Site icon S.D. Gates

Too Early for Summer

After my foray into political commentary, I have decided to revert back to my usual chuntering on about nothing terribly important – this is something I am quite good at. Politics – not so much.

Summer has arrived. We knew it was coming, but we didn’t know it would arrive with such vengeance. I could tell it was on its way, because I went into “nesting mode” last week and spent a four day weekend cleaning every single closet, drawer and cabinet out.  One can have what appears on the surface to be a clean house, but if the cabinets and drawers are jam packed with all kinds of stuff, the house is not truly clean.  Some people hear voices in their heads, I hear the mess in the closets whispering to me, taunting me with “Oh you think your house is clean, but we are still here, brimming with stuff you don’t really need” (maniacal chortling ensues). I called the DAV (Disabled American Veterans) to come pick up all the stuff that was useful to someone.  I used to call Goodwill, but they have become so picky about what they will take, it’s not worth calling them anymore.   It is interesting how much stuff one can collect when one isn’t moving every 3 years with the military.  We have been living in the same house for about 8 years now and boy, does the junk accumulate.

Yesterday it was a balmy 105, the day before it was 107. Here in the Central Valley of California, our summer is like everyone else’s winter. We all get out and do our chores and errands early in the day, and after 12 Noon it is time to go inside and batten down the hatches (that means close all the shutters, turn the fans on full blast) and find the coolest, darkest place in the house to rest until the sun starts to set.  Usually about 7 o’clock the temperatures start to drop and we all emerge from our hiding places to sit on the patio, barbecue, take the dogs for a walk or wallow in the pool like Manatees.

Of course, during the work week, one can’t hole up in their house during the hottest time of the day, because that is usually when everyone is coming home from work. I have to summon up the courage to leave my place of employment and begin the trek home.  Initially when I leave the overly air-conditioned hospital, it feels really good to be in the heat.  But the thermoreceptors on my skin adjust rapidly and about 5 steps into my walk to the car I am thinking, “Can I make it”.  I reach my car, and clamber inside, it is like climbing into a dryer on High Heat.  I feel my brain desiccating inside my skull, the air is so hot it is burning my eyeballs.  My air-conditioning in my car sucks, and doesn’t really cool the car down until I am about 5 minutes away from home.  I am rather pleased with myself this year though, because I have put my fluffy teal glove on the stick shift, so I don’t burn my hand when trying to change gears.  Last year I used a tea towel.  I know some people use oven mitts to drive, so they don’t burn their hands on the steering wheel.

We won’t see rain again until October or November. Our last good rain was in April.

The gardens around us still look pretty fresh and green. The leaves on the trees are shiny and fresh.  After several months of this heat, everything will have a kind of dull, dusty look – no rain for so many months does that.  I see the lawns already starting to get patches of brown, with the exception of those houses that pulled their lawns out and had fake grass put in.  Even their lawns look dusty by August. I have taken picture of the garden, before the heat really pummels it.  I think it looks pretty good this year.  I want to put more bedding plants out, but I don’t know what kind of watering restrictions we will have this year.

I did however, do something else that I am pleased as punch about. I hired a landscaping crew to come in weekly and weed the beds and mow the lawns.  They are magical, my landscapers.  I don’t know how they do it, but there isn’t a weed anywhere, everything is so tidy.  They can do in 1-2 hours what it would take me a month to do.  I really feel like I have kind of cheated, turning over my gardens to some strangers.  I know my British Grandmother would think it was very weak of me, to turn over the weeding to someone else, but in the landscaper’s defense, they did save a Japanese Maple seedling, so I know they aren’t just barreling through the garden, not paying attention.

Yesterday, I went to the grocery store to do my weekly shopping. I thought I had it all planned out properly, so my food wouldn’t suffer in transit.  I started at Target (the cheapest place to buy dog food), then went to the car wash and lastly went to Whole Foods.  At this time of year, you really have to plan your stops, because the temperature in the car can get quite ridiculous. Even the baggers at Whole Foods asked me if I needed ice for my meat.  You can imagine what buying ice cream must be like.  You basically just have to go to the store for ice cream, and then quickly return home, no dilly-dallying, or the ice cream will be in a liquid form by the time you arrive.  I made the fatal of mistake of buying chocolate chips at Target, and then made 2 other stops.  The chocolate chips had completely melted by the time I got home and really could have been used as a warm compress on sore muscles. I guess I will have to get a hammer, or maybe a chisel if I want to use that block of chocolate for chocolate chips.  Oh well. Lesson learned.

Summer is here.

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