OK, I’m a weather geek. I cheerfully watch the Weather Channel. I have the Storm Prediction Center and my local National Weather Service forecast sites bookmarked, and at the top of the bookmark list, no less, ahead of Lucasforums, if you can believe that. So of course I’ve been following the storm that is about to bury us in something like 20 inches of snow. After several calls to Hubby today,
“Honey, did you hear? We might get 6-10 inches of snow.”
“Honey, did you hear? We might get 10-14 inches of snow.”
“Honey, did you hear? We might get 16-20 inches of snow!”
Well, 20 inches is apparently my threshold level where I feel the sudden urge to buy milk and bread. This threshold varies from person to person and place to place. Now, you have to understand, I grew up in Wisconsin. I know winter very well, having lived through multiple snowy winters with sub-zero temperatures. So, when I lived on the Gulf Coast of Texas for 1 year, I was a bit amused by their concept of ‘winter’. They pull out parkas when it’s below 50, and they fussed over me and informed me I’d catch pneumonia because I was wearing a sweater and a warm jacket when it was 48 out. I don’t pull out the parka until it’s going to be below freezing myself.
Anyway, I also discovered their threshold for buying milk and bread apparently is 32 degrees. This happened one day in January when an arctic high hit much of the US, including Texas. The media was beside itself with the news that it was going to be below freezing that night. Before leaving for work, I took my pot of impatiens off the porch and put them inside, slipped on my sweater and jacket since it was going to get up to 50 that day, and headed out. All morning long the staff talked about the weather, who had bought milk and bread, who was going out to buy milk and bread at lunch, and which stores still had milk and bread, because many were sold out. As I headed out to lunch, I stopped the co-worker who I had come to depend upon for cultural information about the Deep South, seeing as I was a Clueless Northerner. Michelle had her parka on and looked worriedly at my sweater/jacket combo.
Me: Is there some kind of holiday tomorrow that I don’t know about? Everyone’s going out to buy milk and bread like the stores are going to be closed.
Michelle (looking at me like I must be a Clueless Northerner): Haven’t you heard the news?
Me: Apparently not.
Michelle: It’s going to be below freezing tonight!!
At this point, I was still quite unclear about how the freezing point could remotely be related to buying milk and bread.
Me: Yeah, I saw that on the news. It’s an arctic high pressure system–beautiful blue skies today, I noticed. I’m glad I’m not in Wisconsin–it’s probably 20 below there tonight. I did make sure to bring my impatiens in the house. We’re supposed to have nice weather the rest of the week, I heard.
Michelle’s look told me that clearly I did not understand how ‘cold’ works in Texas. She continued: You don’t understand–when it gets below 32, it can SNOW!!!
It took every shred of self control I had not to laugh at that.
Me (trying hard to keep a giant grin off my face, lips twitching dangerously): Well, it can snow when it’s below 32, but it’s not going to snow. I promise. It’s an arctic high and there are no clouds.
Michelle: You don’t understand. If it snows, we’re stuck in our houses for 3 days until it melts, because we don’t know how to drive in it. Are you getting milk and bread over lunch? I think the Super-Wal-mart still has some left.
Me: No, I’m just going to get lunch.
Michelle: What?!? You have a little baby–you can’t run out of milk and bread!
I finally realized there was going to be no peace with Michelle unless I reassured her about my milk and bread plans.
Me (fibbing only a little, since I drink Diet Pepsi and my son was still on formula at that point): Oh, I’m OK–I got milk and bread the day before last when I went grocery shopping.
Michelle: Are you sure that’s enough?
Me (nodding enthusiastically): Oh, yes, we’ve got plenty.
I thought of that exchange as I went to the store tonight for, you guessed it, milk and bread, which we really were out of. Apparently the rest of Wisconsin had the same idea, because the milk was running low and the shelves were completely empty of our favorite bread. I’ll have to bake some bread tomorrow. 🙂