Monday, September 19, 2011

Walking in a Winter Wonder-when-it's-going-to-be-over Land

Grab this related post Widget!
It appears the malaise that has been our weather for the past few weeks is showing signs of moving on, so I now feel more comfortable writing about this subject. We’re still getting unexpected daily showers but at least they are interspersed with some sunshine, and the temps are definitely warmer.

You see, I really do hate complaining about the weather. I generally think that people who focus on that particular subject just don’t have enough to occupy their mind. That being said, our weather has been so rainy, chilly, cloudy and gloomy for so long that I found myself growing increasingly miserable to the point that I considered joining the ranks of the serial whiners.

Speaking of which, I just finished watching an annoying YouTube video of a new family in Cuenca sitting around their dining room table bitching about things they don’t like here. The comments ranged from ridiculous (“People stare at me too much.” Whatever.) to questionable (“You can’t watch videos with the lousy internet.” Really? I watched that bunch of sourpusses for 13 straight minutes without interruption.) to valid (“Electronics are more expensive.” Everything imported is more expensive, amigos).

But the truest complaint was about all the internet sites that trumpet Cuenca’s perfect year-round “springlike weather.”

First let’s put things in perspective. Winter in Cuenca isn’t really like “winter” as you might imagine where you live. This season it’s been unusually rainy and cold, but the lowest temp was 41 degrees. That may not seem too awful, but remember we don’t have or usually need HVAC systems. So when it never warms up you can sometimes feel colder in your own home than walking around outside. The temps in our apartment consistently ranged from 65 to as low as 55 degrees some nights. As we say in the South, “That’s just not right!” Thank God some wonderful friends recently brought us a heated mattress pad from the States. It has been a lifesaver.

During the “dark days” I often sat here at the computer dressed in jeans and a sweater. On top of that was my bathrobe. And on my head was this weird tall pointy elf hat my daughter brought me from Germany. Going barefoot around the house was out of the question, and I even took to sometimes wearing socks on my hands because I can’t seem to find any gloves around here. Did I look ridiculous? Absolutely. Did I care? Absolutely not.

It is ironic that someone who no longer even lives on this continent but for some reason continues to report on life in Cuenca recently posted an article about the wonderful weather we supposedly always enjoy. The timing couldn’t have been worse, because no one who actually lives here would have ever thought to mention this sore subject.

Locals swear they’ve never seen anything like the nonstop, overcast, nippy weather and are sick of it too. How strange to read that the US has just suffered through the hottest summer in the last 75 years. Down here it seems Al Gore got it backwards—“global cooling” seems to be the problem.

Several days ago we got a peek of sunshine in the early afternoon. This was followed by a horrible hail storm blowing sideways that had Cynthia and me running all over the house with beach towels trying to stay ahead of the leaky windows. Construction standards in Cuenca are somewhat “casual;” our windows aren’t perfectly sealed and depending on the direction of the storm, water can sometimes be seeping in under six windows at once during downpours.

The first time the sun actually came out for a few hours I hurriedly pulled my lawn chair out of the basement to get horizontal and replenish my decreasing levels of Vitamin D. I cannot tell you how good that heat felt on my body. Staying inside can keep you dry but not warm.

I read that our dismal weather has been caused by La Nina, which pulls cold air up through Peru. Thankfully this condition occurs only two or three times a decade. Many have feared we’re experiencing a “new normal” that none of us signed up for.

Right now it’s once again raining but we’re enjoying a balmy 67 degrees inside and I’m staying in front of the TV all afternoon watching the NFL with some buddies, so all is well. Spring will soon be upon us with awesome weather until March. It will be welcomed “warmly.”


half_life said...

We will be there in a little over 3 weeks, do we need to bring you a sun lamp?? :)..long underwear maybe, with or without flap?

You'll warm up just laughing at the sight of two naieve gringos with that deer in the head light look, pockets full of change, passport and dollar bills hidden in our secret compartment traveling pants(ask my wife)....can't wait..!!

Edd Staton said...

No, the weather has improved dramatically. Still a bit cool and intermittent rain, but periods of sunshine daily. Let me know when you get here.

light9 said...

Sorry to hear that the cold and rainy weather that we experience in Cuenca this July has lasted so long. The last week of July seemed to promise warmer and dryer. then we left for home in really HOT and dry Houston, Texas! Ha! All of August, we talked about the cold and wet that we left back in Cuenca.

We had a good time, made some friends, and talk of returning some day. But whether we could enjoy living there, that's an unresolved question. In the meantime, I will continue to read your blogs.

Warren Light