19 August 2011

Where to Retire--Climate

Welcome back. I’ll never get used to the humidity around here. I normally listen to the weather report on radio before jogging, but this morning I checked The Weather Channel. The relative humidity was 99 percent. Isn’t that rain? It might as well be. I was dripping before I stepped off our (newly renovated) front stoop.

Before my wife, Vicki, and I decided to divide our post-retirement life between our present home near Washington, D.C., and her father’s garage apartment in Wisconsin, I spent hours searching for the optimum retirement location.
 
Climate Rules

First, I eliminated the West Coast because it’s far from the East Coast. Also, Vicki has this thing about earthquakes. 
 
Our indoor weather station
  hasn’t worked for years.
Then, before considering medical, transportation, recreation and a bundle of other factors, I zeroed in on weather and climate. That’s my show-stopper. I’m an old man Goldilocks--not too hot or too cold and definitely not too humid. 

When I began my search, I tried to shortcut the process with the “best place” ratings from different sources. I gave up on that approach the moment I saw a city in Minnesota at or near the top of one of the lists. 
 
With all due respect to Minnesotans and their 10,000 lakes, how could a state where the temperature was below zero degrees Fahrenheit for 66 consecutive days be chosen for anything other than best place to save money on refrigerators? Minnesotans must be thrilled that the state’s average temperature is below freezing for only about half the year. 
 
I’m not being fair. There must be warmer locations in the state, somewhere. If not, Minnesotans could move next door to North Dakota. Oh, that probably wouldn’t be warmer, would it? Well, they could try South Dakota--“south” sounds warmer--or tropical Wisconsin.

Snow

Vicki after shoveling out
  from “Snowmageddon.”
Many retirees try to get away from snow. Being from Upstate New York, I don’t mind snow as long as it’s plowed. With so much traffic here in the D.C. area, clearing highways can be a challenge.

The last heavy snowfall came shortly before rush hour. Early the next morning, I awoke and heard the daytime radio traffic announcer still describing road conditions. People were stuck in traffic for 12 hours or longer! I wish I were exaggerating. The people who were stuck wish I was exaggerating

Nice plow job!
They've gotten much better at plowing the roads in our neighborhood. Over the years it’s improved from “Don’t worry, spring is coming,” to one narrow plow width down the center of our street, to plowing parked car to parked car within a day or two of the snowfall.

Wrap Up

All in all, I think our decision to split the year between our present home and Wisconsin will work out fine weather-wise. Like Minnesota and the Dakotas, Wisconsin is great in the summer.

And summer is the optimum time to observe and study Wisconsin’s state bird, the mosquito. Can you believe there are over 50 species to monitor and census?
 

If I tire of that, I can always seek the elusive deer tick. I hear the percentage of ticks carrying Lyme disease has really picked up. I can’t wait! 
 
Thanks for stopping by. I’ll write again in about a week.

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