Be Careful What You Wish For

It’s only three days into “official” summer, but already I’m beginning to wonder exactly why I was looking forward to it so much.  Don’t get me wrong:  I’m enjoying the fresh produce, the way it stays light outside until well past 8:00, and the more relaxed pace that summer brings.  What I’m not enjoying is the intense heat and humidity that has arrived and seems to be intent on sticking around, just like an uninvited and obnoxious house guest.  Maybe it’s my age, but I’m not handling the heat nearly as well as I usually do, which means that when I’m finished walking shelter dogs or doing a couple hours of yard work, I’m both cranky and exhausted.  I tend to park myself in front of the nearest air conditioning vent, thinking of all the things I’m supposed to be accomplishing with the rest of my day, and basically deciding that each and every one of them is too much trouble bother with.

Lea and Ann in poolAfter a couple hours of sitting in the cool inside air and wallowing in intense self-pity, I manage to get up and get on with the duties of the day, but even then, everything seems to require much more effort than it normally does.  I think back in wonder to the days of my childhood, when central air-conditioning was a rare thing, and I somehow not only survived the summer, but actually enjoyed it, living in a house that was cooled only by fans and, eventually, a single window AC unit installed in our dining room.  Was I more resilient back then?  Or simply too busy playing with my friends to notice the wilting heat? Those afternoons spent splashing in the little plastic wading pool were rather nice.

I know that eventually, I’ll get used to the heat and humidity….probably the day just before the heatwave breaks.  Until then, I’ll do my best to soldier on.  The shelter dogs need me (and all the other volunteers) to go down to the shelter to make sure the dogs get their share of potty breaks, walks, training, and socialization while they wait for their turn to be adopted.  The flowers and shrubs in our yard need care and watering to make it through the summer , and the weeds are actually thriving in this heat, so putting off yard work until September is simply not an option.

I also have to accept that this might be my “new normal” physically, and that I have reached the age where I no longer adjust to extreme temperatures as well as I used to.  (I have heard there are advantages to aging, but sometimes find that one hard to believe.)  If that’s the case, then I’ll simply adapt, the same way I have adapted to my fading eyesight,  my wrinkled and sagging neckline, and the ache I am beginning to feel in my hips whenever I exert myself a bit too much.  No one ever said growing older was going to be easy, and we all know it’s so much better than the alternative.

Searching For Summertime

If you know me at all, you know that I am no fan of winter.  I hate being cold, I’m afraid to drive on icy roads, and as a volunteer dog walker at the local Humane Society, I spend a lot of time outside, even on the coldest of days.  That means I spend most of the winter waiting impatiently for the weather to warm up so I can ditch my scarves, coats, gloves, and most importantly, my long underwear.  So I am getting more than a little cranky about the fact that it is now July 7th, and yet I still don’t feel as if summer has even begun.

DSC03343July in St. Louis is supposed to be hot and humid.  This is the time of year when I am supposed to be wearing capris (they hide more spider veins and cellulite than shorts, which is important at my age), cooling off at a swimming pool, eating dinner on my backyard patio and enjoying the flowering blooms I worked so hard to plant in the spring.  I should be excited about the tomatoes beginning to ripen on my gigantic tomato plants (I have no idea why they get so big) and I should be spending my evenings at outdoor concerts in the park, complaining about the humidity and swatting at mosquitoes, but still happy to be outside.

But instead of a normal St. Louis summer, this year we have gotten mostly cool weather and a whole lot of rain.  We’ve had a couple of days of true summer heat, but the minute I begin to adjust to it, another cold front comes along, bringing a drop in temperatures and more rain.  The flowers I so carefully planted a couple of months ago are in danger of drowning, we’ve had exactly two meals on our patio since Memorial Day and I haven’t gotten to go swimming once.  Admittedly, given what I look like in a swim suit these days, that last one isn’t necessarily a bad thing.  But still, I should at least have the option to go swimming if I want to.  And when I go out for dinner, I usually have to bring along a sweater or light jacket, just in case in stops raining long enough that we might get to sit outside.  A sweater, mind you……in July!

156I know that there are many areas of the country right now suffering from terrible drought, and I truly wish I could send some of our cold and rain their way.  Because I am well and truly tired of it, and I want the summer I spent those cold winter months dreaming of.  I want to go outside in my bare feet; I want to eat produce I have grown myself, I want to enjoy stepping into a cool shower after coming home from the Humane Society hot and sweaty from walking dogs.   Most importantly, I want the chance to grow so tired of the heat and humidity that I am actually glad when fall comes around, even though I know it will be followed by the dreaded winter.  Because face it, I need my summers….they’re what help me get through my winters!