The Dog Days of August

sunHere we are at the end of August and summer has decided to show up. We’ve had an exceptionally cool June, July and most of August this year, so this weather is hard on everybody–even Ernie the pug. He lays like a frog on the linoleum to keep his tummy cool, while he pants and snorts. Needless to say, pugs have a small window for weather tolerance to keep them comfortable. Much like me.

So, yesterday, today, and tomorrow when the temperature gauge dances around the 90 degree mark, Ken and I will be hanging out in the living room each on our own computers pretending we are somewhere else. The oscillating fan will provide our trade winds, and the air conditioner will keep the temps a balmy 78 degrees.

I’ve heard friends from warmer climates speak about how hard it is to stay indoors when the weather looks beautiful through the window, but going outside means a good chance of melting. A few days of such weather drives me nuts; I don’t know how southerners get through the whole long, hot summer. Of course, they wonder how and why we northerners endure almost six months of cold and snow. I always tell them I can put on more clothes than I can take off without being arrested.

One plus of hunkering down indoors is getting on with my research. The greatest perk about being a writer is you can research and write almost anywhere. I truly love my profession because my commutes are short; my working environment is comfortable, and  I can write in my jammies, sipping coffee, while my imagination takes me away to different times and places.

As we suffer through these three days of extreme heat, I daydream what it must have been like not to have air conditioning or fans on hot days like today. When I was a child, no one in our little town had air conditioning — including the school and church. I remember heading to the basement to escape the inferno outside. I remember not sleeping because I couldn’t get comfortable. And I remember my Dad coming home from work after working all day in a place where the inside 100 degrees and the outside 90 degrees offered no relief. We never complained to Dad how hot it was because he had worked in hell all day to keep our family feed.

Children love hot weather because they can splash and play in cool water from the hose in the backyard. Lucky kids swim in backyard pools, while their Moms watch them from padded chairs perched under a huge umbrella sipping lemonade or something stronger. Such was the case when my children were little. Our neighbor’s pool was always open to us, and I spent many hours swimming with them or watching my little tadpoles practice what they learned in swimming class.

Up until recent years, summer was my favorite season. I had my birthday in July, there was no school, and I played all day at the park. I got to go to Girl Scout camp every summer, learning the mysteries of the outdoor world. I played baseball all day long whenever I could. It’s funny. I never remember being too hot to play. Mom treated us to Popsicles or Kool-Aid in the afternoons, and we were happy.  Maybe that’s the secret!  Kids don’t feel the heat like older grown-ups do. Yeah. That must be it!

So, if I complain about being cooped up in a comfortable, cool house for a few days, just slap me. I deserve it. After all, children are young once and summer is a time to enjoy.

 

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4 thoughts on “The Dog Days of August

  1. I’m with you and the heat. We’ve had a nice break here this week and I love it. I had a heatstroke at 10 and thought I was going to die. We had just moved from Germany to Georgia. Talk about weather change. I’ve never been able to tolerate heat since. Not looking to get arrested either. Shower a lot to keep my body cooled down. Come on Fall!

    • Because we northerners are climatized to cooler weather, when tropical temperatures and humidity hit, we become hermits like we do when the temp falls below zero. We’re pretty much hot house delicate flowers. I don’t know how people work outside!

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