Arkie Mama: An open letter to those from northern climes

Dear Transplants:

Many of you have been rather … well, smug … in recent days. Here in central Arkansas, temps plunged into single-digits last night, prompting those of us used to milder Southern winters — where snow remains very much a big deal — to complain about the frigid air and wintery precip.

I’ve read snarky comments on Facebook, Twitter and blog posts — comments in which those who hail from less moderate climes mock snow-stunned Southerners for their dismay over this unusual (for us) weather.

May I remind you northern folk that we here in the south have no basis for comparison? That to us, single-degree temps are not the norm? That we did not grow up playing in snow or learning to drive on ice? That our cities and counties don’t own the kind of equipment typically used to clear roads? That most of us don’t own the attire & accessories required for such weather?

Well, consider this your reminder.

And also? In the summer, while you moan and groan and carry on about how unbearably hot it is, we southerners will continue to sit on our porch swings, sipping cocktails and watching our neighbors walk their dogs. We’ll snicker when you gripe about a high of 90 and tell you that until you’ve lived through summers loaded with triple-digit days, you really¬† have no reason to whine.

While you seek refuge in your air-conditioned homes, we’ll carry on as usual with our deck-sitting, porch-gathering, hiking, camping and boating. We’ll spend long days at pools and beaches. We’ll shop delightedly for sandals and sundresses, which really are much more flattering than those itchy, bulky sweaters that make you look 10 pounds heavier.

We’ll sweat, sure, but hey, we’re used to heat. It doesn’t make your arthritis flare up or your joints hurt. It doesn’t chap your hands and lips. It doesn’t shut down roads or schools. Just slap on some sunscreen, grab your sunglasses and plenty of water and you’re good to go.

So yeah, you can mock us now for our cold-weather complaining. But when you land in Florida after your retirement, I’ll be more than happy to remind you of how a little cold and snow is “nothing to whine about.”

We spent a full, fun day at SeaWorld during a Texas triple-digit streak.

We spent a full, fun day at SeaWorld during a Texas triple-digit streak.

San Antonio summer 2005. You Yanks would be sprawled under a ceiling fan, incapacitated.

San Antonio summer 2005. You Yanks would be sprawled under a ceiling fan, incapacitated.

We don't wait 'til evening to head outside. Arkansas summer, 2006.

We don't wait 'til evening to head outside. Arkansas summer, 2006.

We love our long, lazy, sunny days.

We love our long, lazy, sunny days.

Every year, Hubs and I hike the Texas desert in 90-plus temps.

Every year, Hubs and I hike the Texas desert in 90-plus temps.

Arkie Mama: A shoutout to my stepson

Today, Ty graduated from the Coast Guard Training Academy. And I’m so proud of him!

It’s hard to believe that the 9-year-old kid I met in 2000 is now an adult. It’s also hard to imagine my stepson without his hair!

Anyway, congratulations, Ty!

Now let’s take a trip down memory lane, shall we?

Totally humoring dad's request to take a photo.

Totally humoring dad's request to take a photo.

From left, Tootie, CeCe, E-man, Ty

From left, Tootie, CeCe, E-man, Ty

Spring break 2005 in San Antonio

Spring break 2005 in San Antonio

See why I can't imagine him without hair?

See why I can't imagine him without hair?

Brothers

Brothers

This is one of my favorite photos.

This is one of my favorite photos.

Big Dam Bridge

Big Dam Bridge

And now he's headed for the mighty Mississip

And now he's headed for the mighty Mississip

Arkie Mama: I don’t do winter

I’d like to be one of those moms who gets all into bundling up right along with her little darlins’ and building snowmen.

But I’m not.

See below.

Winter Cathy

Winter Cathy

So while I’d like to see a bit of the white stuff for the kids’ sake, I’m more than happy to let Hubs handle all cold-weather activities. I prefer to sit on the couch with a cup of coffee and watch the fun through the window.

I’m a summer mom. Give me sunshine and blessed heat and I’m super fun.

I’ll hang out with the kids all day at the pool. Or a beach. Or any theme park.

See below.

I heart heat.

I heart heat.

So this whole business of single-digit temps?

Sucks.

Arkie Mama: The E-man freaks out over Up

So a few minutes before we departed my parents’ Texas home yesterday, the little people finished yet another viewing of my mom’s copy of Up.

“It’s almost time to leave!” I announced.

The E-man promptly fell into hysterics.

“We’ll come visit again,” I said, hugging him.

“I don’t WANT to get old!” the E-man replied. “I don’t WANT to die!”

Huh???

“Um. What are you talking about, E-man.”

“When you get old and die, you can’t move your arms and legs,” he wailed.

I looked questioningly at Tootie, who shrugged.

“He asked me to explain,” she said, gesturing toward the DVD cover.

Oh, great, I thought, all too aware of Tootie’s love for scaring the crap out of her little brother.

Thus began a discussion about aging, dying and the afterlife.

The E-man was somewhat mollified. But then his eyes narrowed.

“How old is Nana?” he asked.

“Er … ”

“How old is Granddaddy? How old is Papaw?”

“Uh …”

“How old are you?”

“Oh, I’m only 39!”

And the E-man exploded into tears yet again.

Thanks, kid.

Arkie Mama: Road-trippin’ thru Texas

Thus far, the kids and I have roamed through east and central Texas, pigged out on barbecue (beef, not pork!) and feasted on Tex-Mex. And there may have been a trip to an Ikea, conveniently located a mere 15 minutes away from my parents’ house. And a few items may have been purchased, but all in the name of New Year’s organization.

*cough*

More tomorrow. Must sleep off the dinners I’ve consumed today. Urrgh. Tums, please.