. It all depends on the moisture in the air. I can’t tell you how many times I’ve bundled up, walked out the door and pulled half of my clothes off on the porch. By noon today, I was sweating in my turtleneck with the AC running in the car. It was 62 degrees. I actually think 62 should be quite comfortable, but it was hot. And, this evening, we sat out on a patio from 4 – 5 PM, and I was cold once again. And, you guessed it, it was hotter than 62 degrees. I don’t get it.

A friend of mine says his truck is full of clothes because he works outside with some frequency, and the weather changes so quickly that you never know what you will need to wear. I laughed when he said it because in the summer it’s just hot… hot … hot. I didn’t remember it being so weird here weatherwise in the winter time. It all has to do with water. Apparently, it’s moisture from the gulf stream that makes the weather crazy. I also think the fact that there is water everywhere has to make a difference, too. Even when it rains, water stands in the yard. In fact, a bunch of us were talking the other night about playing in the water in the ditches and our yards when we were kids. There’s water, water everywhere.

Turkey Trot in Northwest Indiana .... More Freezing

Turkey Trot in Northwest Indiana …. More Freezing

The weather makes these wide swings here, too. I spent the last six weeks or so going to football games at my alma mater. The first game I went to was FREEZING. I was sitting in the stands, drinking hot chocolate, shivering and wishing I’d brought gloves and a hat. I was a little confused because an hour earlier, we’d been sweating in the parking lot at a tailgate. I kept saying I couldn’t believe how quickly the temperature dropped. I got back to my car, turned on the heater and looked at the temperature…. 62 degrees. WTF? Up north, I would have been in shorts. WHY was I so cold? So, the next game, I dressed warmer, and I did okay. The following week the temps dropped dramatically, and it misted the entire game. I was flat freezing. I spent almost $100 on extra clothes and blankets at the bookstore, had hand warmers and froze the entire game. It was miserable. Three days later, it was 77 degrees. The forecast for the next game was pouring rain and cold. BRRRRR…. Friday night I was so excited to see that the forecast had changed. The rain was to stop at 2 PM, and it would be 62 degrees! Woohoo!!! I left my rain gear at home and headed to Hammond. It started pouring rain at about 2 PM and lasted intermittently until about 5 PM. I splashed around in the mud and borrowed a camouflage rain poncho. I think it’s time to start packing clothes in my car.

Everywhere I have ever lived, people complain about the weather. No matter where it is, people say, “If you don’t like the weather here, just wait awhile, it’ll change.” I have lived in the Deep South, the Midsouth, the Midwest, the Northeast, Texas and the Pacific Northwest. They all have their weather stuff. When I moved to Seattle, it rained for 118 straight days. I thought I would die of depression. The Midwest, of course, had lake effect snow and brutal winters. It was not odd for me to be wearing a coat in late May or early June. I could never get warm enough. Memphis had massive, violent thunderstorms complete with sirens and tornadoes. Memphis ice storms created ice so thick it cracked every Yankee ice scraper I had. Florida had oppressive heat that had me sweating in my pantyhose at 7 AM in the days that I wore suits. I’ve had to readjust my wardrobe wherever I’ve moved to adapt to the weather. Because, for a gal like me who loves the outdoors, I have to dress for it.

I saw a friend of mine post the other night on Facebook that she had to get up twice in the middle of the night to shovel snow during a lake effect snowstorm in Chicago. I remember having my car towed off of a slab of ice in a friend’s driveway in Michigan after we spent an hour trying to move it. I bought hats, gloves, little cages to put on my running shoes for traction, snow boots and several coats of varying warmth to cope with the cold winters. I bought a raincoat and fur-lined waterproof boots for Seattle. I remember driving out of a car wash in the rain feeling totally ridiculous for washing my car when it was raining, but it got filthy. Everybody did it. My parents came to visit me on the Fourth of July one summer, and we watched a fireworks display in coats, sweaters and blankets. I didn’t even own an air conditioner in my house. I didn’t need it for the cool summers. Forget summer dresses. Everybody dressed in black all year long.

I expected the heat here. I am a little sidelined by the cold and the wackiness of the winter weather. I know it might be 80 on Christmas Day. I just bought a new bag from my niece’s fundraiser. I think it will become my clothing bag for my vehicle. I’ll know how to dress for the summer. But, I need to pack warmer clothes and some lighter clothes for the changing weather here. If I stayed inside all the time, it probably wouldn’t bother me much. But, I know me. If I want to go for a walk, I want to be comfortable. And, I now know that it’s not enough to check the forecast the night before. I need to check it right before I leave and prepare for all conditions. I need a bigger umbrella, and I need some cute rain boots for sure. I’m headed out for a run, and it’s 58 degrees. I’m going to guess at what I need to wear. I’m sure some of it will come off before I get back. My dog is lucky. She just wears black. It works with everything. Going for a run….

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