08 February 2007

Sunshine In a Box

This is Seattle this week:

I took this picture at work. Some people say, "Oh, look, the fog has rolled in off the Sound! It feels so cozy!"  What is wrong with these people?

Cozy my ass.

I am so sick of rain and fog and GREY I could puke. If only I had the energy. I am going through some serious sunlight deprivation here, folks. It's been going on for three years. What is this, Alaska?

Seattle has a reputation for rain. "What did she expect, moving to Seattle?" A valid question. You think I just moved here on a lark? From across the Atlantic with three kids and a rabbit?

Yeah, let's just do that without thinking it through.

I researched the hell out of locations before moving. I built a spreadsheet comparing my six finalist locations. I quizzed Seattleites online about everything, including the weather.

Especially the weather.

What I didn't realize then is that a Seattleite's perception of weather is completely different from mine. Here's how a typical chat would go, back in those halcyon days of Researching Seattle:

Me: So is the rain really as bad as they say?

Seattleite: Naw, we just say that to keep people from moving here!
Especially the Californians!
Miami's rainfall is way higher than ours!
Dude, we actually have drought conditions in July and August!

Me: Wow, I didn't know that! So ... it really doesn't rain that much?

Seattleite: Well, only in the winter.
But hey -- no snow!
And no thunder or lightening, just a light drizzle.
You don't even need an umbrella!

Me: That doesn't sound too bad. What about summers -- I really love the sun, does it get hot in the summer?

Seattleite: Dude! Summer is the best part!
Yeah, it gets hot, but not crazy hot, not like sticking to your clothes.
Never too hot, never too cold!
And the mountains and water? Seattle summer is the bomb!

So I'm thinking, wow, sounds good. I'm glad I checked with these folks. I can deal with winter drizzle if my payoff is this legendary summer! Hell, yeah! After moving, I found out the following things which had not shown up in my research:
  1. "Hot" to a Seattleite is 72F - 74F. With no humidity. And a maritime breeze

  2. "Winter" goes from September to April.

  3. They say May and June are"summer". They lie. May and June are just April Showers, continued.
  1. Summer is actually only August and half of July. Make it count.

  2. On Winter Solstice, it's dark when I arrive at work and dark when I leave. At 4pm.

  3. The Emerald City moniker doesn't just mean "green all the time". It means you are not in friggin' Kansas anymore, Dorothy.

Seattleites live in a weather bubble. A snowglobe without the snow. The Seattle comfort zone ranges from say, 62F to about 72F. Below or above that is considered "freezing" or "burning up".

A day that hits 80 (no humidity, mind you) is "a real scorcher".

If it hits the low 90s (again, no humidity), people lose their gottdamn minds.

Meteorologists break into TV programs with heat advisory warnings, and folks are advised to hit the malls or theaters to avoid heat stroke. You'd think it was Armageddon. Get to the A/C, where it's safe, people! Watch those babies and old folks, too.

I have not worn shorts in three years. I can count the times I've worn short sleeves. I am the color of a corpse. I wear undershirts and socks year-round. I miss real weather. I miss thunder and lightning and snow. I especially miss people who know how to drive in snow. And snowplows. But I miss heat most of all.

Hindsight is a clear-sighted bitch.

I am now researching Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD. Go figure). This is actually a big deal, because I am basically a suck-it-up-and-drive-on type of girl. What, a crisis? Sounds like a personal problem to me, soldier. Depression? Not me. PMS? For wimps. Feeling blue? Best fit that shit in after taking care of business. This of course, only applies to me. Everyone else is allowed to feel blue or have PMS.  That's "different".

I am allowed to feel crappy, I'm just supposed to keep that shit boxed up nice and tidy. Let it out of the box, and then who's going to take care of business? So to even think I could join the Ranks of the Depressed was a huge internal battle.

Whatever. I'm over that. This endless drizzly-assed GREY is depressing as hell.

I don't think SAD covers it though, for me. I have diagnosed myself with MFD-SAD, or Manic Fucking Depressive Seasonal Affective Disorder. I don't need a medical degree to know this is true. It's the manic part that confirms it.

The sun came out two weekends ago. I was as one possessed. I cleaned and organized the garage; cleaned the yard, driveway, and street of the storm debris that had been sitting for weeks (Yes, we actually had a real live storm!); got all the Christmas decorations down, packed and organized; cleaned house; did laundry; walked the dogs; cooked dinner; and finished a big project for work.

Those are the parts I remember. I get so freaking deliriously happy when the sun comes out, it's like a drug.  I swear I get high on sunbeams. That could be a song. I Get High On Sunbeams.

Fortunately, I now have Sunshine In a Box. I arrived one morning to find it outside my office door, with a Post-it note attached. A dear friend and colleague apparently heard I was about to lose my fucking MIND, and lent me her lightbox. I could kiss her boots. I considered setting up a shrine for her, the better to worship her like Ra, the sun god. Yes, a shrine. This is how twisted and desperate a sun-whore's mind becomes in the absence of sunlight.

This is Sunshine In a Box:

(Yes, that is my G.Dubya Bush countdown calendar on the right. We have 713 days left in his reign.)

The light box is the blazing white rectangle, lower left. This sucker is bright. Either it's working, or the  incrementally longer days are having an effect.  More likely, my mind is pulling some sort of psychological trickery on my ass. The placebo effect. I don't care.

I do not care.

Beats drugs or therapy.


  1. PPS: I just realized that the colors of this blog are GREY and maritime as hell. Go figure.

  2. Those are "Northwest colors" - part of Seattle's heritage, you know? Nothing wrong with maritime colors - as long as the Meer you're imitating is the Caribbean.

  3. Actually, the one time I've been up there, it snowed. I do not buy this "No Snow" claim.

  4. We just read your blog here in our office.... and can appreciate the dread of winter you have experienced. We would love to send you a sample of our Sunshine in a Box and hope that you may try out this natural remedy. This product is being carried here in Seattle locally at a Holistic Clinic downtown.

    Please feel free to email us directly and we'll send you this via the USPS.

    ~Melissa Gallagher
    Creator- Sunshine in a Box

  5. Oh goodness, I know how you feel! I grew up in Africa--even though I was born in the Pacific Northwest--and the winters are killer! I recently invested in a new lamp that has this great lightbulb that makes me feel like I actually have energy! It's nice. I'm trying to find cures for my own case of SAD, so if you find anything that really works, drop me a line...?


I've got a fever ...