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Fifty-six degrees

As is tradition with me every year around this time, I start checking the weather for my stomping grounds to see if coat temperature has been hit, signifying the beginning of the colder season. My beginning, that is.

It hasn't happened yet, but it's getting close.

Coat temperature for me is literally 56° F. If that mark is hit before 8pm, I know it's time to bring a coat with me whenever I have to drive somewhere. Yesterday at the stomping grounds the 56 mark was hit at 11:30pm. At 8pm it was 64½ - less than 10 degrees away. Like I said, close.

The 56 mark doesn't happen at all here in Tampa until waaaaay later. Right now it occurs absolutely nowhere during the day. Yesterday the low was 73, the high 90. This area doesn't get a low of under 56 until around the second or third week of November. And by that time the stomping ground's low is 19.

It's been close to 3½ years that I've been living in Tampa Florida and I still have those New Englander red flag winter thoughts going off in my head every time September rolls around, as in "Uh-oh, I'd better get ready for this, here it comes" in reference to the winter season.

I was one of the few smart people that winterized my vehicle months in advance. To not have to do that anymore still doesn't compute with me. My brain is sending me messages of GO BUY WINTER WIPER BLADES, GET TWO CANS OF DE-ICER, DUST OFF YOUR ICE SCRAPER, GET THOSE BLIZZAK'S INSTALLED, GO! GO! GO! GO! GO!

But I don't have to do any of that stuff.

In fact, the only thing you have to do with any car or truck in Florida is to keep it clean, replace your wiper blades once every three to four months, do your normal oil changes and other maintenance crap, keep your tires at proper air levels, rotate tires regularly every 6,000 and.. well.. that's it.

Were I still in a cold state I'd also be getting all my long-sleeved shirts and sweaters out of the closet, washed and ready to use. I don't have to do any of that now either. I have a folded pile of these clothes in my closet that I literally haven't touched since I moved here. One time I actually thought about washing them (they are clean but are probably thoroughly musty by now,) but then said, "Um.. why?" I should really just give those clothes away.

Thirty years of New England living definitely takes a while to wean out. It's mostly gone at this point, but I still get those "must.. prepare.. for.. winter.." feelings.

The weirdest feeling of all is what I call the "impending doom" mode of thought. This is best explained by example. From where I come from, if it's a nice day outside and you say to someone, "Nice day, isn't it?" The response is "Enjoy it while you can!" or "Won't last long!" The response dictates that any good weather will be very short-lived and that you'd better prepare for Mother Nature to soon pull down her draws and take a huge white dump of snow, ice and sleet right on top of your head.

What makes this feeling so weird? I still experience it. But the bad weather never comes. I walk outside, feel the good weather and think, "Yep. Too bad it's going to be cold soon." Then I shake my head realizing how stupid it is to have thoughts like that in the Sunshine State and chuckle it off.

Like I said, thirty years of New England living takes a while to wean out. 🙂

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