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The Wide Angle: Forecast calling for Sunfire degrees into the weekend

Ahhh, Minnesota. You never disappoint.

I’ve lived in this state for most of my life, excluding the several years where I called South Dakota — a state that redefines the word “flat” — for several years, going to college, working my first job, naming corn stalks on loooonnng rides to Harrold, South Dakota.

One thing that has never changed in this state is its wild mood swings when it comes to weather.

I’ve watched thunderstorms form in minutes above my head, fog disperse in just a mile’s worth of driving and temperature changes that makes you question the world around you.

Ever watch a cold front advance across a perfectly calm lake ahead of the storm? It’s weird, making you feel like your staring down an army of orcs from “Lord of the Rings.”

Rarely are these wild mood swings more evident than the recent Christmas cold snap we’ve been experiencing.

Going from 30s and 40s to snot-freezing single-digits is a jumpstart to the season and really tests my love for the season. Don’t worry, I’m not a hypocrite. I still love me my winter it’s just — come on Minnesota. Give me some warning here.

In October, November and into December I remember being the nay-sayer when people would ask, “How about this weather?  I could get used to this.”

Yeah, you could … but you’ll pay for it later. Knowing this state like I and most like you do, the idea that that weather would stay was slim and none.

In fact, the later the nice temperatures held, the worse the transition would be. The later we enjoyed wearing light jackets the more jarring the transition would be and it didn’t disappoint.

The day before the snap I was wandering some places in a hoodie and the next day I was a pair of eyes amongst layers of winter wear.

At the very least, I was able to contribute to the science of weather with a new addition to temperature classification: Sunfire degrees.

All nine of my readers [I gained a reader recently] by now know of my love for the aging wonder that is my Pontiac Sunfire. Purchased brand new in 2004 when I got to Austin, this little beast has weathered most everything thrown at it with dignity, pride and endurance.

On the worst of winter days where snow piled to the armpit, the Sunfire would bully itself through the rising snow like a blue bullet and on the coldest of days the monster – with some disgruntlement — would fire right up.

Except this week, which is why I’ve been led to designate Sunfire degrees. It’s more of a general weather term than anything else. Not so much of a specific number as a general level of coldness.

Those days when he just won’t start.

Two days this past week — as of the writing of this colum — when my girlfriend was going to work, I would go out and try to turn it over and just listen in hurt understanding as the power would drain out of each turn of the key.

Later in the day, it starts back up, once the sun has been beaming on it and really it doesn’t take much more. I’m still impressed that’s all it needs at this advanced age. Not a jump start, just some sun.

This spring I will get a new car and the trade will include the Sunfire. It’s my third Sunfire and all of them have been magnificent to me. I can guarantee you that when I leave that lot, it might mark the only time that I’m not as giddy of the new vehicle as I am sad to part with the Sunfire.

Some say it’s silly to get so attached to a car, but this vehicle has given me as much and more as I could ever ask for. Few problems other than maintenance and an uncanny ability to deal with winter’s worst.

It’s been a good run buddy, so you just sit outside and warm yourself in the sun.

Now if you’ll excuse me, I have something in my eye.