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Is It Cold Or Are You Just In The Wrong State?

September 5, 2019

I attended Timberline high school in Lacey, Washington. Lacey is outside of the captial Olympia. If you don’t know where that is, don’t feel bad. Lots of people outside of Washington don’t. It’s about 40 miles south of Seattle. It’s at the Southern tip of the Puget Sound.

Even though Puget Sound is salt water, it’s not technically the ocean. That’s about a hundred miles away on the Washington coast. Washington coasts are not like the gentler beaches of California with it’s warm ocean currents. By the time the current gets to Washington it’s turned cold. Puget Sound’s water temperature ranges from a chilly 45 degrees in the winter to an only slightly less chilly 53 degrees in the summer. Water so cold that if you were to fall off one of the ubiquitous Washington State ferries, you’d be dead before you could swim to shore.

Cheery thought. I know.

But, the water is warm enough to keep the climate of Western Washington relatively balmy when compared with the frigid winter climate East of the Cascades. Growing up there, I remember it typically snowed once per year. Winters were a lot of gray clouds and rain. The record was set one year while I was in high school. One hundred and five days in a row with rain. The term Black Ice, the phenomenon where the road freezes, but you can’t see it, was coined in the Northwest.

It was a typical winter day in high school. Probably 1981. The temperature was around 55 degrees. Cold enough that we were bundled up in our jackets, boots and mittens.

There was a new kid at school that day. My high school had about 1500 students, so a new student wasn’t hard to spot. He was even easier to spot because he was wearing shorts and a light jacket.

Dude, aren’t you cold?

No, man, it’s not even below freezing.

Well, maybe not technically, but it certainly feels like it.

You guys are wimps.

Were we wimps? Or was he just some super hero with great resistance to cold?

Neither. He had just moved. . .from Alaska. He’d come from a place where his “warm” was still below our “cold.” When he moved to Washington, his body decided it was shorts-weather.

I live in Utah. Our winters are colder than Western Washington, but not as cold as Alaska. During the winter the temperature is regularly below freezing. We regularly don’t figure it’s “cold” until it gets below zero.

My kids regularly walk to church in the winter wearing only shirt sleeves. Is it cold or are they just in the wrong state?

We are going on vacation to visit my mother in Arizona. It’s hot here. And it’s hot there. But, is it? Yesterday it was 97 degrees in Utah. Summers are hot. But, we don’t worry about it too much unless it gets above 100. The dry heat. But, are the summers really hot or are we in the wrong state? Arizona is 105 degrees this week. That’s where we are going.

I enjoy summer. I enjoy Utah summer. I don’t mind the heat. But, I’m afraid I might be in the wrong state.

Rodney M Bliss is an author, columnist and IT Consultant. His blog updates every weekday. He lives in Pleasant Grove, UT with his lovely wife, thirteen children and grandchildren.

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or email him at rbliss at msn dot com

(c) 2019 Rodney M Bliss, all rights reserved

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