I woke up this morning to some very cold weather here in Central Texas. Last night on my way home from work, the temperatures outside felt like one of those old fashion walk in deep freezer units in a supermarket. Even though I wore a heavy coat to work, my body was still in shock when I walked out the back door last around midnight to head back home. This morning it looks beautiful outside with big blue clear skies, but the thermostat says thirty degrees so I guess tonight will be another heavy coat night for me as I head off to work in a few hours.
I know people look at me funny this time of year when these cold fronts move in and out of the State of Texas. I am not a fool so I do wear a coat when the weather turns to sub freezing temperatures, but I also wear a short sleeve shirt under my coat because I tend to get too hot inside of work when the thermostat is set to 75 degrees or warmer. Almost on a daily basis someone will ask why I am wearing a short sleeve shirt when it is under freezing outside and I just say that I have thick skin or something else silly like that.
So far this year it has been a strange weather year not only here in Central Texas, but throughout the heartland of the United States from Texas to Illinois. I read in the newspaper yesterday that over ten thousand people in the Missouri area have been without power for weeks after a terrible ice and snow storm ravaged that area last month. Life is good when a person takes the time to see just how lucky they are compared to others. Yes it is cold here in Waco, but we have electric service, which means our homes, and businesses are kept warm during this latest weather abnormality.
I guess because of the cold weather, I can’t seem to get that young man out of my head who walked in blizzard conditions in Oregon to find help for his stranded family. As we all know, this young man lost his life while trying to navigate the snow filled mountains when his car was stranded on a deserted road with his wife and two young children. Fortunately, the wife and two young children were rescued when a search plane saw them. However, the father was not so luck and he was found dead a few days ago from overexposure to the harsh elements and hypothermia.
At my office we have an evenly divided workforce of cold natured versus hot natured types of people. Last night, while the temperatures were dropping outside a lady coworker of mine came into my work area to turn up the thermostat because she was too cold. Actually, the temperature inside the building, I work in, was the same as it is every day, but I believe she felt cooler because of the constant weather reports she was hearing on the radio. About one hour after she turned up the heater, she was back in my work area again saying she was too hot, now. I believe the mind can play some pretty interesting tricks on the body and this event last night proves that fact to me.
I noticed yesterday that the owners of my apartment complex placed insulating covers over the water faucets on every building. These small covers look pretty neat, to me, and somehow they hook to the back of the exposed water faucet and then they can be tightened down with some type of wrench to the point where the entire exposed metal of the faucet is covered from the outside elements. These new types of devices are a far cry from what we use to do when I was young to keep water lines from freezing. In the old days we would take an old towel or rag and wrap it tightly around the exposed water pipe and then wrap the whole contraption up with duct tape. This method sure didn’t look very pretty, but it worked and lets face it, nothing is worse than being forced to fix a broken water pipe in freezing cold temperatures.
It has been years since a major winter storm caused people to be shut into their homes, here in Waco, for more than a few days, but every time there in an announcement of a cold weather front moving through our area, thousands of people rush to local supermarkets, like HEB, and stock up on food. I wonder if this activity isn’t caused by some type of genetic trigger in the minds of thousands of people which tell them that if the weather is getting cold, they should stock up on food? Even if the predicted low temperatures are above freezing, folks still flock to the supermarket to stock up on food for their families. Most of us never take the time to think about what resides in our brains from the past, but there are instincts there which date back centuries which cause us to automatically do things when we hear certain triggers, like a bad weather report.
Within the next few days this latest cold weather front will move out of our area and I will be able to hang my, mainly unused, coat back in the closet. Usually, really cold weather only strikes the State of Texas in late January and February, but this year we have already had two major cold fronts blow through before Christmas. When the first really cold day of winter or the first really hot day of summer strikes, thousands of people figure out whether their automobile battery will need to be replaced. Luckily, both of my family cars started today so hopefully we will be ready to survive the upcoming winter months. I learned as a young boy that automobile batteries have a mind of their own and extreme temperatures in either direction do seem to cause them to fail. As a moderate kind of guy, I prefer the 75-80 degree weather to all these extremely cold and hot days. However, I can’t afford to live in Hawaii, so I guess I will just grin and bear it just like everyone else does.