A Note From A Weather Wimp

Let’s face it, I’m a weather wimp. Sliding off the road between Chehalis and Pe Ell in 1975 with both kids in the back seat did that to me for sure. Bill grew up in Chicago. He’s a lot more confident about driving in snow than I am. After all, I grew up in the desert landscape of Southern Arizona where snowstorms were few and far between.

My parents, both South Dakota natives, were made of sterner stuff. I was still a toddler when a terrible blizzard blew through. My father and his younger brother, Elmer, were caught in the storm while driving a load of hogs to market. They got as far as the town of Summit where they took shelter for both man and beast by breaking into a local lumber yard. My two older sisters were stranded at a one-room schoolhouse a mile or so from our farm. I don’t know how many kids were in attendance that day, probably ten or so. Their teacher, Wanda Tharp, produced a bag of potatoes and roasted those in the wood stove that provided heat for the building, and that’s what the kids had to eat until someone was able to come get them.

My mother, Evie, was stuck at home with seventeen cows to milk and with me to look after. She put me in the crib—a big metal one that served all seven of us kids at one time or another—before heading out to the barn. The snow was blowing so hard that she had to follow the clothes line to find her way to and from the barn. When she came back, I was still in the crib and screaming bloody murder.

So I know I shouldn’t be complaining about the mere five inches of snow we got last weekend or the three more that are predicted to fall tonight. The problem is we live on the top of a steep hill. Our driveway runs straight up and down and opens onto a narrow road with no guard rails on the far side and with a forested incline falling away from that. We have a snowplow, but with the icy conditions that have followed the storm, I’m not interested in doing a Thelma and Louise impersonation off the end of our driveway. In other words. I’m home for the duration.

Last week our planned Christmas Day dinner was cancelled and moved to New Year’s Day. Now, with more snow expected, that’s been cancelled, too. That’s two cancelled Christmases in as many years, but here’s something interesting. I just realized that both books that were written during Covid lockdowns, Missing and Endangered and Nothing to Lose, are set over the holidays. I guess my subconscious was at work. And the Ali book I’m working on now, starts with a New Year’s celebration.

I’ve done a lot of virtual book events over the past year, but it came as a bit of a surprise for me to realize that I’ve gifted myself with some imaginary holiday celebrations to make up for the ones we’ve all been missing.

That’s part of the magic of writing. Things end up in my books that I don’t even notice until long after the fact.

That being said, Happy New Year to all my readers.

As for the weather? For good or ill, it’s bound to get better sooner or later, and with any kind of luck, so will Covid.

Now let’s wait for 2/22/22. I’m really looking forward to pub day!

45 thoughts on “A Note From A Weather Wimp

  1. Good morning! I had the most enjoyable conversation a couple of day ago with a friend who is also a devoted reader/follower of yours. Had you been listening in you would have thought we were talking about the “next door neighbor”. We proudly claimed J.P. Beaumont as if he were the other neighbor – after all he’s named after our town!
    Stay home and safe and take comfort in knowing you have made many people in this world better for sharing your gift.

    • I also claim J.P. Beaumont as a neighbor as I was born and most of my raising was in Seattle. I knew exactly where he was when a street or building was mentioned. The rest of my raising was in Joanna’s bailiwick so I am familiar with her area.

      The last two years have been the bits in many ways. Let’s just hope and pray 2022 will be better.

      Happy New Year y’all.

  2. I am grateful to benefit from the wonderful books that you write while dodging life’s dangers. Last year Ali books helped me through caring for both my parents, who passed away four days apart over New Year’s. This year I listened to the same books, on audio this time, as the whole family battled COVID together. Alas I didn’t do anything productive, but the books sure made it easier to get by.

  3. Now that you’ve mentioned it, I did the very same thing with the end of one of my own books. A huge blow out of a New Year’s Eve party at my imaginary casino, with all of ky imaginary friends in attendance in lieu of being able to leave my own home without a mask and before vaccinations were available. Thanks for pointing that out. I, too, subconsciously compensated for the missed festivities. Happy New Year! And glad you are staying safe!

  4. You may be a winter weather wimp in Seattle- But the summer Monsoon season in Southern Arizona, with its’ flash floods, can be very dangerous for drivers too-
    The cloud-to-ground lightning is nothing to sneeze at either-

  5. I live in Pitttsburgh area & people do not believe that I worked for the fed gov during the 80’s & worked with the worst conditions you can imagine; foot of snow, 10 to 12 degrees below zero. No such thing as a snow day for us.
    But one of the most horrible drives was from the Grand Canyon to lower Arizona to view the hummingbirds in August. It was a torrential rain storm all the way & of course, my alcoholic husband would not stop til we got to our destination. I prayed all the way – so Arizona has its nasty weather also. Yes, made it & the hummingbirds were an awesome site to see.

  6. Guess I’ll join the weather wimp club. Having lived either in southern Arizona or southern California all my life, I guess I was born with that membership. I do now live in the mountains east of San Diego at about 3500 feet elevation. . We do get snow here, but not much. The most was about 3 inches and it melts fast so I never have the chance to get tired of it.

    I am also a charter member of the high places wimp club. So even in good weather, I don’t think that I would want to drive up or particularly down the driveway that you describe. Even tho I live in the mountains, my property and the road to it are fairly flat.
    On this last day of 2021, I am glad to say good bye to it. It was better than 2020, but I really hope that 2022 is better still.

  7. Maybe you should winter back down here in Sierra Vista. We have rain today, but no snow! Looking forward to your next book. Stay safe!

  8. I don’t think you’re a wimp. I would say you are quite smart to not take a chance of “flying” in to 2022!
    2021 has been a tough year and is unfortunately ending with a Covid bang we were not hoping for. I’m grateful that I had your many books to escape to during the past 2 years. We can’t wait to read the new Beaumont in February and how exciting to hear there is a new Ali book in the works. Wishing you and your family a happy, healthy, and safe New Year.

  9. Happy New Year to you and your family!
    Sorry your Christmases were cancelled!
    Thank you for all your beautiful books and your weekly blog!

  10. Happy New Year! Things HAVE to get better in 2022! Happy New Year to all in your family and WRITE ON so 2022 is better for all of us!

  11. Our family scheduled Christmas dinner for early afternoon instead of the usual dinnertime, because of the snow that was forecast. We were home before the first flake fell here in the Willamette Valley. So we feel lucky that we could gather for the usual game of Scrabble and family teasing.

    Even back in 2008, when we were not yet suffering from the perils of aging, we recognized that we wanted to be in a place that would be aging friendly, so we chose to locate on the flat side of Corvallis, not in the Coast Range foothills on the northwest side of town. We are continuously grateful to have done that!

    Hearing about the Seattle snow reminded me of the lake-effect snow that we got when my family lived just south of Erie, PA, the product of the collision of Arctic air and lake moisture. Seattle got Arctic air and ocean moisture.

    I got my own copy of Breach of Duty for Christmas! I have already re-read it so I have a memory reboot on Jared and Chris Danielson and am ready for 2/22/22 to happen. 53 days and counting!

  12. Dear Judy,
    We feel your pain. Karen and I cancelled three dinner parties, one high school faculty reunion, a movie date, a Sunday after-church gathering, a funeral/memorial service, and a partridge in a pear tree. We are snowbirds in Arizona, who return home every December for Christmas with kids and grandkids. But we barely saw them this go-around. Time flew by so quickly with hardly anyone to show off our holiday decorations to. (Ah, I know, you caught the preposition there. Tsk tsk for an English teacher, eh?) Time always did pass in a hurry, but we were always too busy to notice. I turned 77 on Christmas Day and believe I should be surrounded by family, who in turn are busy creating their own lives and managing their own trials and tribulations. Let’s hope that 2022 offers us more peace and rationality. Our weary suffering world could sure use a healthy portion of both. Happy New Year to you and Bill.


    P.S. We have met you twice — once at Wesley Gardens and again at the Kent Library.

    P.P.S. I gave Karen your “Unfinished Business” for Christmas. She hasn’t begun it yet. She is grinding her teeth over a 1,000-piece Wysocki jigsaw puzzle.

  13. Hey Great Author an old saying>> “there is No Bad Weather or Good Weather”>>>Only “changing weather’??? jk

    • That’s funny. I never thought of it that way. Weather is very changeable here in CT.

  14. I barely learned of the extreme snow in the Northwest this month. When I was given a few days off from jury duty, rain moved through Southern California and until this morning the “system stalled” over my house! I had to open the valves on the rain barrels because they were overflowing during the past three days. Thank goodness for my water-tight home, adequate heat, and shelves full of interesting books to keep me entertained as I snuggled under the throw in my recliner. Your characters will be my guests for New Years. I am glad you share them and their adventures.

  15. I am also a member of the weather wimp club. I live in Pa, and though we don’t get a lot of snow, I am not fond of going out in it.
    The description of your driveway gives me a panic attack just thinking of it. I am also a wimp when it comes to heights.
    That does not say much for me, but I do really enjoy your books. I have been reading them for years. Thank you for writing such great literature!
    Be safe!

  16. this is your ex-weather observer /truck driver, AI cattle breeder, Shuttle express driver, and avid JA Jance reader. thanking you for all u shared with me during these trying times. Hole up and enjoy the ones around u and enjoy the blessings that u receive. your positivity is infectious and I personally glad that you are not ashamed to spread it . I also am A Dale Carnegie graduate (Shoemaker SEA in the 70’s)
    happy new years for U and yours. Chuck in Tacoma.

  17. Should edit better b4 sending previous message .
    Chuck in Tacoma. Love ur self deprecating humor.. I use it myself.

  18. Two years ago when I spent 10 weeks in the hospital/rehab for my shattered leg, I survived by listening to my full Audible library of JA Jance books. In the long haul of rehab I had two goals: to get weight bearing and the new JP Brsumont book due out that September.

    Now I am ready for Beau again. And Thanks again for M&E.

  19. I’m a weather wimp as well. Born in New York, lived in the city and upstate, and then Ohio. Tired of snow. Don’t ski. Arizona is a blessing! If I want to see snow, I can go up to Mt. Lemmon. Wish you were here!

  20. Wishing you and Bill a wonderful New Year.
    Also hoping the snow melts soon so you can leave home if you want.
    Being from South Carolina we don’t get snow often. In 1973 we did get an unexpected true blizzard and after 24 hours we had 28 inches of snow. It stranded people on the interstates and highways as well as at home.
    From Jan 4th to June 4th of this year I was in Arkansas with my niece who was there receiving treatment for her CRPS (Complex Regional Pain Syndrome). It snowed like crazy and for a week it was the coldest ever recorded for that area. I don’t know how you do it with the snow and cold temperatures. I guess I am more of a weather wimp than you!
    Can’t wait for pub day!
    Happy New Year

  21. The last humongous snowfall we had was the Blizzard of ’78 in January. My mom died the day it started.
    The city commandeered all earth-moving equipment for snow removal; no one could be buried until the crisis was over.
    We buried Mom in mid-March of ’78.

  22. I know exactly what you mean. I grew up in northern Indiana and that is why I live in Florida in the winter!! Best wishes to you and your family in the coming year.

  23. Judy,
    As another of your fans said, that driveway of yours scares me to death just thinking about it! So glad you & Bill have everything you need and can stay inside enjoying each other without any disturbances. I grew up in Peoria, Illinois so I know what snow is all about. I moved to Alabama to get away from the cold. It was a great place for over 20 years, but I finally moved to Tucson, Arizona to enjoy ALMOST 365 days of warm/hot weather. As a major bonus I was introduced to you and all of your marvelous characters and even some of your special fans. What a deal! Happy 2022.

  24. Happy New Year to you both and your readers! Being quiet for New Year’s Eve gives us time to reflect on all the blessings we’ve had as we have dealt with other events. Happy New Years!

  25. Happy New Year to you and Bill ! We had our first good snow of the season today. Maybe 4-6 inches. Our 2 new Siberian huskies are having a ball. It might be their first snow especially for the one just turning 1.

    Snow is welcome to help put out the terrible fire near Boulder.

  26. I’m grateful to be here at The Highlands at Dove Mountain (AZ) and not knee deep in snow back home in WA. We just had a torrential downpour that was fun to watch from inside. And our desert surely needed it!!
    Please stay safe and continue doing what we love…your writing. All your books have been much appreciated by me and throngs of others??

  27. I’ve been reading your blog since 2020 and your new Year’s blog last year mentioned your change to counting steps daily and the health benefits as we age. I got out the fitbit that had been given to me and started January 1 wearing it and writing my steps each night. I have exceeded 10000 steps, my goal, the vast majority of days and rarely below 9000. I just wanted to thank you for sharing because it helped me to make tracking my steps s regular daily routine. Looking forward to 2/22/22 !

    • I’m so glad that made a difference for you. I’m still tracking my steps, 1 too–14,712,322. The neighbor’s fire works are just now going off. Happy New Year, and keep walking!

      • I will! I had actually gotten into the pre diabetes range on my A1c and was able to get it back to normal through the extra walking and more exercise! It really makes a difference.

  28. Remember the book”Been Down So Long It Looks Like Up to Me”? Given the past couple years, things got to start getting better.
    So Happy New Year to you and your family.

  29. My husband and I have been living in a RV for the past few years and it doesn’t like freezing weather. The lines to our compressor froze up and no air means no toilet. We’ve been using the toilet during the night to pee and I bail it out in the morning. I was thinking this morning it’s weird when bailing my toilet out every morning is starting to feel like no big deal. Thankfully it’s warming up, the snow is melting and our compressor is working. And we’re thinking this is definitely the year we buy a stationary house. Happy New Year!

  30. I’m looking so forward to your new books. I’ve just finished all of the ones I had missed. So much fun!

    We are very weather-wimpy. Natives of Pennsylvania and having suffered through 19 snow and ice storms in one year in the 90’s, we gave up and moved South. We realized we had stayed in PA 50 years too long.

    HAPPY NEW YEAR to everyone.

  31. Happy New Year to you and Bill. We live near Woodinville and don’t ever remember this much snow on the ground for so long. Beautiful but cold!

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