100 Degrees and Counting?

A Catalog of Memories

I have this catalog of stories I have written but never released.  They lie dormant in my folders waiting for just the right opportunity. I let them hide out with the idea that perhaps someday they will seem appropriate.

The story I am about to share was written way back in July of 2012.  For some reason it popped into my head today as I was preparing to take Sadie outside.  As I put on my hat, then my jacket, then my hood, then my scarf, oh and don’t forget the boots and mittens, it dawned on me that I had a story just crying to be let out.  What better way was there to counteract the freezing cold temperatures I was about to step out into than to resurrect a story about blazing hot weather.  So if you, like me, live in the segment of the world that is presently experiencing the final weeks of winter perhaps this will bring a little warmth to your bones.

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Without our further delay let’s get this ball rolling.  This is where, if I were a director, I would say, “Action!”

July 9, 2012

It’s been ten days since the outside temperature hasn’t been below 100 degrees let alone 90.  Our geographical area is not usually bombarded with weather as hot as it is now.  Added to the blazing hot temperatures is our severe lack of moisture.  The drought we are experiencing is unlike anything I have ever seen.

Today is the first day we have had our windows open since the excessive heat streak began.  In a way it almost feels like we have been hibernating.  To ward off the effects of the excessive heat we put into practice the following measures:

  • We kept our windows and their coverings closed.
  • The air conditioner ran  darn near non-stop trying to maintain a reasonable inside temperature.
  • Venturing outside was kept to a minimum.
  • A rigid watering schedule was followed to help our plantings survive the heat.  Utilized in the timing of the schedule was one of our kitchen timers.  Seldom was it sitting idle.
  • To assist the birds with their survival we maintained a level of water in our bird bath.  Often seen floating on the surface of the water are hornets.  I’m not at all a fan of these little creatures.  I am, however, entertained as I observe them partake of the liquid.

Aside from the obvious unbearable effect the heat has on us humans is the evidence we can see in our surroundings:

  • Seldom do we experience a day without some sort of wind or breeze.  During this dry spell the breezes have been but a whisper.
  • The pops of color found lingering from the surviving flowers are like diamonds in a sea of destruction.
  • The small hydrangea tree in our front yard struggles to survive.  It was hit hard this year by the early warm temperatures in March, the freezing cold spell in late spring and the oppressive heat of June and July coupled with the lack of adequate moisture.
  • One by one we watch the neighborhood trees fall victim to the lack of rain and their owner’s inability or disregard to maintain proper hydration.
  • Directly across the street from our home is a grouping of newly planted bushes.  My husband and I watch as the bushes slowly die.  At times we talk about secretly dragging our hose across the street at night and turning it on to water them.

Amidst the depression we all feel over the inability to control the weather we are thankful for these things:

  • We have the financial resources to maintain our own plantings.  The effects of the weather have been kept to a minimum.
  • We have central air conditioning and can afford to keep it in operation.
  • We have not experienced wild-fires.

Now that the heat has subsided it is so wonderful to open the windows and exchange the stale inside air for the fresh aroma of the outdoors.  The open windows allow the almost-forgotten melody of birds to float inside.  Of course drifting in along with their songs is the distant sounds of road construction.  Those sounds I choose to ignore.

With our window shades finally open we can observe the devastation created by the 100 degree days.  Typically our home is surrounded by a beautiful sea of green grass.  Left behind now are intermittent patches of green amongst a dessert of brown, parched earth.  The grass that once was soft beneath our toes now sounds crunchy as we walk across it.

Stranded in the middle of burnt vegetation is a lonely patch of green grass.  This isolated oasis is where our grand-children’s wading pool was emptied after the 4th of July celebration.  Outlining the edges of our gardens are ribbons of green.  In our desperate attempt to keep trees, shrubs and flowers alive we utilized our sprinklers. These small sections of surviving grass resulted from the over-spray created by the watering.  Attempts to keep the grass from perishing had long since faded.

This is a summer that I would much rather forget.  The thought of enduring additional sweltering days this season sours my disposition.  I long for the warm days of summer all winter long.  This, however, is not to my liking.

March 21, 2013

Well there you have it.  A moment in time much different from the present.  Did it bring back memories?  Did it send waves of warmth throughout your body?  The memories, now jarred from my mind were still very familiar.  The summer of 2012 is one I would rather not experience again.  The winter of 2012-2013 is one I look forward to ending.  For now I will dream about Spring!

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I heard today that my two granddaughters were excited about Spring.  Their hopes were that since the calendar tells us the season has changed somehow the snow would instantly disappear.  What a lovely thought that would be.  If only we could will these layers and layers of frosty white precipitation to magically fade away, in but an instant.  Sadly we were not given that ability.  Even so, the hopes of those two little girls brings a smile to my heart.  Their innocent understanding of this life we live adds a layer of lightheartedness I too often forget.

Till we visit again . . .  THINK SPRING!

When will it change?

Hello! My name is Sadie!

The seasons are a changing and I’m not very happy about it.  I don’t know how many days in a row the outside temps have been below 40 degrees F.   My sweet little Sadie obviously has to be able to go outside to go potty.  Since she can’t do that all on her own she needs one of her humans to assist.  I just happen to be her human.

As the mercury continues to slide I find it necessary to add more and more layers to my outside attire.  When Sadie first came home in August, I started with shorts, a tank top and flip-flops.  Next came a light jacket.  Before long the shorts were replaced by jeans.  Then flip-flops by shoes.  Socks were eventually added.  My light jacket’s no longer warm enough so I’ve started wearing my winter coat.  Today I even added mittens.

When is it going to stop?  When will the trend reverse?  I don’t look forward to the days when 40 degrees F seems like a heat wave.  That change in perspective will mean we’ve been enduring outside temps far lower than that.  Oh, poor me!  Think Spring!  🙂

A Change of Seasons

The mercury in the thermometer today tells me it’s 36 degrees Farenheit outside.  Only three months ago we had a forecasted temperature of 102.  Contrast the two together and you get a difference of 66 degrees and for me that’s quite a change.  I am almost always cold.  When the mercury begins to dip below 70 I just have to put on a sweater.  Today is one of those days.  Because the air outside is cool I thought it might be fun to share a post I wrote way back in July but never released.  Hope this step back in time brings some warmth your way.

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July 6, 2012

Excessive heat is the forecast for yet another day in our community.  Accu.Weather.com tells me the mercury will rise to 102 degrees Farenheit.  That’s HOT!!  Not allowing the outrageous heat to inhibit my movement I ventured outside to partake in a small excursion to Brodhead, Wisconsin.  Our destination was the JAVA House and Harvest Moon.  The purpose for my husband was a planned meeting with one of his customers.  My intention was monkey business.

Java House, as you might assume from the name, offers its customers a full array of coffee options as well as many other beverages both cold and hot.  Not to be outdone by other coffee houses they also have pastries to compliment your beverage.  A lunch menu is also available.  I can say from personal experience that the coffee, pastries and lunch offerings are wonderful.

The interior is furnished with an eclectic collection of mismatched vintage tables and chairs.  The walls of the establishment sport an exposed brick.  The bricks appear to be original to the structure.  Adding to the ambiance is a gas fire-place, which is obviously not in use today.  Attached to the coffee shop is a gift shop called Harvest Moon.  Harvest Moon is crammed full of “primitive” themed collectibles.  They have rugs, old furniture, signs, candles, garden art, quilts, table runners, jewelry, etc.  Harvest Moon is an adorable little shop with much to thrill the lover of vintage American decorations.  Both the Java House and the attached Harvest Moon are delightful!  Stop by some time for a cup of java and sit for a spell.  I’m certain you will find both of them well worth your time.

We arrived at our destination early only to find a small hand-written sign notifying customers that,

due to excessive heat and lack of air conditioning

they unfortunately would not be open.  Me being a “rule follower,” assumed that the sign was correct.  I read the sign out loud to my husband and waited for his reaction.  Assuming that we would leave I was prepared to turn and head back to our Chevy pickup.  My husband is not a “rule follower.”  He bends them as far as he can and as often as he can.  He was not about to assume the sign was accurate.  Rather than turn and run he climbed the stairs and tugged on the door.  Imagine my delight when the door to the establishment swung open.  We cautiously walked inside as my husband announced to the barista our dilemma.  She was puzzled at our encounter with the notice because is was her belief all signs had been removed.  You see yesterday they did indeed have to close because not all of their air conditioning units were operational.  The lack of adequate cooling had allowed the temperature inside to reach 97 degrees.  Obviously the heat was unbearable for both the employees as well as the patrons.  The small hand-written sign was not meant for today.  With the confusion over we gladly chose to stay.

My husband and I had arrived early so we had plenty of time to select and order a beverage as well as a pair of scones.  Being we were the only customers in the building we had the pick of the tables.  I chose a large table facing a window.  The generous expanse gave me plenty of room to spread out my laptop and belongings.  My husband chose a separate table suitable for himself and his soon to arrive customer.

As soon as our order was prepared we each retrieved our food and headed to our respective tables.  My iced coffee and scone were wonderful.  Sometimes I get so excited about being away from home that I forget to slow down and savor my purchases.  Today was especially a challenge because aside from my burning desire to put fingers to my keyboard there was this little bird chirping in my ear suggesting that I take a walk through the attached gift shop.

I announced to my husband that I would soon be en route to the other half of the building.  He smiled and told me to have a good time.  It was nice having someone else present because that meant I could safely leave my belongings without being concerned about theft.  I’m sure my face sported a smile as I quickly walked past my husband.  I slowly browsed through the small, cramped aisles gazing in every direction, absorbing as much of the merchandise as possible.  Often I paused to examine items carefully.  There were several that could have easily been added to a shopping basket.  I resisted though not wanting to spend any money, much to the disappointment of the establishment’s owner.  Having successfully resisted all temptations to make a purchase I turned and headed back to my table.

By the time I returned to my belongings my husband’s customer had arrived and their meeting was well underway.  I unpacked my laptop and began typing this post.  My fingers sailed over the keys as the words poured out of my mind.  Sometimes it’s so easy to put on paper what I have to say and sometimes it’s like pulling teeth, long and grueling.  Before long my story was complete and my husband’s customer was on his way out the door.  I carefully gathered up my things, packed them in their appropriate places and joined my husband.  He finished drinking his beverage, then took his dishes to the tub set aside for dirty dishes.  We made one last look in the direction of our tables making sure we had not left anything behind.  Once certain we were leaving with everything we had brought we walked toward the exit and left the building.  Another excursion had come to an end.

I’m so glad you took the time to share with me my recant of my excursion.  Let’s make a date to meet again soon.  Have a wonderful day!