Just to see if you are on your toes, we are going to kick things off this morning with a hard-hitting, weather-related question.
Q: Other than Friday, which was a tad damp, have you been enjoying the sunny summer weather we've been treated to recently? Well, have you? A: NO YOU HAVEN'T! I apologize for engaging my keyboard's caps lock feature, but -- and this is a big but for us weather experts -- the pleasant weather you have been enjoying lately is SPRING weather.
But I have some good news, people: Summer is almost here. It officially arrives in this hemisphere on Friday with the summer solstice, the longest day of the year, the day when the sun reaches its farthest point north of the equator, the day when Dad is officially allowed to put on his Bermuda shorts, a dorky hat and slather his pasty skin with SPF 500 sunscreen.
As tradition demands in these parts, we are going to herald the arrival of another moody Manitoba summer with some (very bad word) lousy end-of-spring weather.
Today, for example, Environment Canada says we can expect increasing cloudiness, a 60 per cent chance of showers in the afternoon and evening, risk of a thunderstorm with a daily high of 23 C, which is one measly degree under the normal high of 24 C at this time of year.
On Sunday -- URGENT GIFT REMINDER: THIS ALSO HAPPENS TO BE FATHER'S DAY -- the outlook calls for more clouds with a 70 per cent chance of showers and a high of 21 C. On the upside, the weather office's website does not currently display any cute cartoon-style thunderbolts for Sunday.
I realize hardcore Manitobans will be stunned to hear there's an excellent chance of rain to help kick off the Manitoba Marathon and the Red River Ex, but we are a hardy pioneering people, capable of battling mosquitoes the size of Labrador retrievers, so we will survive.
Speaking of surviving, you can bid spring farewell by heading to the Ex for corn dogs, mini-doughnuts, the Giant Flea Circus, local artists displaying their work in shipping containers and, of course, the newest spine-tingling midway ride, the Mach3, in which a freakish 37-metre arm rotates up to 13 times per minute, producing an acceleration of 3.5 Gs for hapless riders. Good luck with that.
I also urge you to drag Dad out to Assiniboine Park today to join me at the annual Safeway Walk/Run to fight prostate cancer. The five-kilometre walk/run starts at 4 p.m. in front of the Lyric Theatre. Registration opens at 2:45. p.m. For $35, you get to walk and enjoy the barbecue.
This is also the opening weekend of the Winnipeg International Jazz Festival, with fun and funky shows in Old Market Square, including the Free Press News Caf©. You'll find more info at www.jazzwinnipeg.com.
And think of all the fun you and Dad will have Sunday getting up early to cheer on thousands of perky fit people taking part in a potentially soggy 35th running of the Manitoba Marathon.
Speaking of Dad, he's lying on the couch right now, snoring like a freight train in his lucky underpants and his ratty Bon Jovi T-shirt. Maybe this Father's Day, the best gift would be to let him sleep. You can wake him up when summer gets here... in 2014.