A Doug's Life: Baby, it's Cold Outside

OK, so it's been two months since we moved to Menifee, and we're still here. I've hounded my wife about the idea of feed leasing a horse, invited her to help me look for old mine sites, tried to buy a full-scale replica of a stagecoach for the front yard -- and she's still speaking to me.

I think we're staying.

Hey, she has her nice four-bedroom house to live in with nary a horse in sight, even from the upstairs windows. She has shopping centers within easy driving distance and her debit card works just the same out here. What's she got to complain about?

Well, maybe there is one thing: It's a lot colder out here.

Kristen hates the cold. It could be 70 degrees with sunny skies and she would be reaching for a sweater. I once considered interviewing for a job in Utah. She asked what I'd think about being divorced again.

So you can imagine how she feels about the weather out here. And while I rather enjoy the change of seasons, I have to admit it's been a bit chilly lately.

In our old neighborhood, a couple nights in the 30s would have us searching for thermal underwear. But maybe that's because it didn't happen often. Out here, it's been a regular thing the last few weeks.

At first, I thought my rather timid Golden Retriever was shaking because he was nervous about his new surroundings. I finally figured out he was freezing his tail off. He stays inside most of the time anyway, but these days his "restroom" trips are shorter than usual.

That reminds me of my favorite "cold dog" story, told to me by my distant cousin while we were visiting them at the old family farm house in rural North Carolina a few years back.

The house is rented out these days, but for more than 100 years, it was home to Spoon family members. The place was built in the early 1800s. It has no central heat. When my cousins spent a few days there one Christmas, they used space heaters in a few rooms and closed up the rest of the house.

One thing they forgot was the dog's water bowl. When they got up on Christmas morning and opened up the rest of the house, old Fido headed across the cold kitchen floor to get a drink of water. Unfortunately, it was frozen solid.

Now that's cold.

Really, though, I don't mind it. It reminds me that open, remote areas often experience both extremes on the thermometer. My first job in journalism was in Barstow, which I had always considered a desert sauna. Not in January, I learned -- especially when you have to get up at 5:30 a.m. and your feet hit the cold tile floor.

So despite my wife's complaints and my dog's shivering backside, I'm actually getting used to this weather. I keep telling myself how much more I will appreciate these chilly mornings during those hot summer afternoons to come. In fact, I find it rather invigorating.

As long as we're cooling it down a bit, why not go all the way? Christmas is almost here. Bring on the snow.

I read on this website recently Steve Johnson's recollection of the last Menifee snowfall, in 2004. Sounds like it was just enough to take some pics and make a snowball or two before the white stuff melted.

I'll take that.

If I can live somewhere within reasonable driving distance of Disneyland, have horses for neighbors, enjoy a light snow once in a while and still have my modern tract home with a fireplace, I'm good. Just give me a little bit of everything, in moderation.

In other words, I'd like to ride a horse once in a while without having to take care of it 24/7. By the same token, I'd like to play in a little bit of snow -- not shovel it, like I'd have to do in Utah.

Is that asking too much?

So whether you consider this weather seasonably comfortable or downright freezing, remember that variety is the spice of life. Here, we can bundle up like Eskimos to give us that Christmas feeling in December, then strip down to the bare essentials and work on our tan come June.

And hey, you can ride horses year-round. What's not to like?


  1. Great post! I enjoyed reading this! I completely agree with you!

  2. Loved this post. I'm relatively new here in Menifee, too, and I can't help but wonder if this Winter is colder than normal, or if every Winter is this cold. Brrr! Wait 'til the Summer, Doug, when the temps get well over 100 degrees.
    Hope you enjoy living in Menifee as much as my husband and I do.