Perspective is a funny thing.

I was talking to my brother recently, and he complained about how cold it was. “I was freezing today!” he said. “Our high temperature was only 63º!”

My reaction to that?

Worlds-Tiniest-Violin-nvj3bur6zi1i98u85ejom8m0vdka6bm1h1uhllr1c8I had to stifle a laugh, because I glanced at the thermometer next to my chair during our call and it was 23º. I’m pretty sure if it were in the low 60s here, I’d be wearing shorts outside.


When I lived in Washington and got all worked up over treacherous roads after a 1” snowfall, people in other parts of the country scoffed. When I talked about stocking up on groceries and working from home because of these “storms,” they scoffed harder. I endured quite a bit of scoffing over the years! Tara even introduced a new word to my vocabulary in describing the paltry amount of snow I used to blog about, describing it as a “skiff.” Her skiff was a scoff! But again, she lived in places where snow was often measured in feet instead of inches.


(For what it’s worth, I scoff at old posts where I’m giddy over snowfall that doesn’t even reach the top of each blade of grass. Call it retroactive self-scoffing.)

Another great example occurred yesterday afternoon at work. We were gathered in the conference room, brainstorming over how best to “sell” Rapid City’s quality of life to outsiders. My boss asked me what factors motivated me to move here, and without hesitation, I replied, “Cheap housing!” One of my coworkers responded, “But housing in Rapid City is expensive.” Maybe compared to Aberdeen or Sioux Falls, but it’s dirt cheap by Portland standards.


I’ll leave you with my favorite all-time example:

When we bought our house in June, I had visions of extravagant, over-the-top holiday decorations ala Clark Griswold. I bought reams of fancy, multicolored, remote-controlled outdoor Christmas lights in anticipation, plus an extension ladder so I could reach the tallest eaves and hang them. But my plan was foiled by two acts of god (or rather, one act of mother nature and one act of bad plumbing): our sewer line repair, followed quickly by our blizzard. I should have hung those lights in mid-November, when the ground was bare and our toilets flushed without incident. There was even a sunny, mild weekend that would have been perfect, but I felt it was too early at the time. “I’ll do it the Saturday after Thanksgiving,” I said.

This is what the Saturday after Thanksgiving looked like:


Suffice it to say, that was a no-go.

Last Saturday, I finally got to hauling the ladder and lights outside, but the ground was still snow-covered and icy, and climbing a ladder in those conditions didn’t seem like the wisest idea. I reluctantly concluded that Casa Griswold would have to wait until next year and put everything back in the garage. As much as I’d love to spread Christmas cheer through the neighborhood, I love being alive and having unbroken limbs better.

Next year, guys. I promise.

12 thoughts on “Skiff-Scoff

  1. Hilarious clip. I REALLY need to see that movie again. I have no doubt Rapid City prices are dirt cheap by San Diego standards too. My parents, from Ohio, were visiting Texas. The lady at the grocery check-out line was complaining about what a horrible snow storm they were having. It was like 1/2 an inch. My parents couldn’t help but laugh. My mom told me the poor lady looked deeply offended by that. Whoops.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Ha…Texans sound like Portlanders when it comes to snow. It happens so infrequently that nobody knows how to handle it. Therein lies the problem: sure, we can get a foot of snow here at the drop of a hat, but at least Rapid Citians know how to drive in it!

      Liked by 1 person

  2. LOVE the violin photo, Mark. Hilarious! And also the movie clip. What great movie that is!

    “he said. “Our high temperature was only 63º!”

    OMG, you’re kidding? He sounds like all the people who are native Floridian, who, at 60 degrees, put on ear muffs, gloves, scarves and down coats because they say, “OMG…it’s FREEZING!!!!!”

    Right now it cold here and I would say 90% percent of the people are whining and complaining. And I’m like, “Too bad, people. I had put up with excruciatingly hot and humid days/months this past summer, so now it’s your turn to SUFFER!”

    Love your Sunday after Thanksgiving photo! WOW….now that’s what I call SNOW!

    And I’m so envious.

    Thanks so much for sharing the cold and snow, my friend. This is one of your readers who REALLY enjoys it. 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Yes, and I should have added, Scott lives in Pasadena, CA. That’s south of Los Angeles, so 63º for him is probably equivalent to 12º for us. I kind of get it (but the violin isn’t getting any bigger!).


  3. I remember moving here from a mere 35 miles south and thinking how expensive everything was. Now I realize the CLE is a quite liveable city compared to other comparable sized cities.

    The weird thing about snowfall here is that the amounts are significantly different just a few miles away due to the lake effect and changes in elevation/the valley. Often, areas along the lake get no snow, while we can get a foot here. It still shocks me, just driving on the interstate going north-south or east-west. There’s no rhyme or reason to it.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Lake effect snows fascinate me. I guess it’s the same in places like Buffalo. Back in Portland, it wasn’t water that affected snowfall, but altitude. Frequently, they’d predict snow down to 500′. You could be driving along the interstate, go up a slight hill, and switch from wet ground to 6″ of snow in a mile or less. That was pretty weird, too!


  4. Perspective changes (almost) everything 🙂 From shorts-weather to what matters more, casts-on-limbs or lights-on-roof, to who’s crazy, as in “And those who were seen dancing, were thought to be crazy, by those who could not hear the music” (from Nietzsche). Glad you chose…wisely!


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