Table of Contents

    Musing: Wobbly Weather Wardrobe

    My timing couldn’t have been better. As soon as I completed the installation of my weather station last week, autumn temperatures arrived here in Asheville. Our chilly mornings dropped into the 30s by the end of the week. Some of the highest elevations even saw snow flurries and bouts of sleet.

    Yes, time to forego shorts and t-shirts and break out warmer clothing. For the mornings, at least.

    Not the afternoons which remain pleasant.

    Those changeable temperatures make dressing properly for the day quite the challenge. Bundling up in the morning but staying cool in the afternoon. How do you handle wobbly weather wardrobes?

    Hurricane Ian

    Before I jump to this week’s musing, though, let me say a quick word about Hurricane Ian. After hammering Cuba, that beast of a storm struck Florida with a fury rarely seen. The images of destruction astound me. The loss of life saddens me.

    But Ian wasn’t done. It slipped into the Atlantic, regained strength, and crashed ashore just south of my old home in Murrells Inlet, SC, pushing an historic wall of water in front of it. My former neighbor posted a video showing the storm surge rising far higher than Isaias, completely submerging our lots and surrounding my former house with a salt water moat. Places I rode my bike and walked the dogs were inundated. It’s hard to look at those pictures and videos and comprehend how bad it was.

    Somehow, through it all, what Ian didn’t do was come to Asheville and dump inches of rain on us. These tropical systems have a history of flooding our rivers, causing mud slides, and uprooting trees, so we’re as wary of them in our mountains as we were on the coast.

    The dire predictions from earlier in the week didn’t materialize. The storm passed well east of us. We received less than an inch of rain and a gentle breeze.

    What rain did fall, though, was icy. I guess it was our first real taste of the winter to come.

    Temperature drop

    Early in the week, our lows hovered around 50Âş. Sometimes just below and sometimes just above. A little cooler than summer but not by much. I steadfastly remained in my shorts and t-shirt for our morning, three-mile dog walk.

    EPPIL, my Ever Patient Partner in Life, however, refused to pretend it was still summer and wore a jacket and toboggan.

    A Word About Toboggans

    Another slight diversion here in this week’s Meandering Musing—a toboggan is a knit hat, not a sled. At least, that’s true here in the Southern U.S.

    Linguists explain that the word comes from the French tabagane which acquired the word from Algonquian word thapaken. No matter how you look at it, the word historically meant sled.

    Somehow, though, we Southerners looked at people sledding in cold, snowy weather and noticed they were wearing knit hats to keep their heads warm. We, in the great Southern way, took to calling them toboggan hats. That took too much effort, so we shortened it.

    And since we don’t have much need for sleds, but do like to keep ours ears warm, we all have toboggans for warmth even if we rarely need toboggans for sledding.

    Makes perfect sense, right? Consider this a bonus Spectacular Vernacular for the week.

    Back To Our Cooler Weather

    Thursday morning, we woke to see the new weather station announcing a 40Âş start to the day. I decided to surrender to the inevitable and dressed in long pants, a sweatshirt, and a toboggan. A hat, not a sled.

    During our stroll along the greenway, we noticed most of the other neighbors had made the same decision. Jackets, coats, sweaters, and, yes, toboggans abounded.

    Except for one regular walker. As he did every morning, a gentleman briskly sauntered toward us with his walking stick in hand while wearing shorts and a t-shirt. He dressed as if it was a July day.

    “Good morning,” he called out.

    “Good morning,” we replied. “How are you?”

    “A little chilly. May need to add a jacket if it gets any colder, but I refuse to do so before it drops below 40º.”

    I glanced at my watch, which reports the weather from that fancy station I installed. The result made me smile, and I couldn’t help but pass along the news. “It’s officially 39º.”

    “Brrrrrr.” He shivered and walked away. I wonder if he will be bundled the next time we see him. Or, perhaps, he hibernates and doesn’t emerge again until spring.

    The Holdouts

    Now he wasn’t the only one in shorts. We have four schools in our neighborhood and many of the kids walk each day. The teen boys who passed us wore shorts and t-shirts. They will continue to do so as the temperature drops even further. They do, of course, because they have to meet the Teen Boy Cool rules.

    I remember adhering to the Teen Boy Cool rules when I was that age. Assert your individuality and independence by thumbing your nose at adult conventions—and dress the same as every other teen boy.

    Great plan, except they all wear dark socks today. When I was a teen—back when the dinosaurs roamed the earth—we wouldn’t have been caught dead wearing dark socks with shorts. Those were officially old man socks. We only wore cool socks. White tube socks you pulled up to your knees so that the bright stripes were visible to everyone.

    Ah, the 70s. That decade of fashion and decorum.

    Sadly, I think I have to give credit to today’s generation for being better dressed. But our music was better.

    The Afternoons

    In fairness to those teens, though, they are dressed appropriately to walk home from school. When we do our afternoon dog walk, I’ve forsaken the long pants and sweatshirt for shorts and a t-shirt. And no toboggan—sled or hat.

    No colored socks, either. Nor do I wear those white tube socks. Don’t want to out-cool the kids, of course.

    Not that there is much chance of that.

    Gratuitous Dog Picture: Pumpkins Have Arrived

    My, you look tasty

    With the calendar turning to October, our Halloween decorations are going up. Landon is quite intrigued with the arrival of pumpkins. Maybe just a wee bit too intrigued.

    On The Website This Week

    Spectacular Vernacular Word of the Week: Kerfuffle

    August survey results: Pumpkin Spice: Love It Or Leave It?

    The September survey results about your favorite scary monsters are currently being tabulated and will be shared in the monthly newsletter and next week’s Monday Musing. The October survey will open up as well. Stay tuned!

    Dress warmly… or cooly… or appropriately for the weather. And wear a toboggan! See you next Monday.


    1. JEAN BURKHARDT on October 3, 2022 at 7:42 am

      Oh Hu-Dad how very sad for you to videos of your former home being so flooded. SO many people have now have lost their homes and some their lives. My prayers are with them.

      As far as dressing for the weather-yes it’s crazy. Mornings are VERY chilly and by afternoon much warmer. LOVE the part about the teenage boys dressing COOL!

      Landon seems to be very curious about those pumpkins. GREAT photo,.

    2. Charlotte A McRanie on October 3, 2022 at 10:11 am

      This challenge was eternal when I grew up in South Georgia in the Winter — whether to shiver at the bus stop when it was near freezing knowing it was likely to be warm enough later in the day that you wouldn’t need a coat that you would then have to lug home on your arm. Of course back them we didn’t have fancy forecasts hour but hour so Mother looked out to see if there was frost on the ground. She said if there was, it meant the weather was going to warm up a lot and I wouldn’t need a coat later.

    3. Jan Jasa on October 3, 2022 at 10:24 am

      Here in Nebraska we call those “wrap and peel” days. I love the cold though, so unless it’s under 35 I’m not even grabbing a light jacket. And, I never wear sweaters or even sweatshirts even in the dead of winter. Long sleeve cotton shirts are about all I will wear or I get to warm. My “winter” coat is just s thick fleece jacket! I’m originally from northern MN so its gotta be below zero before I’ll get out any heavier coat!

    4. Juno's mom on October 3, 2022 at 12:31 pm

      Landon sets off the pumpkins nicely.

    5. S Deaver on October 3, 2022 at 2:41 pm

      Yes, our music was better. And I miss my tube socks, which as a teen girl, I also wore with shorts and t-shirts. 🙂 Probably wore them through college, too! East TN weather varied throughout the day, as did yours, but never as much as MN. Thanks for recalling those memories!
      Love seeing Boom Boom’s interest in your new decorations.

    6. Deborah Rolman on October 6, 2022 at 12:55 am

      I was always ready to bundle up in fall and thankful for the cooler weather when having to wear band uniforms for Friday night football games and Saturday band contests. I have a nephew now who is one of those cool teen boys that always wears shorts.
      Yes, our music was definitely cooler.

      I like the handy little step you provided for Landon to inspect the pumpkins.

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