Something big has happened in our Tejas adventure, that has not previously happened…
We turned the heat on.
South Jersey (from whence we came) is on the northern tip of North America’s humid subtropical climate belt, which usually means ridiculously humid summers and “mild” winters. The “mild” winter doesn’t really count in New Jersey (even Wikipedia says so) but the eight months of 100% humidity in the Great SoJerZ puts the “tropical” in “subtropical.” That and the 1/3 year of rain. Seriously. It rains every three days.
Tejas, on the other hand (our sliver of Texas that really belongs more to Mexico than to the States) is officially classified as “dry.” More specifically, a “subtropical steppe,” which is basically the complete subtropical-opposite of South Jersey. Where we once wallowed in humidity, we are now bone dry. Where we once had torrential downpours every three days, we now have five minutes of drizzle every six months. Where we once had cold, we now… don’t.
It’s safe to say that where Jersey weather is defined by variations on “tropical,” Tejas is more about the “sub.” They are both pushing the outer limits of subtropical.
And “subtropical” is starting to sound like a nonsense word so I shall move on.
All this climate mumbo-jumbo translates into splendidly balmy “winters” here in Tejas. The absolute coldest ever temp was about ten degrees Fahrenheit (that’s about negative 12 C for my international readers). Daytime temps in “Tejas winters” are coldest at 50°F.
Another way to put it: Tejas winters are never colder than South Jersey springs.
Two years ago, this was an issue because we moved with a whole truck’s worth of Northeast winter clothes which were completely useless in Tejas. We began doing away with them, and have reduced our “winter” gear to half a hall closet: one heavy coat each, two knit hats (maybe), and my ski pants, which I will never surrender, even though we never ski.
We have not felt the lack of winter clothes AT ALL. In fact, we didn’t even turn the heat on for our first two “winters” in Tejas.
The issue NOW is that we are no longer in a cave-like bottom floor apartment with thick carpeting and the heat from our neighbors leeching into our place on the rare days when it gets “cold.” Now we are in a house, a house with hardwood floors and high ceilings attached to a tin roof. Now we just have summer socks and the “NEVER throw away” bin of leftover winter clothes.
And here is something we’ve discovered: we don’t LIKE having the heat on. Artificial heat causes way more fluctuation in temperature than we’re used to. I get angry when my fingers and toes are pre-frostbite but my face is purple from overheating. So we keep the thermostat as low as possible and the “winter clothes” box open in the living room for quick access.
ONE: Hubs can wear his hockey jersey for weeks at a time without comment from me. Not only does the cold weather ignite his inner jock like nothing else (football and hockey), but the thick, authentic NHL-grade fabric is warm and toasty.
Hot liquids are counterproductive ten months out of the Tejas year. But for a short while, when rare cold rain is falling for more than two minutes, and rare low temperatures last for more than two hours, and yours truly and her Hubs are walking on hardwood floors after more than two years of shag, soup is gold.
Added bonus: Hubs is a soup master. Thus, soup every night.
We’ve been suffering from a soup drought since we moved to Tejas, and have pretty much forgotten all the good stuff. Suggestions, please! What is your favorite soup, and do I seem like the kind of person who would like it?