I’ve been back in Utah for almost three years, and before that, I spent 15 years of my life right here in the Beehive State.
Thus, you would think I would be used to what happens around here at the end of every September. One day, it’s blazing hot, where you can’t get enough air conditioning. The next day? Time to light the furnace and put a pot of soup on the stove.
And as soon as you convince yourself summer is over and it’s time to put away the shorts and T-shirts, there’s an 80-degree day to remind you that winter doesn’t actually begin for real for another three months.
As one can tell from the snow atop the Oquirrh Mountains, summer’s heat exited stage right toward the end of last week. In its place were consecutive days of rainy, cold, drab gray that spoiled the opportunity to do anything outdoors — a canyon hike was out of the question.
One night last week, in my otherwise-non-air-conditioned home, I had the window unit in my room turned up to full power, trying to escape the blazing heat that had the thermostat in my house reading 87 degrees. This has been my existence since somewhere around Memorial Day. I’m used to maybe having to turn the air conditioner off in the middle of the night, but that’s only if I have my door closed and it turns my bedroom into something resembling one of those walk-in freezers you see in a fast-food restaurant. Otherwise, that window unit runs all day and all night in a usually futile attempt to make my house semi-livable.
Such was the case about a week and a half ago. But this was different — it got so cold so quickly that I could actually see my breath in my own home. In a span of 24 hours, I went from having to run the air conditioner at all hours to having to find extra blankets.
According to the thermostat, it was 50 degrees in my living room the next morning. Even several hours later, it was only up to 54. Where it was unbearably hot just a day earlier, I found myself removing the air conditioner from my bedroom window in an effort to make my house less drafty.
One night earlier, a friend wanted to light a fire in my backyard fire pit. The next night, I found myself bundled up in my living room with a mug of hot chocolate, trying not to shiver.
I’m aware that summer still has a few last gasps left. As I was resting on the lawn near the library at the University of Utah between classes the other day, I found myself regretting having worn both a jacket and a hooded sweatshirt.
However, it made me realize that I might as well enjoy these sporadic warm days until they go away for good. Within the next few weeks, I’ll have to bundle up when I’m covering a football game, to the point that I resemble either Bibendum (also known as the Michelin Man) or Ralphie Parker’s little brother, Randy, from the movie “A Christmas Story.”
But until that happens, I might as well get out and enjoy these last few warm days we have left this year. With snow on the Oquirrhs and the recent crispness in the air, the next few weeks will be the perfect time to check out the fall colors without it being too hot or too cold.
And I won’t have to run my air conditioner or my furnace.
Darren Vaughan is the sports editor for the Transcript Bulletin. Email him at firstname.lastname@example.org.