When It Comes to the Weather – Just Do It

I think the weather is getting harder to predict. Or else all the local forecasters have taken to drinking on the job.

I don’t want to cast aspersions on anyone who is trying their best to master an extremely difficult combination of art and science, so let’s go ahead and blame global warming for the fact that it has become impossible to plan your activities based on the potential for rain at the time of those activities.

Spring and summer are the times of the year that we collectively obsess the most about the weather, which is understandable, since so many fun activities take place outdoors. I organized an outdoor work event on a Saturday in mid-May and earned myself more than a few new grey hairs as I compulsively watched the evolving forecasts and radar maps.

When you’re in charge of a major shindig, you’ve got to at least try to predict the weather, but I’m learning that on a smaller scale – i.e. decisions involving your immediate family rather than 500+ community members – the correct answer when pondering whether to undertake an activity is simple. You channel your inner Nike commercial and Just Do It.

A few weeks ago, I found myself weighing an evening excursion. My best friend’s daughter was playing Wee Ball a couple of towns over from us and we’d promised to come watch a game. But the forecast was bad. Really bad. 80% chance of thunderstorms and, as of 2 hours before the game, a big red splotch was parked right over the town on the radar maps. The clock ticked closer and the maps cleared a bit, but was it worth the risk to drive an hour?

Spoiler alert. Yep, it was totally worth it.

We packed a picnic dinner, piled into the minivan, and headed out. By the time we arrived, the skies were completely and totally clear. We sat on the grass, ate cheese and crackers and apple slices, and watched a twenty-minute mosh pit involving four-year-olds in really adorable jerseys. The star player was beside herself with joy that her older ‘cousins’ had come to watch her and had to be herded back onto her team’s bench a couple times.

After the game, the grownups chatted in the shade while the kids wrapped themselves in picnic blankets and rolled around on the ground like burritos. Then we loaded back up and went home. We spent more time in the car than we did at the game and nobody minded in the least.

That evening was an unqualified success. Not every outing is. The thing about being intrepid is that sometimes you fail. Impressively.

Last week, we made a last-minute decision to head to the County Fair with friends. The sky looked a bit dark, but hey, it was already 7:30pm so perhaps it was just the early signs of dusk. Nope! It was a raging thunderstorm barreling our way. The storm hit approximately 13 minutes after we had shelled out $10 a head for an evening of deep-fried everything and rides clearly designed by folks on the payroll of the national chiropractic lobby.

I had the profoundly unsettling experience of watching the storm roll in…from the top of the Ferris Wheel. If you take a moment to look up the word “vulnerable” in the dictionary, you’ll see a picture of me, purchased on the top of the world in a small metal chair.

But ask me if I regret going. Nope! The kids enjoyed the two rides they went on, I saved money on all the funnel cakes not purchased, and there’s something wild and giddy and fun about sprinting back to your car, two steps ahead of the torrential downpour, with a kid on your back, laughing like fools.

So check the forecast…but don’t let it scare you! Thrown an extra umbrella and a couple towels into the car and go for it.

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