I love Iowa.
I love our family values, work ethic and common sense way of approaching things.
But I’ll admit I love Iowa more in the spring and fall than I do in the summer and winter.
In general I can handle the warm summer weather and the cold winter weather. But it’s the temperature extremes in Iowa and many other states that get to me. I sure I’m not alone.
A 95-degree summer day with high humidity almost takes my breath away. It’s like being in a sauna all the time you’re outside. And I can’t describe how miserable I was that morning in January when the temperature on the insurance agency sign in town flashed minus 27. That wasn’t the wind-chill reading; that was the actual temperature.
Some people, whom I admit I envy now and then, have good weather almost year-round where they live and work.
When my wife and I left the wintry Midwest to vacation for a week in San Diego some years back, I thought we had discovered paradise. Maybe we had. The average daily temperature there is a little more than 70 degrees year-round.
As SanDiego.org says “San Diego’s location makes it the perfect year-round destination. Few demands will be put on your wardrobe. Casual sportswear is ideal for San Diego’s comfortable weather. You’ll rarely need a topcoat (or rain coat) in the winter months. Evenings are cooler, even in the summer, so be sure to bring a jacket or a sweater. The temperatures are on the warm side during the day so make sure to have shorts and swimming attire handy.”
As one who’s been there, I can tell you that’s 100 percent true.
But even for a guy in Iowa who sweats like a butcher many days each summer and shivers like an Eskimo many days each winter, 70 degrees year-round sounds – I hate saying this – maybe a little boring.
I prefer a place that has four distinct seasons but perhaps not as distinct – OK, I mean brutal – as those in the Midwest.
Employers have given me an opportunity to leave this area a couple of times through my working life.
In the mid 1970s I was the assistant personnel director for National Tea Co., which had 26 National or Del Farm grocery stores in eastern Iowa and western Illinois. When the company closed its division office in Davenport, I was offered a transfer but turned it down.
After a few short stops at other employers, I ended up working in the shop at the Davenport Caterpillar plant in 1977. By late 1978 I had been promoted to a job as a material requirements analyst in the office, ordering castings and forgings from outside suppliers among other duties.
When the CAT plant closed in 1988, I was offered a transfer but turned it down.
Taking either the National transfer or the CAT transfer would have been a good thing from a career standpoint. (Heck, with CAT’s “30 and out” provision, had I stayed with the company I could have retired two years ago.) But I turned down both National’s and Caterpillar’s transfer offers for various, mainly family-related reasons.
The locations weren’t an incentive to take either of the job moves either. They weren’t to places like San Diego.
The National transfer would have been to Chicago, and the CAT transfer would have been to Peoria.
Those are places where, had I moved, yet today I’d be sweating like a butcher in the summer and shivering like an Eskimo in the winter.
Copyright 2009, by Phil Roberts, Creative Enterprises. This “Everyday People” column appeared in The North Scott Press.