The winter of 2014 was brutal in the upper Midwest. It was bitterly cold and we didn’t see the ground until near the end of March. Our family took a spring break vacation down to Florida and it seemed like we were traveling with half of the Midwest. A week later, on our way home heading back north, we watched the other half of the Midwest headed south for all of their spring breaks. It wasn’t just that it was snowy. I can handle snow. I actually LOVE snow. It is beautiful and under the right circumstances can provide hours of entertainment. But it was cold. SO COLD. It was too cold to take the kids outside to enjoy the snow. One day, when I had reached my near breaking point with days off from school and school delays, I finally wrote a blog post venting my frustrations over just how ridiculous the winter had been. We joked about heading south, but my husband had just convinced me to buy a new snow blower and we are Midwesterners. We have been taught to deal with the cold. We have been taught to make fun of people who complain about it being too cold. And we had no desire to completely leave the snow behind us.
Then another cold winter left us with unbearable cabin fever. We couldn’t leave the house. We couldn’t get into the great outdoors. Anytime I tried to get our kids to go outside they would come back inside in less than five minutes complaining about the cold. They didn’t want to be bundled up. They hated putting on the snow pants, snow boots, mittens, hats, and bulky coats. They wanted to just run free, which they couldn’t do with a foot of snow in our backyard. We tried camping over spring break, even heading down to Kentucky in hopes that going a little farther south would give us at least a little bit of a break. Our first night outside of Mammoth Cave National Park resulted in a frozen waterline (the low hit 18 degrees) and my husband getting up in the middle of the night to switch over the propane because the heater turned off and we didn’t want the kids to wake up because they were too cold. Yes, we could have broken out the 20 degree sleeping bags from our tent camping days, but we didn’t have any way to warm up the kids.
So even though God kept dropping one hint after another that He wanted us to move to Texas, we weren’t putting up much of a fight. It’s amusing, really. When we got married nearly fourteen years ago people asked why we didn’t go farther south than Tennessee to celebrate our honeymoon. After all, we were honeymooning in January after a cold December wedding complete with six inches of lake effect snow. We just told everyone that we didn’t want to go anywhere hot. And it was true. We loved our honeymoon in the Smoky Mountains and we are not beach bum types. We love going to the beach, but not all day every day.
But times change and so do people. God called us to Texas and we accepted the call with open arms. People warned us about the hot weather. When we visited in April it was beautiful. It was in the 70s and we got plenty of apologies that it wasn’t normally that warm in April. But then, it was in the 50s and rainy in Indiana. The balmy weather, complete with a spring thunderstorm (just a precursor of the storms that would hit southern Texas over and over again after we were back in Indiana) indicated that maybe the HOT summers would be worth it if we could experience those temperatures in the spring.
Yep, it’s hot. And for four people and a dog in a small, confined space, tempers are simmering. I have to believe that we could be handling the close quarters better if we weren’t hiding in our air conditioned camper to beat the heat. When it comes to outdoor temperatures, hot is hot no matter what the heat index, especially after you pass the 100 degree mark. And cold is cold, especially after you drop below 0 degrees. However, the difference for us is that we have found much better ways to beat the heat even with the extreme temperatures. We can swim, enjoy any air conditioned building, and I can still walk the dog at 10 o’clock at night and it doesn’t feel terrible, especially since the sun has gone down. Sure, it may be currently 92 degrees, but it actually feels cooler without the sun beating down on me.
Am I exhausted? Yes. Do I enjoy burning my bare legs when I get into my hot car? No. Are we sweating a lot? Yes. Am I tired of busting the food budget to avoid cooking outside? Yes. Would it be easier if we had our house and we could all spread out? Yes, but that saga is for another day and another post. But we are surviving, and I keep looking forward to that day in mid-November when I can post a picture of me sitting by the pool grading AP lit essays. I know my northern friends are laughing at us now. But just you wait a couple months, once hurricane season is behind us. We’ll see who’s laughing then.