The Spring That Wouldn’t Come (March 27, 2013)




Today is March 27th. It’s a full week after the official inauguration of spring. The sun is shining but the air temperature hasn’t risen above 43 degrees Fahrenheit in the Windy City. It must be mentioned that the daytime high soared to 80 degrees on St. Patrick’s Day in 2012, a strange anomaly that took Chicago’s love for green beer to extremes. I recall sending my boyfriend at the time out for a bottle of wine to complement our meal of corned beef and cabbage. This was early afternoon. He returned from a four block round-trip walk shaking his head. If you have to step over more than one drunk in broad daylight, hedonism has clearly won.

This year, the Chi-rish were significantly more subdued. With windy, cold conditions and the barometer stuck in the 30s, I can personally report a more humbuggish approach to the drinking holiday.

The irascibility has yet to wear off given spring’s stubborn refusal to approximate its normal self. And it’s not just me. Allow me to quote recent Facebook status updates from my circle of acquaintance:

“Just because I’m giving you a shot doesn’t mean I’ll ever like you, cold weather running. I hate you, I hate you, I hate you…I hate you…I. Hate. You.”

“Spring starts tomorrow, right? Right? RIGHT?!?!?!?!?!?”

“Really, 19 degrees?!? Full of S***!”

“Have officially reached my limit, this weather is B.S. where is spring? #overit”

“Glad it’s rain, not snow.”

“Mighty happy I don’t work for Yahoo! This is the second Tuesday in a row I have waited for the snow in my PJs”

“How am I supposed to start running again when winter NEVER ENDS!!!”

And on it goes. I must remind my gentle readers that these protests emanate from hardened Midwesterners used to winter’s cruelty. But we’ve had enough now. My fellow Chicagoans are angry at this tardy season to the point of mutiny, if only we knew who to tie up and threaten. Our current mayor, former Obama administration Chief-of-Staff Rahm Emanuel, is accustomed to hurling obscenities to get his way, but thus far Mother Nature seems unmoved by our collective epithets.

St. Louis received another 11 inches of snow this past weekend. It seems prudent to assume we’ll be wearing ski jackets to Seders, Easter dinner and other springtime celebrations.

With that dreary thought in mind, I leave you with these lyrics from the K.D. Lang song, “I Dream of Spring:”

“This is world is filled with frozen lovers
The sheets of their beds are frightfully cold
And I’ve slept there in the snow with others
Yet loved no others before

These cold dark places, places I’ve been
In cold dark places, I dream of spring”


Stuck in the Blizzard With You (February 2, 2011)

Did you hear the news? The Midwest has been hit with the worst snowstorm in a bazillion years!!! In truth, it’s still pretty bad out there, but I think the phenomenon that sets this blizzard apart from the norm is the extremely high wind factor. Our power flickered briefly last night – fairly unusual for a condo building in the middle of a major metropolitan hub, but thankfully I was still able to finish my viewing of The Biggest Loser (while I consumed strawberry shortcake) unmolested.

Eddie and I are both telecommuting today. While neither of our offices is technically closed, King Daley and his outgoing minions have encouraged everyone to stay off the roads today if possible. You don’t have to tell most of us twice. That means my marriage has, for the moment, turned into a workplace situation comedy. I am plugging away on the desktop while Eddie sidles up to my left attempting to configure his laptop. Let the passive aggression begin. We have never really had the opportunity to watch each other work, and as we are both completely dependent on functional Internet service, pray that our wireless network holds up. As I write, he is standing over my shoulder critiquing. It’s going to be a long day.

However, we have the benefit of new vocabulary to keep our minds occupied should the tension grow too thick. Between the weather people and my Facebook community, I am now able to add three key terms to my verbal arsenal. Apparently “life threatening” snow is manna for the cultural creative process.

I. thundersnow

– noun
1. a winter phenomenon whereupon frozen precipitation is interspersed with the traditional rainfall effect of lightening and thunderclaps.

This one I had to see for myself. When I heard the meteorologists bandying this term about with giddy relish yesterday afternoon, I thought they might simply be trying to wish a new weather experience into reality. But it happened. Heavy drifts, blown about by 50 MPH winds, punctuated by fairly loud booms. And still the extreme right insists global warming is a myth. I kept waiting for John Cusack and Woody Harrelson to run across my rooftop as the pavement buckled.

II. snowmg

1. an emotional contraction, conveying one’s shock and awe at the power of nature’s wrath. Sample use: “SnowMG! That wind is stinging my forehead!”

I suppose I shouldn’t be surprised anymore at the way instant and text messaging have transformed our language into a network of cutesy, abbreviated phrasing. Still in an LMAO, BRB, IMO kind of world, this one is a bit much for me.

III. pancake ice
[pankake ise]

a form of ice that consists of round pieces with diameters ranging from a few inches to many feet, depending on the local conditions that affect ice formation.

Wikipedia has an entry for this definition dated October 14, 2010, so I can confirm the relative newness of the word. I have heard of black ice, thin ice and icebergs, but apparently those old terms just won’t do anymore. We are wanting a bit of creativity with our natural disasters. However, other than making me hungry, I fail to see what the addition of this descriptor to our lexicon contributes.

If you are one of the 100 million folks affected by this record breaking event’s power, I hope you are staying warm, dry and somewhat amused. Eddie is about to try making oatmeal from scratch. If the power does finally go out, perhaps a kitchen fire will provide the necessary heat.