My husband and I went to two different architect parties tonight for clients. They were festive occasions (unlimited wine and beer always helps), but much talk centered around the economy and how many people different companies had to lay off, and all the companies who weren’t having a party this year.

There are two things I’m getting really distressed about. One is how messed up everything seems these days, what with global warming, the recession, and Tiger Woods. The other is the weather here in Oregon.

We have a reputation to uphold in the rainy northwest. We have consistent rain from October 30th until June 30th. There are a few scattered sun breaks here and there, but you can pretty much be guaranteed that if we have out of state guests during this period, we can present them with plenty of rain and they’ll be able to go home with a plethora of jokes about the all the rain in Oregon.

But not this year. Because of global warming, or the recession, or maybe even Tiger Woods, we have had a run of cold, sunny days that has us web-foots ringing our hands wondering what the heck is going on. It has been colder than a well digger’s ass in the Klondike, as my dear dad loved to say. He also loved to say that I was contrary as cat sh__ under a couch. And it was hotter than a half frigged fox in a forest fire. These are tacky sayings, but they illustrate my point, which I plan to get back to as soon as I look outside to see if there are any clouds on the horizon.

Nope. It is right now this instant at 10:18 pm on a Thursday night in December in Portland, Oregon a mere 17º and it’s supposed to drop two more degrees before morning.

We are all freezing. You can’t fight the cold with an umbrella. Not that anyone in Portland ever uses an umbrella. That’s for tourists. Locals are tough. We buy hooded raincoats and run from awning to awning to stay dry. Our skin is moist. We own leather tennis shoes (not mesh) for the winter so our feet won’t get wet when we walk the dog. Our dogs don’t wear raincoats, but that’s got nothing to do with it.

I was walking my dog today in the woods near my house and the creeks are starting to freeze. Usually I can’t go on those trails in the winter because I’d sink to my knees in mud. The ground is frozen solid and it’s like walking on granola. Rhododendrons, as common around here as telephone poles, have leaves that are so shriveled up they look like a bush full of green pencils.

If we lived in Alaska, this would be normal, but it’s driving everyone crazy around here. The funny thing is that at the same time people are complaining about the cold and posting “Brrrrrr” on their Facebook pages, when they start talking about how wretched the weather is, they always end their griping with, “But at least it’s not raining.”

That’s the catch-all phrase for all weather in Oregon that isn’t great but could be worse. And yet when we’ve gone long enough without rain, like in August when everything starts getting parched, people get distressed. Complaining about the weather is a favorite pastime of Oregonians, ranking right up there with complaining about Californians in general and the way Washingtonians drive in particular.

I just consulted the NOAA weather report for the next few days, and guess what we get to look forward to? Freezing rain. That is the ultimate worse case scenario. Oh boy, will I ever be able to bitch about that! We’ll have great conversations at Christmas parties this weekend. Can’t wait!