Inlaws and Cold Weather in Charlotte

By: Dennis Bates

I know that joy comes in the morning, but why is it that you always spill the big glass of water in the middle of the night? At your daughter’s house. All over her hardwood floors?


We’ve been visiting our oldest daughter for the past several days in Charlotte, North Carolina. We come down here frequently this time of the year to get away from the Iowa winter, which this year is on a record setting pace for nastiest in a long time. We have had snow on the ground since November and the coldest temperatures I can remember in a long time. Last Thursday when we left it was 18 degrees below zero air temperature. The wind chill was 30 degrees below zero. But we missed the realcold; the night after we left it was 29 degrees below zero (one degree short of a record), with a wind chill of minus 50.


So when we pulled into Charlotte and they had winter weather advisories out because it was going to get down below 32, we laughed and got out our T shirts and shorts. It seemed downright balmy to us.


The only problem was that somewhere between Iowa and North Carolina I picked up a bug of some sort, so for the last two days I have been trying to get rid of it. At night I have gotten so dry that I have been keeping a large glass of water on the small night stand next to the bed in my daughter’s guest bedroom. The first two nights were uneventful. However, last night when I looked at the glass, I thought to myself that I had been fortunate so far, but I was beginning to push the fringes of my luck more than a little.


To put it mildly, I am not the smoothest, best coordinated person God created. Clumsy would be one of the nicer words you might use in describing me, and I’d take offense at that if it weren’t so accurate and verifiable. My wife will not allow me to be around sharp objects or power tools without proper supervision, and again, I would be offended but have the scars on my hands and arms to remind me that she is right.


So, last night in the dark when I stumbled back to our bedroom from the bathroom that is just across the hall, I felt my way carefully back to the bed, saying to myself don’t bump the night stand, don’t…and about the third time through the mantra in the dark, I heard the thud, and then the splash as a full 16 ounces of water splattered everywhere. My wife turned the light on and looked at me, quietly getting up and bringing me two towels from the bathroom so I could clean up. As she climbed back into bed, she said something encouraging like, “I figured it was only a matter of time.”


And, of course, she was right. Still, the whole episode left me with another deep question to ponder. How can slightly less than 16 ounces of water take more than 32 ounces of effort to clean up if you spill it?


Weather update: Charlotte had snow here two nights ago for the first time in five years. The final total was about 4 inches. In addition, the temperatures dipped into the teens last night, hardly anything to worry about in the Midwest, but very cold for here. So far, gracious as the people we have met here have been about most things, none have said y’all come back now, you hear, and bring us some more of that great Yankee weather. Who can blame them?


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