From Peninsula to Shining Peninsula

Too soon!! I count this to be a normal reaction to seeing winter coats fill the front of Costco on AUGUST THIRTIETH. That’s August 3-0. 08/30. 30.08. The 30th day of the 8th month. Augusto-thirtioso. No matter how you slice it, August 30 is still summer. But, tell that to the retail giants, meteorologists and the mitten state (you, too, Hobby Lobby). They are colluding to hijack the pumpkin months for evil…er…winter.

It took me 45 days to accept this reality and put fingers to keys to write about it.

Michigan sits high on the list of safe-from-natural-disaster states. While, I have experienced a Michigan-earthquake, a Michigan-tornado and a Michigan-expressway-median-fire (thankfully, the closest I’ve gotten to a forest-fire!), the nat’disasts which sneak-attack the rest of the country don’t play ball here. In their place, we have the loyal, dependable, always-on-time, Boy Scout of natural disasters: the blizzard. Shows up early, stays to clean-up, never a no-show, predictable, consistent, steadfast, devoted, johnny-on-the-spot. Yet, always a killjoy.

This winter is going to be the hardest to stomach. It’s been 19 months since I spied the white stuff with my own eyes. 19 months since I considered if my day’s plans were worth the slick commute. 19 months since I stuffed snowpants and scarves in backpacks. 19 months since I was chilled to the bone.

While I was in denial, tucking winter wear far out of reach on the final 80-degree days of summer, some in my family began shedding a morning tear each day that it didn’t snow. (I think he may have had something to do with filling in this calendar yesterday.)

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snow? really? snow? are you sure you want to bark up that tree right now?

Today the temps will dip to a number that starts with th- and ends with -irty. And while I’m digging out fleece and wool, Facebook will rub it in with pics from “on this day” last year, when photographs show visible sweat and exposed skin, stuff that disappears from October to May ’round these here parts.

The snow and the cold weren’t the only things missing in Florida. There was no parking space. Parking spaces – yes. But, parking SPACE – nada. Space to actually park a car. Take a measuring tape to a Target parking spot in FL and one in MI and I guar-an-tee you, FL will come up short. I turned down more parking spots, because they simply could not fit my SUV. Folks don’t need big cars in the Sunshine State. My snow tires and all-wheel-drive car simply didn’t belong.

Snow and space aside, another marked difference the perceived “normal.” Multiple times I was INSIDE an establishment when a gecko – a lizard – a REPTILE – waltzed in and NOBODY CARED. In such bizarre fashion that I half expected to trade him 15 minutes for 15% off car insurance. “Oh that?” the locals would say, “It’s just a gecko.” I decided I’d know I was a real Floridian when I didn’t curl up in the fetal position and scream for a mass evacuation.

Don’t even get me started on the cockroach-crunch. That’s an experience of the senses I never want to be used to.

Am I glad to have traded back the cockroach-crunch, gecko-coffee-dates and miniature parking spaces (what is this, a center for ants???) for ice scrapers and Thinsulate? The jury is still out. Actually, they’re back and declaring a mistrial on account of juror misconduct. Who writes about SNOW in OCTOBER? (To which I answer, the woman who shudders through racks of winter gear to buy her ten-pound bag of now-recalled chicken nuggets, that’s who!) #costco #tysonchickennuggets #christmasinjuly #winterinaugust

It’s coming. I want to pretend it isn’t. I want to hide inside until I’m given the all-clear. I don’t want to face it. And you can’t make me. Well, you can’t. But, life can. And it will.

Oh, we may have months before the flurries fly. I keep snapping shut the mouth of my babe who whines for it daily. In this family, we don’t pray for $η∅ω; we don’t even joke about it. It’s a four-letter-word in my book.

But like it or not, every paradise has its misery. The realities for which we batten down the hatches. For #matthew or for #theblizzardof16. The epics that make us wonder why on Earth (pun intended) we live where we live. The grass always seems greener (and in the case of Florida, it actually IS greener…hmmm), but the grass tells a story. It bears a burden, be it a tropical storm or a winter storm. It seduces us to want, to complain, to whine, to compare. But, whether I’ve got grass to mow or grass to frost, I’ve got grass. I’ve got a peninsula. I’ve got days to walk this earth, be it in Reefs or Bogs. And I’ve gotten something to write about on this chilly day. Bring it on, Winter. (But, please do wait til Dec 24!!!!!)

2 thoughts on “From Peninsula to Shining Peninsula

  1. The grass will ALWAYS be greener anywhere else. Someplace will ALWAYS look better in the moment. The choice I make will ALWAYS make me wonder if it’s the right one. But I’ve got to hand it to you–winter coats this early and the threat of frost is a little daunting. But gratitude is gratitude. And having another day to walk this earth (wherever we may be) is a gift. Well done, Ames. I love how you slip humor in in the sweetest of corners.

    1. You always know exactly what to say. Love it. Slipping humor where I can!! And brrrrrr it was 35 today but now I’m outside sweating in my hoodie and cuddle duds. Lol!

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