Friday, April 01, 2005

Springtime in Buffalo (and a Little Quinn update)

We had a couple of days of nicely temperate weather here in Buffalo this week, with temps in the upper 50s and even into the 60s yesterday. We cooled off a bit today, but it was still pleasant. What always gets me about Spring in Buffalo is the way everybody gets so hopeful on the very first day that the mercury hits the 60 mark that Spring is actually here, that it will stay warm, that snow is officially done, that it's time to plant without fear of frost, et cetera. And those hopes always come, despite the fact that those hopes are always dashed.

The sad fact is that Spring is Buffalo's worst season, by far.

That may sound counterintuitive, referring to a city legendary (and unfairly so) for bad winters, but as I and many other Buffalonians have noted many times, our winters aren't that bad (in fact, they're routinely not even the worst winters in Upstate New York), and besides, we expect winter to be a lot of snow and cold. I really wish we'd embrace our winters and market them better, in fact. We know what's coming each year, and we're generally fine with it.

Our summers are very nice as well: the humidity, while higher than, say, Arizona's, never really reaches the level of elemental dampness that afflicts the northeastern coastal cities like New York, Boston, and Philadelphia; and in all the years that records have been kept, we've never hit one hundred degress in Buffalo. Not once. Lake Erie, which brings us lots of snow in early winter, also makes for really nice summers. (And our sunsets are wonderful.)

Autumn in Western New York, though, is simply spectacular. Seriously, this is the best place in the United States to pass an October, as far as I am concerned. It gets cooler, but not unbearably so; the hills turn color slower than they do in the heights of Vermont and stay stunning for a bit longer. We ease our way gently and pleasantly toward winter here.

So, we have three great seasons. Spring, though, is a climatological train wreck here. It tends to be very rainy, very gray, very cool to downright cold, and it's not at all unusual to get snow well into April. Our springs are so dank that the trees don't begin to leaf until the very end of April, and it's late May before the hills are green again. The ground goes from frozen to muddy, and it stays muddy pretty mugh right up until summer. It's like we endure two months of miserable, dreary weather -- and then all of a sudden one day it's summer, just like that. And yet, when we get two or three unseasonably warm days at the end of March, everyone suddenly starts hoping that it'll stay that way, that this will be the year that Spring in Buffalo doesn't suck. In baseball terms, we're Cubs fans when it comes to Spring.

So anyway, we had the opportunity to take a bit of a stroll the other day, as well as allowing The Daughter to try out her new scooter. She did better on it than I thought she would, since she tends to high levels of klutziness. She didn't fall a single time, although there were more than a few instances in which she got going slightly faster than she wanted to and then jumped off and lurched to something resembling a stop. Here she is, posing on the new device:

As for Little Quinn, we're looking forward to taking him out in the stroller more often. After he fell seriously behind in his growth a while back -- at one point he was over four pounds less than what he should have been at that age -- he's been putting on weight at last, and the constant parade of specialists has finally produced a couple of answers and solutions to particularly vexing problems. He's on valium now (as a muscle relaxant), which has the effect of making it easier for his physical and occupational therapists to do their work with him, which can only in turn help his development. Also, the respiratory issues he was having for a long time turn out to be something called "stridor", which also seems to have caused his problems with digestion, excessive gas, and reflux. The good news there is that we are told that the vast majority of infants with this particular problem outgrow it, and we are hopeful on that score, as already Little Quinn seems to be getting stronger and his spells of harsh breathing are becoming less frequent and less intense.

Here's how Little Quinn as he looked in my arms the other day, while The Daughter scooted about on The Scooter:

He seems to like being outside. And here's a good close-up of his face, just because I can:

Onward and upward....

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