Tuesday, October 28, 2008

Freezing in Florida

So, it’s been a mere three days since I raved about the delightfully crisp weather we were experiencing here in Tallahassee. Well, already I’m beginning to sing a different tune. Not that things have turned horrible, but today marked the first day of my (thus far brief) Floridian life when I have officially been cold. That’s cold, as in uncomfortably cool.

It actually started in the night. Shockingly, we had to turn on the heat because we all felt too chilly. Eddie even woke up in the night asking for his blanket, which is an extremely rare request. As if that weren’t enough of a warning sign, I stupidly dressed in my normal shorts and a short-sleeve shirt combo, assuming it would be pleasant by the time I was out and about. But it wasn’t. It was extremely brisk, and every time the wind picked up while I was walking around campus, to and from the bus stop, etc., I had to brace myself and think warm thoughts. My fingers ached from cold if I didn’t keep them shoved into my pockets. As I waited for my 9 a.m. bus today, the temperature being flashed on a sign across the street was a mere 42 degrees Fahrenheit. I never would have guessed that Florida could be so nippy.

To be honest, I did some research, and I think this is slightly abnormal for Florida. At least for this early into the autumn/winter part of the year. The average high in October is supposed to be 81 degrees F with a low in the upper 50’s. Not too shabby. It’s only December through February when the lows are supposed to dawdle in the lower 40’s and the highs typically max out in the mid-60’s. But somehow I thought even those temperatures would be more tolerable than I now expect them to be. In Atlanta, there was a sign across from the philosophy department that flashed the time and temperature, and I always wondered if it could be accurate because no matter how low the displayed temperature got, it never felt as bad to me as the number would suggest. I guess I expected Tallahassee to be similar. Now I’m being faced with the cold, hard truth, and I’m really glad I brought some sweaters.

Saturday, October 25, 2008

Awesome Autumn

I never thought I’d say this living in Florida, but autumn is in the air. As bizarre and unexpected as it may be, Tallahassee has thus far proven a more seasonal city than Atlanta. One of my complaints about Atlanta was that, even when it looked beautiful outside (i.e. gray and rainy), it actually felt muggy. But despite being four-and-a-half hours south of Georgia’s capital city, Tallahassee has been tickling my fancy with a week of rainy and crisp, brisk, breezy weather. It actually feels cool outside when it’s raining here lately! And when you head out in the mornings, you almost feel a little too cool! How amazing is that???

Granted, Atlanta got chilly in the winter. I was surprised how much I’d freeze on January mornings while I waited for the train. But it always seemed to warm up by the afternoon. It didn’t necessarily get hot in the winter months, but it didn’t stay cool. It would eventually level out and become that temperature where you can’t even feel it, neither warm nor cool. But Tallahassee has remained cool, even in the middle of the day. It’s rather pleasant! The only thing I miss about Atlanta is that the leaves actually changed color up there. The change went quickly, but at least you got a day or two of vibrant oranges and reds to ogle.

It was especially nice to have cool weather today. We attended our local church’s “Trunk or Treat,” an early Halloween celebration where children dress up in their costumes and collect candy from the open trunks of participating vehicles. In my mind, Halloween and brisk weather go together like caramel and apples, so I was delighted to feel the temperatures a little more in sync with my memories than I had expected. We all had a good time. Edison was too intimidated to try the hay ride, but it is admittedly a somewhat pointless practice. Can it really be all that exciting to be slowly driven around a parking lot, just because you happen to be sitting on straw? Apparently.

For the record, Eddie scored a nice purple plastic pumpkin full of candy. When given a choice of what candy to take, Eddie would always take lollipops (if they were available), and he systematically sampled his whole collection after making his way down the row of parked cars. He’d dutifully unwrap each sucker, give it one or two licks, and promptly return it to its paper packaging. Something tells me we won’t have to worry about him wanting to eat all of his Halloween candy in one night. Just a sample of everything will do him fine.

Monday, October 20, 2008

One Drop in the Romance Bucket

As of today, Melanie and I have been married for three years. You would probably expect me to follow that sentence with some sort of romantic sentiment, expressing just how much love I have for my wife or how the last three years have been the greatest of my life. But what I really want do is laugh. Three years? It seems absolutely absurd. Ridiculous!

Now, don’t get me wrong. I do love my wife, and the last three years have made the previous 27 years of my life seem relatively insignificant in comparison. So much of my identity today is being a husband and a father. I consider it a monumental blessing that I can say this. What a wonderful identity to have! But I can hardly believe that the depth of these roles extends back only three years. How can that be? Three years is nothing! How is it possible that I was not Edison’s dad three years ago? How could Peter not have been around just six months ago??? These are incredibly bizarre facts for my mind to make sense of. But certainly nothing out-boggles the mind like the fact that Melanie and I have been married a mere three years—that three years and one day ago, Melanie was not my bride!

Here are some further reasons that a three-year marriage sounds so laughable:
  1. Melanie has now occupied a full 33% of my life, a pretty cool fact given that I’m not really all that old.
  2. As she herself recently noted, Melanie has celebrated my last ten birthdays with me. Wow!
  3. Melanie and I knew each other back in the 20th century, for crying out loud!
Is it any wonder that three years sounds so silly?

My dearest Melanie, I hope you know how much you mean to me. I hope you know how much I appreciate and admire your commitment to our love and happiness, and how much you selflessly invest into making joy a daily reality in our home. I hope you know the influence that your values and priorities have on us as a family, making every one of us a better and happier person because of you. I hope you know the awe and reverence I feel toward you as I watch you somehow becoming more and more perfect as time goes on. And I hope you will forgive me if the thought of a three year anniversary makes me want to break into hysterics.

Happy anniversary, MelanieMine. I love you endlessly!

Tuesday, October 07, 2008


I'm 30 years old today. I admit, it sounds funny to say it. I've never been the type of person to think age is a big deal, but there is something a little more noticeable about entering a new decade. Who cares about going from 28 to 29? You only spend a year as a 28-year-old, so it's easy enough to give up. But I've spent a whole decade—a significant decade—in my 20's. It's the decade I most closely identify with at this point. The first two decades of my life—well, I've changed a lot since then. Will I one day say the same thing about my 20's? Actually, I hope so, at least in some respects. But it's ... fascinating, I guess ... to think I could view my 20's in a way similar to the way I now view my teenage years. But why wouldn't I? By the end of my 30's, I will (hopefully!) have published articles in scholarly journals, be working as a professor in (odds are) some other state, be living in a house, and I'll be months away from having a teenage son of my own (not to mention an unknown number of children I haven't even met yet). Those aren't exactly minor changes.

On a more lighthearted note, you know you're an adult (or at least more of an adult than not) when your birthday wishes start to revolve around home improvements. This year, here are some of the (sincere, mind you) ideas I've had for gifts to myself: stapling up the coaxial cable that connects our television to the cable jack (so it's not loose and dragging), putting up a rod in my bedroom so I can hang up a curtain and better block out the light, and (as if I have the money to do so) a new couch. Not that any of these things aren't nice. It's just that my thoughts used to turn to CDs and DVDs when I thought about treating myself to something fun. I didn't think about new furniture or making trips to Home Depot.

In the end, I realize that 30 isn't any bigger of a deal than any other age. It's just that turning 30 is one of those existential rest stops where one can look back on the road traveled so far and marvel at how much ground has been covered. One can also look ahead and try to get a glimpse of what's to come. (One can stop and do this at any point, of course, but it just so happens that, due to convention, they've erected a very prominent rest stop at the 30-year-mark and most people tend to stop at it.) There is some idea of what the future holds, but the eyes can only see so far. The terrain doesn't change too much between here and there, where your vision fuzzes and fades. Nevertheless, you know that some day soon enough, this rest stop itself will be long gone and you won't be coming back. You know this isn't the end of your journey (though some never make it this far—a jarring thought, in and of itself), but sometimes you have to stop, sit down, and kick your feet up before you see just how worn your shoes really are. You take it all in, take a deep breath, (blow out your candles), and head on your way. And in 10 years, you'll do it again.