Not Stressing Over the Weather

The prayer my mom always recited to me at least a couple times a day growing up was God grant me the serenity to accept the things I cannot change… . Yes, I cut it off for a reason. You see, that was the only line she would actually recite to me because it was the only one that usually applied. Whenever I was worried about something that a young boy could do nothing about, she would bust out the beginning of the “Serenity Prayer.”

It is a little ironic then that one of my worries I developed over the years came from a habit of hers. Besides the soap opera she would always record, my mom religiously watched the Weather Channel growing up. Often she would come downstairs where I would be watching our only cable TV and ask if she could quickly check the weather. I knew the drill. It was time for “Local on the 8s.” I would change the channel and listen to the calming music as my mom watched the report. After the automated voice would come on and read the outlook, my mom would let me change it.

I grew up watching the Weather Channel a lot.

I grew up watching the Weather Channel a lot.

Because of snowy Spokane weather and the impact it would have on daily life, it was important to keep a close eye on the Weather Channel. However, my mom was definitely a year-round viewer, interested in each and every forecast. Her dependence on the Weather Channel rubbed off on me.

Through the time I entered high school and into my adult years, I started to become pretty obsessed with the weather report. I wanted to know what I could expect for my various sporting events, both when I participated in them and then when I worked them. Pretty soon my interest in knowing the weather grew beyond just wanting the forecast for games. I now wanted to know exactly what the weather would be for weekends, vacations, family coming to town, festivals, etc.

As my reliance on weather reports grew, so did technology. The Weather Channel went from the television to the internet to smart phone apps. Along with the greater accessibility also came more thorough updates. Weekend reports turned to 5-day reports. Those 5-day reports turned to 10-day reports. Believe it or not, you can now get 25-day reports.

These extended reports proved to be the death of me. I would look at the forecast for a date on the calendar a whole week and a half out and start to stress. I remember when my dad, brother, and I went to New York several years ago to watch baseball at Yankee Stadium and Shea Stadium during the last season for both parks. In early July I looked at the forecast for mid-July and saw a 60% chance of rain. I let it make me miserable because my biggest fear was that the games would be rained out and our once-in-a-lifetime opportunity would be ruined. It turned out to be beautiful.

For our New York trip, I ended up worrying about the weather way too early in the game.

For our New York trip, I ended up worrying about the weather way too early in the game.

Of course I bring this topic up because our wedding week forecast is now in full view. It goes without saying that I want the weather to be gorgeous for all the events leading up to the wedding and for the big day itself. However, I am trying not to get too caught up in the extended forecast because it just isn’t worth it. It has taken me long enough to finally realize that a 10-day outlook is a crapshoot. With that said, deep down inside I am encouraged that the weather man is showing a very pleasant several days in store for us next week. However, I am waiting until the end of this week to really take stock in it.

This means absolutely nothing but our wedding week is looking pretty good!

This means absolutely nothing but our wedding week is looking pretty good!

The weather itself already has enough control over us. I suppose we shouldn’t succumb to it anymore by worrying about what it might or might do over a week in advance. To be honest, I will continue to take peeks at the weather over the next couple days. However, I won’t let it bother me one way or the other. Besides, wedding weeks are impossible to mess up, right? Don’t Blink.

Something that Happens all the Time

I always roll my eyes a little bit when people make a big deal out of an event that they feel is rare but actually isn’t that rare at all. Sometimes it makes me question if certain people have their memory banks working properly.

This week in Missoula we had a couple rather chilly days. In fact, we even got snow. No doubt about it, I hate it when it snows in April but it is not like it hasn’t ever happened before. But the late season snow was not what dominated everyone’s Facebook statuses and tweets regarding the weather over the last couple days. Instead, people focused on the low temperatures.

On Monday (April 22) we saw a record low of 15 degrees in the early morning. The next day we saw another record low as the mercury got as far down on the thermometer as 20 degrees. My reaction to these record days? Big deal. But my reaction was not shared by others as people went off the deep end proclaiming how crazy, bizarre, and non-typical these weather numbers were. Reactions like “OMG another record low for Missoula, summer must be canceled this year!”……”WTF Mother Nature? Are you serious?”…… “Another record low for Missoula, this is extraordinary”……..”Just don’t know how to explain these crazy temperatures we are experiencing, something must be up.” Oh, please.

I kind of think you have to be totally oblivious to weather patterns if you liken record temperature days to actual rare occurrences such as a full lunar eclipse or the appearance of a comet. Record low and record high temperature days happen somewhere in the country every single day. Every city will experience several record days in a year. Again, every single city will experience several record temperature days in a year!! With 365 days in a calendar year, unpredictable weather and climate patterns, and strong recorded weather data , daily weather records are bound to happen.

But I don’t want to pass all blame on to average citizens who hear the weather information and immediately feel that something unique is going on. I definitely feel the media fuels the hysteria by making a bigger deal about a pretty common occurrence. Headers and headlines that exclaim RECORD LOWS, extended weather reports, and utilizing breaking news to include such stories as weather records helps to blow something such as an unusually cool April day out of proportion.

I find myself using the word perspective a lot. I think if we use just a little bit of it when it comes to weather events we will be able to differentiate between occurrences that really are worth our attention versus occurrences that happen multiple times on a consistent yearly basis. Today the weather turned more seasonal and we had a sunny and beautiful spring day in the Garden City. Finally, Missoulians can relax…..until of course the next record low day comes next week. Don’t Blink.