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Spring Sprung: Nine Ways to Know Winter Is (Almost) Over in Houston

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Houston is not exactly a place where the transitions between seasons are direct and obvious. Weather here flows from warm to hot to warm to less warm and back again. Trees lose their leaves but only in the midst of what most of the country refers to as the dead of winter. And the leaves kinda change, but this ain't exactly New England.

Still, there are signs that time is passing. It isn't as dramatic as the first thaw of snow or anything like that, but its there and we Houstonians recognize the telltale characteristics of springtime in the Bayou City.

9. Outdoor exercisers fill the parks.

New Year's resolutions were made weeks ago and they've begun to wane for many who have grown weary of going to the gym, but thanks to some glorious spring weather, they can get back on track...the jogging track that is, at every park in Houston. You can also tell by the annoyed faces of the hard core trainers who have been there all winter.

8. Everyone you know is mildly sick.

Half the people in your office are sniffing, sneezing and complaining about allergies. A few might even break into a fever, but mostly it is just a minor sinus issue that will pass right in time for the serious allergy season, which hits in a few weeks.

7. Flip flops are forced by some while winter coats are preserved by others.

You know them, that one dude who insists on wearing flip flops despite a cold front that dropped temperatures back into the 40s for the last time. "I'm not cold! It's spring!" he insists while holding his toes close to the fire pit. And the woman who remains bundled in a heavy coat despite the fact that it's downright warm. In fairness, she's the same person who keeps multiple sweaters at work, but still.

6. Christmas decorations finally come down at that one house in your neighborhood.

You know the one that tried in desperation to keep the decor relevant. They swapped out a Christmas wreath for a Valentine's Day heart wreath. They've done everything they can to keep that holiday spirit alive, but even they know it's over and time to move on.

5. Patios are packed.

Houston's growing reputation as a food destination has caused wait times at popular restaurants to dramatically expand, but nothing compares to trying to get a patio seat for Sunday brunch. Unless you make a reservation, you're going to wait an hour-plus. Fortunately, you can always have a mimosa while you wait.

4. The air conditioning comes on in the house...if only for a minute.

The car a/c has been on and off all winter long, but the first creeks of the unit in your home are finally being heard for the first time in months. It's only for that one first day of 80-degree weather, and just for a few minutes, but it happens. Too bad it doesn't have that lovely burning dust smell your furnace has in fall.

3. The weeds are in full bloom...wildflowers and azaleas are close behind.

Yes, weeds. Sure, some of them have dainty little flowers, but most just cause what we feel in No. 8 on this list. The good news is that the beautiful Texas wildflowers and azaleas are very close behind. Now, get out there and pull those little bastards out of your garden already.

2. The bugs are back.

Not the mosquitos, thankfully, but every flying, buzzing and flitting insect that has hidden under those piles of leaves you neglected to rake are out in force. And that includes the roaches and termites, which begin to swarm...yes, SWARM...this time of year.

1. Everyone talks about how tired they are of cold weather.

You'd think we had just been through the worst winter in the history of Minnesota by how everyone complains. Buck up, neighbor, you'll soon be bitching about the heat.

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