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BEUSCHEL: Coping with the unpredictability of Michigan weather

• Apr 20, 2017 at 4:00 PM

One of the things I most love about Michigan is its weather. Or should I say the consistent inconsistency of its weather?

I hear many of my fellow Michiganders say, “If you don’t like the weather right now, wait a few minutes. It will change.”

I think half the fun of living here is the wide range of weather and the not knowing what to expect despite the meteorologists’ best efforts.

Case in point: When my Texas grandchildren were planning to visit me over their spring break in March, I encouraged them to bring everything from swim suits (for the Aquatic Center) to winter coats if they had ones, which they didn’t. I told them that there’s been snow off and on, but so it was anyone’s guess what it would be like when they got here.

Well, thanks to the unpredictability of Michigan weather, they were able to fly here without delays and enjoy a sunny day at the Grand Haven pier and beach. They love to climb the big rocks along the pier and stick their bare-footed toes gingerly into the big lake.

Mid-week, we had a nice blast of snow, that snow-globe type that just lightly blew around in the air and barely covered the ground. Not enough for sledding, which they reminded me they had never done. But, there was enough to make snow balls and find some freakishly long icicles.

The snow disappeared and they had smooth flying back to Texas. Back to 80-degree weather, no coats needed.

Shortly after they left, I noticed the first signs of spring — the crocus were starting to pop up. They seem to bring the first spring burst of color to the landscape.

They got me revved up about spring and I thought it was time for Mom and I to take our annual trek to Country Green House. The thought of being in the warm and humid greenhouse amid lots of plants and flowers was wonderfully enticing. So, on April 1, there we were! Although there were thousands of plants, few had their flowers opened up yet, so instead of some flowers I snagged two beautiful Boston ferns for my front entryway.

Just as I was enjoying seeing them by my front door, the overnight temps took a dive. I quickly Googled how low a temperature ferns can tolerate and found it to be about 35. So I moved them into the garage for a few days and now they’re doing well back outside. But I still check the forecast every day, because, of course, this is Michigan!

When I saw the flyer for the GVSU Lubbers Cup Regatta, I marked my calendar and planned to watch it again this year. Last year was my first effort, but the wind, snow and sleet eliminated much of the races. However, my granddaughter and I got there just in time to see all the trophies handed out.

Well, this year, we got to the observation point at the end of the race lanes and were bundled up, since it was sunny but cold. We saw most of Saturday’s race, which was exciting, and met several parents there cheering their children on. But Michigan pulled a fast one again and I heard Sunday’s race was cut short due to windy weather. Maybe next year will be the charm? Maybe.

If nothing else can be said about Michigan’s weather, it always gives you an opening point for conversation when meeting and greeting people in the store, elevator, parking lot or waiting in line at Meijer. People say things like, “It’s great to see the sun again” or “This wind is really something” or “Didn’t have to use my shovel much this winter.” Or sometimes there’s some reminiscing added to it like, “Remember the blizzard of “’78?” or “I remember golfing on Christmas Day!” or “Do you member when the tornado went through Michigan last year?”

When I open my closets and see bins of gloves, scarves, hats and shoe racks with rain and snow boots, I often wonder if people’s closets are less stuffed in temperate climates? All this extra seasonal paraphernalia would not be needed, right? However, their closets might be filled with golf shoes and gloves, tennis shoes, snorkeling /scuba equipment, sun hats, visors, and baseball caps. I guess stuffed closets are probably a universal dilemma.

Because we never know what kind of weather to expect in Michigan regardless of the season, I think I appreciate it more when we get seasonally appropriate weather. Even more than that, I’m ready to jump up and down when the sun shows itself, even if it is only for half a day!

Our weather is far from boring, consistently inconsistent. I think we Michigan people take pride in that and have a lot of fun joking about it. Maybe all that joking and laughing about our Michigan weather added to an environment that earned Grand Haven the recognition as the “Happiest Beach” and “Best Place to Retire.” I’m already here!

— By Janice R. Beuschel, Tribune community columnist

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