February in central NJ is without a doubt the absolute WORST month. Although the days are beginning to get longer, the residual emotion is darkness all day long. We rarely get snow, but if we do, it’s usually a wet heavy mess that turns dirty and lasts forever causing inconvenience – no winter wonderlands here. This particular winter season we have not had any snow. It’s been gray, dreary, with rain and damp the entire season. Not warm enough usually to feel warm, but not cold enough to feel like winter. Almost no sun, just occasional breaks in the clouds. Not especially uplifting. Which is February in NJ. It’s not been a great month for me personally, even ignoring the weather. So imagine how I felt this morning when I heard a noise outside. BC had her face up to the window at the stair landing, staring outside. Birds. Birds all over all the trees around my house. I opened the door to get the paper (which thankfully was on my porch, not on the walk) and the din from the scores of birds grew even louder. Who knew I was living in Bodega Bay?
In the musical ‘Cats’, there is a song about the Rum Tum Tugger. The song is take from T. S. Elliot’s book, Old Possum’s Book of Practical Cats (as are most of the songs in the musical).
- The Rum Tum Tugger is a Curious Cat:
- If you offer him pheasant he would rather have grouse.
- If you put him in a house he would much prefer a flat,
- If you put him in a flat then he’d rather have a house.
- If you set him on a mouse then he only wants a rat,
- If you set him on a rat then he’d rather chase a mouse.
It has been another hot and humid week – real feels in the upper 90s. If you are not in air-conditioning, the humidity saps your energy. I worked from home earlier this week and nearly had to set up an IV for myself to drip iced coffee. Last night the rains came through and broke the heat wave. I woke this morning to temperatures in the 60s. Ahhhh.
I’m working from home today. For the first time in forever (or so it seems) I am wearing jeans, not shorts. I brewed myself HOT coffee. (Although I really do like iced coffee in the hot weather, hot coffee far surpasses it for that first “make the world bearable” sip. 🙂
As I brewed a second cup for myself, I thought about how wonderfully cool and pleasant it was. I thought that despite loving the heat, there is nothing as refreshing as when the weather changes and you get those cool fall days. How good it feels not to be HOT! I took a look at the thermometer and saw that it had still not reached 70 (sorry for the poor angle on the thermometer, but it was that or glare).
As I looked at that 66 degree temperature, appreciating it, I thought – if this was the winter I’d be FREEZING at this point. 🙂 I push the thermostat up to 72-74 in the winter. If this was the fall or spring I’d be running my gas log fireplace to take the damp chill out of the air. *grin*
If it’s hot, I want cold. If it’s cold, I want hot. I’m a curious cat.
I’ve been home sick the last few days – sick enough that I don’t even login to work. I think maybe I’m on the recovery road – my brain seems to be functioning a bit more today.
Yesterday as I languished in my chair under blankets, the sky darkened, the snow began falling. Then the snow began whirling and twirling and blowing sideways, and the house across the street vanished. It looked like the end of the world was nigh.
A lot of storm and fury, signifying not snow accumulation but plunging arctic temperatures. At the moment my outdoor thermometer says 4 degrees but the weather station says that with windchill it’s -12. I missed getting a picture of the 2 degrees last night.
Brrrrrr. Yes, I ran the electric heater in the basement so that if the cats needed the “facilities” it would not be too cold. Spoiled, spoiled kitties.
So they say. I live south of the snow line for this latest storm – “Harper”. As is so often the case, people over-react to the forecast. I may be overly cautious as well, but at least my decisions impact only me. Way back in November 2018 we had a snow storm – quite a mess on the roads. Our governor did NOT declare a state of emergency and people went crazy in response. “How DARE he not declare a state of emergency??? We spent HOURS on the roads, which weren’t plowed, weren’t salted, blah blah blah.” Sigh. I know – that was heartless and condescending on my part. I’m not sure why people feel they have to wait for the governor to tell them to leave work early when it’s snowing and the forecast says more is coming. Seriously – many of us do work in jobs where we can just say “I’m leaving now” and leave. Percentage wise, fewer of us are emergency personnel than are NOT needed in a snowstorm. And if all of us who COULD leave early DID leave early – there wouldn’t have been such a problem. (Hey, don’t blame me – I worked from home that day.) Anyway, that was the governor’s first storm and the overwhelming verdict was that he blew it.
Now we have/had Harper. The vast majority of NJ (if not all of it by Saturday night) was below the snow line. The forecasts started showing that on Thursday, more so on Friday, and certainly by Saturday morning it was fairly certain that most of the state would get rain, not snow. We do NOT declare states of emergency for rain unless we are talking storms with high winds. We weren’t getting that forecast. But, the governor is a politician. If he was criticized for not declaring a state of emergency well by golly, THIS time he’ll get it right. He declared a state of emergency beginning at noon on Saturday, which meant all sorts of roads were off limits to various vehicles and certain businesses could shut down early in glee. I know this because I wanted to go to the library yesterday. I checked the hours to make sure it was open or that I could go after my grocery shopping, and saw a big alert that the library would be closing at noon due to the state of emergency and would not reopen until Tuesday. Sigh. The good news for me is that it was only 10:15 am so I had plenty of time but how foolish. At noon it was 43 degrees and sunny (I was out running errands). At 6pm it was STILL in the 40s. The rain didn’t start in our area until 9pm or so. Rain, not snow. Anyway, here we are in, I believe, a state of emergency. *rolling eyes more*
The forecast IS calling for dropping temperatures, for below-zero temps overnight and in the single digits most of tomorrow, with windchill “real feels” of below zero. My daddy brought me up right. I made sure the outdoor spigots were off, drained, and left open to drip. I double-tarped the hot tub. It does have an insulated lid but when it gets this cold, I look at the tub and see hot air escaping and it looks like little dollar bills flying up into the sky. So even though I can’t take a dip tonight now, at least I am giving the hot tub thermostat some assistance. My car is tucked inside the garage (I’m such a princess) and I put my husband’s car in the driveway. The big warning for tomorrow will be ice. If there is any water left on the roads tonight from the 12 hours of rain, the road might be quite tricky tomorrow.
We plan on staying warm, cooking a yummy filling dinner, and not going outside!
I like summer. I like heat. I love the sunshine beating down on me. I am a Jersey gal born and bred – hazy, hot and humid is in my blood. I turn on the a/c only when the temperature exceeds 90 and the humidity is up as well (or when I see the cats or my husband are suffering). I thought being in Arizona would be no sweat, play on words intended. After all, it’s a DRY heat.
I may have to update my profile a bit. After only 5 days in Arizona I have learned to:
– park the car in the shade whenever possible, no matter how sparse the cover
– tell the difference between temperatures over 100 and under 100
– carry a full water bottle with me everywhere I go
– stand in the shade whenever possible
– understand that 103 degrees is too hot for swimming
I walked out of the airport to wait for my ride and the air was the proverbial wall of heat. The first errand, before we even reached the hotel, was to buy gallons of water and a water bottle. The very next errand involved buying protection for the car: cloth seat covers and a leather steering wheel cover. We tried for Rx sunglasses for my son but we didn’t have the Rx so we ended up buying clip-on shades for his driving glasses. We became skilled at searching parking lots for nearly denuded trees that cast even a sliver of shade. We noted the position of the sun, east and west, rising and setting. The sunroof was closed and covered (my sunroof at home is open unless it’s raining). The car a/c was on full blast all the time.
Even the birds in Tempe have the brains to shelter from the sun. We came out of one store the other day and started laughing. There was a flock of pigeons gathered UNDER the car next to us. No fool THEY!
There is a lot to love about Arizona but I’m not sure that Tempe in July is the best tourism ad. We were hunting for a place to live for my son, and then buying supplies for him and for wherever he ended up. We spent a good part of both Thursday and Friday parked in the Chandler Sunset public library – free wifi, a/c, water and bathrooms. 🙂 What a fantastic library! It is everything a modern library could be. I was so envious, because I live in a town with a much older library, which is also much more constrained in square feet. I’d be thrilled to have a library at home like the spacious, well-equipped Sunset library. We could spread out our maps and check room and apartment ads against the areas we’d been told to avoid and told to seek. Even so we would have to go out to the car and drive to view apartments, get lunch, meet prospective landlords and achieve other objectives (found a congregation so he’ll have some place to go for the upcoming holidays – even met someone from that congregation). Once we found living quarters, we were hunting for furnishings. We have also learned which phone gives the best directions. I regret to say that while my phone would get us to the right place, she’d often have us in the back of the building with no access. 🙂 We did quite well, however, figuring out how to circle about to get where we needed to be.
Everyone assures me that Tempe during the “season” is idyllic – I’ll love it. I was quite willing to believe that until we spoke to Luisa (a native Arizonan) yesterday. SHE told me that in February, when I hope to return, the temperatures can range from 50 to 70. Fahrenheit. I’m sorry – that is NOT idyllic – that is COLD. *unhappy expression* I do hope she was exaggerating the low end of that, although 70 is not warm enough for me either. I guess I’ll find out for sure come February. There are also wonderful mountains on the horizon, and in some cases, right at the end of the street. 🙂 The one at the end of the street is at the other end of the street from ASU.
In the meantime, the heat produces wonderful wonderful cacti! I’ve been having a GREAT time seeing all the variations. Cacti are SO fascinating. Many of the yards have well-done gardens with assortments of different species. I’ve seen flowers also that I’m not sure I’d find in NJ, and definitely the trees are different. I’ve been taking pictures and I hope I can research them to find what exactly I’ve been seeing. And may I add – I’m very very grateful for the shade from those trees!
This HAS to stop. This is WAY too cold for June. I’m cold. I’m tired of gray skies. I don’t mind the rain so much but could we kick the temperature up by 15 degrees???
Oh well, I suppose it could be worse. I could be having frost warnings like some people I know…..
Apologies to Roger Miller but England is not the only thing swinging. Our weather is crazy. It seems that since January we swing between extremes. I’m sure we had an 80 degree day in February, then we had a nor’easter every week in March. April did nothing but rain, rain, rain. Or was that May? May was another month of back and forth – warm and sunny one day, back down in 50s (that’s Fahrenheit folks) and gray for the next 6. Yesterday we hit 87F and it was incredibly humid with bright bright sunshine. Until the rainstorm hit about 2pm. Today it struggled to reach 65, and the wind is blowing so strongly that our deck umbrellas were knocked over.
My cats “swing” too. Great success with WC yesterday – she came out and ate breakfast in the doorway of the food room. She even sat in the blueberry box in the hallway – a favorite cat resting place apparently. All 3 cats loved the blueberry box (8 pints of blueberries came in that box) so I made sure to bring it upstairs to be part of The Great Incarceration. Today – WC scorned breakfast and never even came out from under the bed for dinner.
I went out and bought a microwave yesterday – much smaller than our previous one, which is headed for the rummage sale. Trying to situate the new microwave properly was an adventure – we “swung” from level surface to level surface. My first choice was no good because we couldn’t make the cord reach. I opted against my second choice because I realized the refrigerator was on the same outlet. The third surface was the charm but necessitated me reorganizing some of the dining room so that the cord would reach the outlet.
In the garden I noticed that the deer not only attack my hibiscus, but they appear to be eating the white wave petunias in the hanging baskets and also the tops off of the purple-leaf-thing-that-has-yellow-flowers. Something also feasts on the sweet potato vines. So I got out my cayenne pepper and covered them all. I like this approach because I grow a lot of herbs and vegetables and even if we missed washing off ALL the cayenne it won’t hurt us. And besides – the commercial repellents are truly repellent – for us, too. Which reminds me, I forgot to spray the ferns out back with the truly repellent chemicals. It’s rained (of course) since I did it last. But it’s WAY too windy to attempt that now.
There have been some minor successes and improvements. I ATE my first home-grown strawberry. 🙂 You can see it in the picture but it’s not there anymore. My new porch railings are up and they are GORGEOUS. My Rudbeckia Laciniata Hortensia arrived and got planted. I finally remembered to get the plant supports out of the garage and brace the spiderwort. I planted two canna lilies where the wretched weeds wandered in. I bought a plastic dish rack for sitting on top of the washing machine in the basement – our new dishwashing location. (Notice the preponderance of garden tasks as opposed to indoor tasks.)
Today was given to a few more errands, still trying to make our renovation existence as smooth as possible. Somehow that also involved buying 2 new pairs of shoes….. It’s not MY fault that the shoe store is next to the BB&B store.
Celery. My experience has been that either people love it or hate it. It seems most of my coworkers’ spouses HATED it. With a capital H. Or would that be with a capital C? I know this because I used to bring celery sticks to munch and my coworkers would steal some because they never had it at home. I confess that I don’t always like celery in my salad because sometimes it just has TOO MUCH crunch, right? You don’t always want your salad fighting back. But for a dietetic snack, especially when you know you will be indulging later in the evening – celery is great. Because I’m out of cucumbers which are actually better, but not when you don’t have any.
Which brings me to the question. No, not why are there no cucumbers in the refrigerator – we put them in the salad. I made myself some celery and took a bite and – YUCK. It was bitter. The celery I was munching on YESTERDAY wasn’t bitter. It was almost sweet. Why is some celery bitter and why is some celery NOT bitter and how can I make sure I have the not-bitter celery? I guess that’s actually 3 questions. 🙂
The next question on my mind is tougher. I’m sure there will be no answers for this one. Search on the internet all you want. I have a scar. Don’t worry – I’m not going to discuss where it is or how I got it or how old it is. *I* understand that there are somethings which don’t need to be shared with the world at large. Or at small, either. What you DO need to know about this scar is that it is my weather forecaster. I never ever think about this scar. I’ll be minding my own business, thinking about things like celery, and hello! My scar aches. It has a special “the weather is going to change” ache. It’s right too. The weather DOES change. The tricky part is WHEN will the weather change??? Once my scar wakes up and says “weather’s going to change”, how much time elapses before the barometer drops and the storm moves in? According to the weather forecasts – sometime tomorrow night. That seems a long way off for my scar to know. Surely the barometer or whatever isn’t falling already, is it? Does my scar get weather alerts from some other source? Should I be prepared SOONER than the internet predicts, or should I be prepared LATER? The scar alert has sounded. When do I take heed?????
Is a puzzlement. And aren’t you glad I didn’t post any pictures?