We had a long and pretty normal winter. Our winters in lower Michigan can be awfully cold (by that, I mean temperatures close to 0° F). But this past winter, I don’t think it went below the 20s more than a handful of days. We had more snow than last year – a little more than average for us, I think – but no big storms that dropped 2 feet or anything like that. We just had multiple drops of 5 or 6 inches. Very manageable. Here’s my house in the winter. Who wouldn’t want to snuggle up here in front of the fire?
So now it’s spring, and so far, it’s been enjoyable – amazing in fact, as always. Plants and trees go from invisible (or brown) and dormant to lively green shoots so quickly! The picture on the left is one of my little gardens and was taken nine days ago.
Lately, the temperature has been hovering around 70, and we had lots of rain, which is great for me, because I love rainy days. I thrive on the cozy feeling you get when it rains steadily all day. I like it when it’s cold and snowy outside and the radiators click on in every room. I must have a major nesting instinct, because my favorite seasons are the ones when we’re snuggled into our house and having a fire in the fireplace, when the oven is on and something is roasting or baking. Chances are, one or more of my kids will stop by because they know there’ll be something good on for dinner. I like winter sports – ice hockey and skiing. I like walking the dog in the cold weather.
And I hate being hot. Summers here are sweltering – hot and humid. It used to be that we’d have only a few days of 90°F weather, but last year, we were close to 100°F for weeks at a time. Even the people who have air conditioning in their homes complained about it. Because how do you do your yard work when it’s 98°? When do you walk your dog? At dawn? When it’s only 80° with 90% humidity? I have to insert here that my house is nearly 100 years old, and it has no ductwork. We have pipes for steam heat, but in order to put in central air, it would cost about $25,000 or more. And since we never used to have so many crazy-hot days, it didn’t matter so much. Luckily, we do put in a few room air conditioners, so we can get some relief. You can see them in the picture on the left, hanging out of the upstairs bedroom windows (and there’s my poor, parched lawn, too).
But back to the season itself. Summer is when friends and family leave town, go on vacations or away to their cottages. And I miss them. My kids always seemed to be … well, somewhat out of my control during summer vacation. A way from structure. They spent their days at our community pool, they were involved in summer sports (like swimming and baseball, which are not my favorite spectator sports), skateboarding, and riding bikes; playing with their friends. Which is all good, right? They needed their unstructured, down time between school years – because, as we all know – tight schedules and responsibilities come all too soon.
But enough whining! This summer, I’ve got a couple of things to look forward to. In July, I’ll be going to Atlanta (another hot place, right?) for the RWA conference. I’m pretty excited to be able to see – in person! – my Jaunty Quill buddies! I’m also going to Scotland during the first two weeks of August. This is exciting because it’s been eight years since I was there, and now I’m writing Scottish Highlander books, so I need to do some live and in-person research. My newest book (The Highlander’s Desire) will be released just a few days before I leave. I’ll tell you more about it when we’re closer to release day. In the meantime – what are your plans for this summer? Have you made any yet?