It was raining in Newport as we came out of Szabo’s. We had decided to try and catch a bit of the Oregon vs. UCLA football game. But Abigail wasn’t really in the mood to watch football, so we ate in a hurry and rushed out despite our waitress’s best effort to entertain her with a kiddie cup filled with ice. As the wind picked up I pulled my raincoat around tighter and lifted my hood. I was glad Ryan was in charge of the car seat as I hopped in the driver’s seat. “So some guys at work mentioned we might want to just head straight to the marine supply store to get our winter gear,” Ryan said. “What?” “You know, to get ready for the winter weather. It will be raining most every day and the 60 to 80 mph winds will keep things pretty wet.” It was a good thing he brought this up after dinner or I might have choked on my halibut. “What!?” My first reaction was laughter because, like many other people, I have the unfortunate habit of laughing inappropriately. “You didn’t tell me about this.” “I did, Sarah, what do you think all of these people have been trying to tell us.” Now that he mentioned it, I had been involved in several conversations where the winter weather had been brought up. When people talked of gray skies and winter storms, I figured that it couldn’t be that bad. It didn’t really even get cold here and it was a rarity to get any snow. I had survived Blacksburg winters, where the icy wind whips through the drillfield and on occasion picks up students and carries them to class. Kidding. Kind of. I thought these Newport residents were just being a tad bit whiny. I met Ryan’s coworkers at lunch the next day and the subject of the weather appeared again. “They just upped the wind gusts for the weekend forecast to 65 mph this weekend.” “Oh, just a breeze then.” “I had a man come to the mill from Atlanta once and I asked him what he thought of the storm. He replied, You call this a storm, but in Atlanta we call this a hurricane.” This was followed by hearty, knowing laughter. Hilarious. I came home from lunch, still a little unsure of what exactly a winter in Newport was going to be like. A Google search brought up words like squall and gale. It sounded terrific! Oh, and did I mention the Tsunami evacuation signs everywhere? Apparently that isn’t a joke either. Who knew.