While a good section of the country was being pummeled by freezing rain and one-two- punch snow storms, and people from the northeast and mid-west were dealing with power outages and frozen water pipes, Rich and I traveled to warm, (if not always sunny), Florida. A business associate in Texas told me in our phone conversation, “We’ve had 100 hours of continuous below freezing temperatures, and our pipes aren’t built for that eventuality. We’ve had water main breaks all over Fort Worth.”
On our connecting flight out of Atlanta, the plane was barely half full as feeder flights from Chicago, New York, and Cleveland had been cancelled due to the weather. When Rich’s brother picked us up at the airport we weren’t sure whether to gloat or speak humbly of our good fortune in being able to escape the messy climatic conditions.
It is said that no one can do anything about the weather, but in Florida we find ourselves surrounded by people who have done something dramatic about it for themselves. They’ve moved from places more likely to have winter-related weather traumas to Florida. And by hurricane season, they’ll have traveled back north. Lucky for us, our relatives are willing to host other escapees, at least for a short respite.
Checking in with friends and relatives around the country we learn that, while we were lounging on the veranda, keeping track of the white pelicans and a noisy blue heron, another of Rich’s relatives spent the weekend in a hotel in his hometown in Tucson. Due to the freeze in Arizona his 6000 square foot home, worthy of a listing in Architectural Digest, had no water. My sister in North Texas, who lives in an A-frame she and her husband built from a Home Depot kit, fared better because last fall an agency with money from the federal government winterized their home. But later she wrote me, “Seems like Pittsburgh has moved south and is living in our house. I fixed the water line twice so far, and the good news is, I can fix it. The bad news, it’s ruined my nails.”
On the way back to Pittsburgh I overhead some fellows comparing stories of ordeals, delays and flight cancellations as they traveled to the Super Bowl. When ice shut down the DFW airport they rented cars and drove hundreds of miles out of their way to watch their team lose. This may have been why they were questioning everything. “I started out trying to save a couple hundred dollars. It was so not worth it,” one suited 40s something said. “So much for global warming, Mr. Gore,” quipped another blue jean clad 30s something in a Steeler jacket.
I wanted to tell him there’s a difference between climate and weather, and that they’re related but I thought better of getting in the middle of their “ain’t it awful,” conversation. Wonder how they would have responded if I’d told them what I really think – Mother Nature’s mad at the way we’ve been treating her, and she isn’t going to take it anymore.