Down here in the South, we need our own weather-predicting critter. That Pennsylvania rodent, Punxsutawney Phil, has nary a clue when spring is going to show up down here.

The town of Punxsutawaney is in northern Pennsylvania, a mere 335 miles from the Great Lakes. Even your average half-brain knows its freezing-assed cold that far north. Yet the whole United States is using a rodent from the coldest region of the U.S. to predict the length of our winters.

I have already seen two different swallowtail butterflies, a sure sign spring has begun in the south. I offer the following additional proof:

redbud tree blooms


new growth on maple tree


azalea blooms hither and yon


wild violets

With this much proof of spring, I have a suggestion. Can we let the northern half of the United States use the rodents while the South uses the American Robin (Turdus migratorius)? Red-breasted robins have shown up en masse on our property every spring as they return to their summer range. This makes the American Robin a much more reliable weather predictor.

the only robin who cooperated with my photo shoot



I had a lot of full moon moments in February. Either that or my friends are right — I’m a whack job. I’ll admit I can do stupid Real Good all by myself. However, I suspect the act of orbiting the Crooked Moon magnetizes oddities into my orbit. Worse, my confidence in my ability to navigate life is constantly eroded when no one else ever mentions these kinds of things happening to them. So I run around thinking, “What if I am a whack job?”

This month, it started with the shorts. It’s 80 degrees down here, people. We need our shorts. I have two soft denim pairs purchased last summer that I like to keep handy because they aren’t fashionably shredded like all my other denim shorts. I looked in all the usual places and then the unusual places. The shorts remain hidden. I just hope I didn’t throw them in the trash when I meant to throw them in the hamper.

Then there was that problem at the gas station on the other side of town. I gave $30 to the cashier and proceeded back to the pump. Noticed that I had failed to open the fuel filler lid (this is an official term). I unlocked the car door and reached down to pull the lever for the fuel filler lid. Nothing. I pulled it several times without any response from the fuel filler lid. At this point, I’m thinking it’s broke so I went back in to get a refund on my $30.

Back at the car, I can’t resist trying it one more time. This is when I notice I’ve been pulling the trunk lever instead of the fuel filler lever. Major smack to the forehead.

Only because this gas was the cheapest I had seen in weeks did I tuck my pride away and go back inside. I told the SAME cashier that I was having a senior moment and now wanted to pump gas. She started laughing hilariously. I told her to go ahead and laugh but one day she would have senior moments, too. I don’t think she believed me but that’s probably because I was, in truth, having a stupid moment rather than a senior one.

My most recent orbit around the Crooked Moon involved the magnet mentioned above. I was not doing anything stupid. I promise.

I reached for the toilet paper and the spring in the spindle holding the toilet paper EXPLODED. Both pieces of the metal spindle and the inner metal spring crashed to the floor, a tile floor, and fell behind the toilet tank in a bathroom that might be 3 feet wide. And it was not my bathroom. It wasn’t even the bathroom of a close friend. Nosireebob, it was the bathroom of someone who probably heard the whole thing and wondered what I was doing.

Briefly, I thought about looking for an item with which I could commit suicide but that would have involved opening cabinets that would, no doubt, bang shut and prompt the homeowner to start knocking on the door.

I know Emily Post is long dead but I can’t help but wonder what explanation she would have offered the homeowner. It was probably more polite than “Your schizophrenic toilet paper holder suffered a breakdown when I happened to be in the bathroom with it.”