Dog days
Tuesday, February 5, 2019 at 11:44AM

Oh hi. Did you miss me?

I'll take that as a yes.

For the past two weeks I have experienced, not mere distractions; I have had even greater distractions that distracted me from the original distractions.

In fact, there were a few moments in there when I feared that my hair had actually caught fire.

But no. I have all of my hair -- un-singed -- and my brain did not explode. And I am among the living.

And in a practical sense, not significantly the worse for wear.

So here we go. 

What do you think about all of this weather? 

As I ask this, my second question of the day, our projected high temperature here in Columbia is 75 degrees.

Last week when, on the worst day of the polar vortex, it was 22 degrees below zero -- actual temperature -- in Chicago, I paused to reflect on our visit there last August.

Chicago is my favorite city in America. TG shares my enthusiasm, not least because he's been a die-hard Cub fan for nearly 50 years.

I love the Cubs too, but not in the same way and certainly for not as long. But Chicago? I'm pretty sure my affection for Chi-town exceeds TG's.

Not that it's a contest.

Having lived in Chicago several times as a child, and having lived thirty miles from it during most of the '70s, all of the '80s, and the early part of the '90s, I've experienced its weather more times than I care to remember.

There was that time -- January 20, 1985, to be exact -- when Chicago's all-time low temperature record was set. It was 27 below zero that day -- lower by five degrees than last Wednesday's low.

And then there was Saturday, December 24, 1983, when the temperature -- not counting wind chill, and you must count the wind chill -- sank to minus 25. There are no words to describe that kind of weather to someone who's never felt it, so I won't try. 

But on that Christmas Eve, while I was at home with three-year-old Stephanie and nine-month-old Audrey, baking cookies, TG left to go a few miles away to the hardware store.

When he was ready to head back home, and attempted to start our car, the vehicle declined to acquiesce to his request. TG called a friend, who came to help him. He eventually got home.

I do remember wearing a red silk dress to church services on Christmas Sunday, so apparently the car recovered.

And I won't bore you with tales of the brutal weather we endured in the Chicagoland area throughout the mid- to late '70s. You could look it up.

Suffice it to say that at least once while TG and I were dating, when he'd come to pick me up at the mall where I worked, the doors to his Toyota Celica were frozen shut and I had to climb in the window.

I was lean and lithe back then. Not to mention eager to hang with my beau.

At one point during that winter of 1978-79, there were 40 straight days in which the temperature did not rise above freezing. (Not a record for Chicago -- that was in 1976-77, when for 43 straight days the highs were below 32 degrees.)

Fast forward -- and I do mean fast -- to last August. While we were in Chicago to take in the city sights and delights (the restaurants! I can't even) plus a Cubs game, they were having a whole string of days with temperatures in the nineties.

On Monday, August 27th, our first full day there, the high was ninety-seven. Also by no means any kind of record for Chicago. But still.

My hair didn't ignite that day either, but I texted to Audrey -- who revealed that it was significantly cooler in Columbia-- that if I'd been at home, I wouldn't have left the house in ninety-seven-degree heat. 

And yet there I was, walking up and down Michigan Avenue in the unofficial furnace of the Midwest. Fry an egg on the sidewalk? Forget that. You could show an egg the sidewalk and it would fry up in its shell.

Right where TG and I walked, it was 119 degrees colder last Wednesday in Chicago.

So there you have it: the vagaries of the weather. We were in the Windy City during the Dog Days of summer, and as intense as that was, I'd go back to that tomorrow before I'd want to be there when it's 22 below zero.

These K-9s for Cops dogs have decorated the streets of Chicago for a few years now. I'm a dog person so naturally I snapped as many as I could even though I was in dire need of air conditioning.

Yesterday? It was fifty degrees in Chicago. In February! I've been there when it was fifty-five -- with wind and rain -- in July.

So it's true what you've heard: If you don't like the weather in Chicago, wait ten minutes.

Which is about how long it's taken you to read this post. For which I thank you.

And that is all for now.


Happy Tuesday :: Happy February

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