Saturday, January 9, 2010

Nutty Weather

Currently 50 degrees with a windchill of 44 with colder temperatures to follow tonight after the wind blows the clouds and rain away. These conditions are nothing for people Up North but are extreme for the Keys. I could see my breath today which was a bit of a shocker, when I braved outdoor conditions to pick some lettuce.

So we got a special weather statement, just for us tonight:


THE STRONG NORTH WINDS WILL DRAW COLD AIR SOUTHWARD THROUGH TONIGHT... WITH TEMPERATURES FALLING INTO THE 40S. UPPER KEYS COMMUNITIES WILL BE COLDEST WITH LOWS AROUND 40 BOTH TONIGHT AND SUNDAY NIGHT. WIND CHILLS WILL DIP INTO THE 30S IN MOST UPPER AND MIDDLE KEYS COMMUNITIES WITH WIND CHILLS DOWN TO AT LEAST 40 IN THE LOWER KEYS.

A WIND CHILL ADVISORY WILL LIKELY BE REQUIRED TONIGHT FOR THE UPPER KEYS AND PORTIONS OF THE MIDDLE KEYS.

FLORIDA KEYS RESIDENTS ARE ENCOURAGED TO DRESS WARMLY... TAKING INTO ACCOUNT THE WET AND RAINY CONDITIONS. ALSO... CARE PROPERLY FOR ANY SENSITIVE PETS OR PLANTS.

THE FOLLOWING IS THE LATEST COLD WEATHER SHELTER INFORMATION...

THE BURTON MEMORIAL UNITED METHODIST CHURCH... LOCATED AT 93001 US HIGHWAY 1 IN TAVERNIER... THE ISLAND CHRISTIAN SCHOOL... FAMILY LIFE CENTER... LOCATED AT 83400 OVERSEAS HIGHWAY IN ISLAMORADA... AND ST. PETER CATHOLIC CHURCH... LOCATED AT MILE MARKER 31.3 IN BIG PINE KEY WILL BE OPERATIONAL AS COLD WEATHER SHELTERS WHEN THE TEMPERATURE IS BELOW 50 DEGREES. HOURS OF OPERATION ARE FROM 900 PM TO 700 AM.

As odd as it sounds there are many people with no form of heat in their homes (or boats) and the cold is exacerbated by people not being at all used to it, not having cold weather clothes and the particular nature of the damp air in these marshy islands, which makes it all extra bone numbing. My hope is that we will have a quiet night at work as it will hopefully be too cold for people to go outdoors...It is an ill wind that blows no one any good!

Before The Freeze

"I've got to get out," the lady walking her dog said," before the Big Freeze." Oh, I thought, haven't we had enough already? I do understand the pleasure that one can feel when the heat and humidity of summer is broken by a strong cold front, but rolling around enjoying prolonged temperatures below 70 degrees (21C) merits deportation in my opinion. I had an appointment in town and the idea was to tire Cheyenne out with a long street walk and as we ambled and sniffed I got it into my head there are a lot of small odd things about Key West that keep catching my eye, even after all this time. Perhaps Christmas turtles aren't particular to Key west (there must be a Chinese factory somewhere spewing out these absurdities) but they look odd to my jaundiced eye.
It might have been pre-freeze but Friday morning dawned cold and clear. My feet were cold after I got out of bed and I was sure I should have been able to see my breath as we scooted downstairs to look for the car. Frankly at the moment I'm glad Cheyenne is my excuse not to ride. This rooster was sunk in the dirt and unwilling to leave his snug nest even when the dog rolled on by. That's how cold the locals feel it around here:Someone had hung a pair of skimpy purple panties on a tree in Bill Butler Park. I have come across such trophies while walking in the mangroves and I wonder if it is some new fad I am missing.Orin of Old Skool Scootin of Portland Oregon mentions a campaign to "Keep Portland Weird" and I recall a similar campaign in Santa Cruz, California during my twenty years in that city. I came to the conclusion that by the time such a campaign is underway (and I've seen such bumper stickers in Austin, Texas when we were checking out if we wanted to live there), it's too late. Key West has no need of such a motto as people already work hard to keep things weird and the newcomers have been overwhelmed by the weirdness. This is the time of year the whiny snowbirds fill the Citizen's Voice with complaints about noise, and trash and so forth but the weirdness continues unabated. I find small things much more interesting than the display of forced eccentricity played out for tourists. This aircraft flew overhead when I had my camera out and the combination of salmon pink, aquamarine and flower power graphics struck me as very weird indeed. Perhaps it is just advertising something: So I figured to myself a sign telling people not to trespass is always silly when it's obviously private property. This is the US after all. In England trespassing is not illegal but of course here it is, yet people feel the need to reinforce their fear of trespass with the oddest sense of what's needed. I mean would anyone consider trespassing here if they hadn't put the sign up? "Private Property" and welcome to it I say. This next one is in urgent need of a dumpster, and there were no signs on this yard. perhaps they are hoping someone will trespass if only to take away the refrigerator under the tarp?
I don't know if pink flamingos are odd when found holding up the eaves of a house but that was how these charmers struck me: "The Stumbledoor" - I always feel like I'm missing some obvious cultural allusion when I see stuff like this:Key West continues to be packed with normal people, visitors and their money and sometimes they are more obvious than even they imagine. The rolling suitcase was a dead giveaway in this case, but the flip flops? Damnation:they are on vacation and one wears sandals on one's tropical holiday. Never mind the temperature.I have enjoyed a couple of nights off but when I went out to dinner last night I was reminded work is never very far away. In the middle of the meal a woman at the next door table got up and started yelling for help, as her husband had passed out in his chair. "Anyone know CPR?" I called out hoping against hope. Unfortunately in a restaurant full of people there was only me. Happily he had a pulse, I remembered what to do (training works) and before I had to give him a kiss he started to come round. Rescue was on scene surprisingly quickly and they wheeled him away. It occurred to me that calling the Red Cross or the American Heart Association or asking at your local hospital about CPR classes might be a good thing to do if you haven't already. If I hadn't been there, of a hundred people in the building, there was no one else who knew what to do.


It turned out he was from Quebec and if I'd known that I would have held back and just finished my cheeseburger while it was still hot. (That's a joke. Not sarcasm, okay?).