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Milwaukee's Daily Magazine for Thursday, April 17, 2014

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Not liking that big, taunting thermometer right now.
Not liking that big, taunting thermometer right now.

Why do we live here?

That’s not a rhetorical question. There are many, many, many reasons why I love Milwaukee, and why I started OnMilwaukee.com in 1998. But it’s the end of March, and the temperature is hovering around freezing.

I’m seriously wondering why we live here.

Maybe I’m asking this because I just returned from Phoenix last week, where it was sunny and in the high 80s. Of course, Phoenix in the summer is a different beast entirely, but I have to question our ancestors’ logic in choosing Milwaukee.

Did they arrive in summer, set down roots and think that first winter was just a fluke? How about the second? Or the 50th?

I’m kidding a little bit. I know that many of the settlers came from similarly cold climates in Europe. I know that they sailed down the Great Lakes until they stopped in Milwaukee. I know the land is rich and fertile and provided numerous opportunities for industry and commerce.

I’m just a little surprised they didn’t keep going.

Or why did my great-great grandparents pick Milwaukee? Sure, the climate might’ve felt a lot like Belarus and Russia, but weren’t my ancestors complaining about the long, cold winter, too? If I were to emigrate to a far-off land, one in which I didn’t know the language or had any family, I think I would’ve headed a little farther south. It’s not like people back then didn’t realize the south equals warm and north equals cold.

Even still, that was 100 years ago. I’m surprised that my grandparents or my parents didn’t pick somewhere warmer.

That leaves only me to blame. I lived somewhere hot once. I went to college in Washington, D.C., where it rarely dropped below freezing. Right now, people are probably wearing shorts and jogging around the National Mall. I used to do that, too.

But I picked Milwaukee. On my own free will. Am I crazy? Are we all crazy?

I don’t think so. There’s only a period of about 45 days each year that I hate it here. It starts in early February and ends right about now. That’s when winter gets really, really old. But it’s fleeting.

I tell people I love our seasons, you probably do, too. That’s mostly true. If spring could come just a little earlier, you’d never hear me complain.

But this. This ... is tough. I hope that someday, I’m a snowbird. One of those people who gets out of town for this 45-day span. That would solve everything, right?

Hope does spring eternal. It just can’t come soon enough.

Talkbacks

devidia | March 25, 2013 at 12:39 p.m. (report)

I have a friend whose job sent him on a trip to Tempe, AZ, recently. He proceeded to call me at 8am one day as I drove behind a city salt truck to tell me that it was sunny and a beautiful 74 degrees already out there. And that it was a dry heat. Bastard.

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