The Seasons Of Neese…

I’ve had a pretty isolated life, having lived in only 2 of our 50 great states so far-Iowa and Michigan. It’s not as though we didn’t have chances for change during our decades of married life, though it seems we were never very willing to take a big risk either. We wanted to live South Dakota or Minnesota early on, but timing, job opportunities, or commitments were never quite right.

Joshua obviously loved winter a lot more than me, 1980…

I can’t ever remember liking winter, even as a kid. I didn’t like ice skating, wearing skirts to school when it was 30 below (actual temperature, not wind chill) or hiking to Benson’s Hill to sled. Why did I not suggest, insist or beg early in our marriage that we move on some place with a kinder climate than the Midwest? We always seriously looked right in our own neighborhood, or backyard, never thinking or daring to escape the evil clutches of winter.

Could have a lot to do with my parents. Ties that bind and all that. Seems like I tried to escape their sometimes suffocating grip on my life, only to remain relatively close for decades. Guilt? Perhaps. Queen of guilt, my title-worn proudly.

Iowa knows how to do snow! Dad on the plow, 1962….

And when we finally made a fairly big move, 750 miles east to Michigan, we thought it would be for 3 to 5 years. And what did we have planned after that? We assumed we’d move right back to Iowa. Maybe this mentality had more to do with my small closed mind than actually staying close to my folks. Don’t know.

What I do know is that after 67 years of life, I’m typing on my little iPad on a Sunday in my favorite chair. It’s late April and the furnace is running. My fingers are cold and my feet are freezing. Ugh.

We all know when March 20 came and went a month ago, there was a lack of noticeable change in the weather. Who’s the dipstick in charge of stating spring starts on 3-20-18? Clearly we were in for at least another month of winter’s nasty grasp? It’s not like this year is unusual. This is the way the Midwest’s weather works. I think I have a better understanding of when seasons change. Or really should.

Oh the incredible smell of these little flowers…

Let’s just start with spring. I think we all want the same thing with spring. Days with temperatures in the 60’s. Lots of sunshine with the promise of blooming flowers. Gentle rains, longer days, less darkness. (BTW, since I’m now in charge, that whole daylight savings crap is out the window. No one walks to school anymore. Kiddos are on the school bus or in mom’s BMW, waiting to be dropped off. Farmer’s don’t need that extra hour during our endless winter. I go to work in the dark, so should you).

So when exactly do we get this fabulous season called Spring? With a stretch it might be the month of May. Let me just call it. Spring will last the entire month of May, and have some near perfect weather.

How about our favorite season? Summer. When is summer-really? The months included (not nearly long enough, but I am trying to realistic) are June, July and August. No room for debate. It is what it is. We kindly and respectfully ask for low humidity (Mother Nature always gets a chuckle out of my yearly request) temps in the 70’s and 80’s, never reaching higher than 90-ever. Thanks. If you must, this temperature range can be encouraged to stay in use the entire month of September without complaints from anyone on earth. Promise.

Graham and Adam enjoying summer a couple years ago…

Fall. Autumn sounds better though, don’t you think? Spectacular colors through the season. But fall is in a definite spiral downward. Temperatures cool off, we get some wind so the leaves start tumbling down from trees and flying through the air. I like fall, though I’m not crazy when all the trees are bare and brown. I’m giving the months of September, October and November to the season called Fall.

Fall colors in all their splendor, but winter’s looming ever closer…

So far I’ve got one measly month for Spring, but a month of fantastic weather. Lots of blooming flowers, including 2 of my favorites, Lily’s of the Valley and Lilacs. Three gorgeous months of Summer with abundant sunshine, and just the right amount of rain during the cool of the night, maybe with some rolling thunder included. The perfect weather for the mighty Midwest to grow enough crops to feed the world. But free of tornadoes, floods, and drought. Fall, our cool down season to dry the crops and harvest them from the fields.

Breathtaking beauty of an Iowa field…

But that leaves 5 months unaccounted for. 5. Really. Five. I’m not unreasonable. OK we may need a bit of winter. But. December, January, February, March and April. How can 5 months possibly last this long every year? (Oh I would love, absolutely love to give the month of April to Spring. This might be a deal breaker). But back to the dead zone. Winter. Winter is a time for cleansing. Done with floaty stuff flying through the air for everyone with allergy issues. Let’s give folks a break with all their allergy medications. A time for plants, trees and animals to go dormant for a spell. (I’ve never thought of it before, but maybe I need a dormant time every year too). Not only is winter way too long, the severity it needs to thrive and be happy is just horrendous. Is it really necessary for the temperature to dip below zero? Ever? I should say, certainty not. We do need our quota of snow. I can do a little snow now and then. How about a couple inches, maybe let it hang around for a day or 2, but then the temps should spike up into the 40’s for a week with some sunshine to give everyone a renewed outlook on life again. Isn’t that why God made Canada and regions further north? They get the bulk of the snow, then during spring thaw it flows down to soak the ground, and fill our rivers for the rest of us. Sounds about right doesn’t it?

So how did I get so smart where our weather’s concerned? Well, my yearly life is divided up in segments which make my seasons. It’s Hubs fault really. He’s told me for half a century my internal thermostat is broken. My temperature gauge is faulty. Not nearly as off kilter as it used to be when we first got hitched. A dedicated Tareyton smoker, my fingernails were often tinged blue and my feet were just crunchy little icicles, begging for a thaw. He once told me in all seriousness, “if my feet get cold when I’m hunting, I just think about warming my toes up. The blood starts flowing and in a couple minutes, I can feel the difference. Nice and warm. How come you can’t do that?” Oh pleassssseeeee.

Yes, I’ve been covered in flannel most of my life, this one in 1979…

Through the years, I’ve grown adept with what my body lacks in natural heat resources. I learned to compensate for my shortcomings. At least this very small, insignificant, but terribly uncomfortable one. Two f-words. Get your mind out of the gutter. Nothing that bad. Flannel and fleece. See? There are about 45 days a year (last half of July, most of August) where you might not see me wearing an old flannel shirt. I literally live in them, because my arms are always cold. Always. Rotating my stockpile, mostly made up of ghastly plaids. But they get better, softer, more comfortable with every washing. After a couple years, the cuffs start fraying, and the elbows get transparent. If I ever live anywhere but the desert I can safely say, I’ll always be in a flannel shirt. Worn right on top of another shirt.

A lightweight fleece. Can’t be very cold or there’s a need for more layers…

Then there’s my several levels of fleece. I guess they’re really called throws. You ‘throw’ them on whatever’s chilly. For many years my ‘throws’ were hand knit afghans from Mom. Assorted patterns from granny squares to complicated patterns of cables in various colors. I’ve had ‘throws’ in wool, acrylic and cotton, even felt. Some were so thick, heavy and dense they resembled weighted blankets. Couldn’t move your toes at all when you plopped one on. And suddenly fleece was invented. Lightweight and fairly warm. Good for 3 seasons. But not 4. Not nearly warm enough for the dreaded 5 months of winter. Unless you had several. Trying to stay warm without the bulk and weight. The struggle is real. So the seasons of my life are determined by what throw I’m under on any given day.

I even have a fleece for summer. But it’s flannel. Rarely can I sit and watch TV or work on my blog when my bare limbs are exposed. I start shivering after a few minutes. Even if it’s quite hot. My solution was to make (who am I kidding, I mean had one sewn for me) a longish throw, made of flannel to use during the summer. The throw looks terribly out of place during the hot months because the flannel material has little snowmen all over it. It works for me.

Ha-ha, my summer weight flannel throw with snowmen all over it…

Getting back to the endless season of number 4. Shannon found the answer to my problem (and hers). It’s a fleece throw, but it’s really an electric blanket. I want to say the best gift she’s ever given me, but that girl has fabulous taste in gifts for me from Waterford, Llardo, and Baccarat. Still, the heated throw has been one of the best, most practical gifts she’s ever given me. You plug it in and it has a range from simmer to holy hot flash. Amazing. What’s not so great about this fabulous little throw is the fact I’m still using it every night. And it’s late April. Ugh. But inching ever closer to that magical date of May first. Spring. I’m so ready. My one and only month of Spring better be pretty close to stinking perfect….

My electric fleece. Perfect for Michigan (or Iowa) winter nights…

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