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Monday, June 23, 2008

It was a dark and stormy afternoon...

The heavens exsanguinated, perforated by a trillion tiny tines.

Cool droplets did what cool droplets do when they meet a hot sidewalk: they exploded, water molecules racing to see which would go the fastest and farthest. As reinforcements arrived the event ceased to be a meteorological Gallipoli and became instead an aquatic Waterloo: small pockets, French squares, of pavement still untouched were surrounded by an ever-advancing tide of soggy English doom. Eventually, all of these pockets surrendered, and the concrete became a uniformly dull shade of grey where once it had been a brilliant ivory.

Accompanying the visual victory of the damp over the dry was a temperature transformation: once-arid air was now as sodden a sponge (a wet sponge of course; that ought to have gone without saying).

The day became bearable. Walking outside after the rain was experiencing the world as it could only have been imagined just a few hours before, when the heat was stifling activity and driving everyone indoors.

A short walk became, with little effort, a long walk. That long walk turned into a lunch outside a downtown cafe. That lunch transformed into trip to the office to convince her to come play outside: the weather was fine and shouldn't be wasted sitting inside. This mission accomplished, we went for a hike in the freshened forest. Just after a rain the trees, plants, and flowers in a forest all present themselves first to the nose. Next they inform the ears of their location with a gentle dripping that can be heard when the heart is muffled. We could have navigated safely from our car to the now-rushing creek with our eyes closed, so powerful were the smells and sounds surrounding us, locating every living thing within an olfactory and auditory field.

Once arrived at the creek we laid out our water-proof blanket and let the diminutive one discover moss and harmless insects. We coaxed her away from the running water, and diverted her attention to those few ladybugs that hadn't yet flown from her exuberance.

A long hike back to the car, a short drive back home, and a late afternoon nap for all of us before a dinner prepared on the grill in the thankfully tolerable evening air.


All of this, and other fantasies that never happened to me, can be found at In Shawn's Dreams.Com*. It has been ass-boiling hot here. So hot, in fact, that we had to get a hotel room last night just to sleep comfortably. The thermostat in the apartment has been pinned at 99 (flashing) during the day, and it stays at 95 until 3 in the morning. We sit next to floor fans hoping that we wont' die of dehydration before we get a chance to smack whoever is responsible for the weather.

Thankfully, it has cooled off now, but not before we actually fled into a McDonald's just for the air-conditioning. Erin has never been to McDonald's before, and we were deliberately avoiding it. But, thanks to whomever decided 100 was an acceptable number for a temperature in Menlo Park in June I gave my daughter chicken McNuggets. I will blame them for her now impossibly high cholesterol and her obsession with Kung Fu Panda toys.

*In Shawn's Dreams.Com is not an actual website. Well, perhaps it is, but if it is it has nothing to do with me and I don't know what those women are doing.


womaninawindow said...

You had me there in your eloquence and then the water proof picnic blanket smacked me right upside the head. And then the website. I daresay you are a little clever. Sorry you didn't REALLY get that nap, woulda been so sweet.

Mary Beth said...

And Ronald McDonald sits back with an evil chuckle and thinks, "Yep, snagged me another one!"

for a different kind of girl said...

The last time I checked that website, the women were eating chicken nuggets and apple pies off chiseled abs that may or may not have been yours (it's cute how you play coy, so I'll play along, too). If they were yours, well, good job putting that gym time to good use.

FearandParentinginLasVegas said...

I feel for you. It was 108 here yesterday. After living in Vegas, I will NEVER buy a house without central A/C, even if it's in Minnesota. I may never turn it on up there, but I want to know it's there if I need it.

Jenn @ Juggling Life said...

I wish I would have thought of the hotel thing.

moonpun said...

It's easy to blame McDonald's for everything! The world is cluttered with plastic toys thanks to them.
Can you send some heat to Vermont? we'll take a few degrees and call it even...
I wore long pants and a sweatshirt at my wedding/solstice bonfire on Saturday night!

Sandie Law said...

I'm sitting here in my air conditioned office reading about your's a breath of fresh air. Thank you...and I feel your pain on the heat. It's going to be painfully hot in Iowa this week.

Badass Geek said...


Had I never heard that term used on CSI, I would have probably had to look it up in the dictionary.

Did you have a thesaurus nearby, or did you come up with that one on your own? ;)

Swirl Girl said...

but it's a dry heat, right?

i love the heat - beats the hell out of snow, sleet , cold, rain, hail and tornados that the rest of the country endures.

Californ-i-a is great!

MereCat said...

I hate hot. I seriously do.

mumma boo said...

Oh I was tripping along in that forest glade with you, thinking that I really should look on the positive side of the monsoon we've endured for the past two days, when all those asterisks woke me up. Jeez those things are pointy. Hope you find some relief soon. (And Grimace is responsible for the weather. He only looks like a happy purple blob. Misery loves company, you know.)

Stefanie said...

Hey BPD, I thought you were turning into Hemingway there for a minute and then *poof* Mickey D's here we come! Love it.

Headless Mom said...

I hate the heat too. Over the weekend it was around 110 here.

Seriously missing my Colorado Mountain Home!!

Thankfully it was only in the 90's today- a sentence I thought I'd never say.

Backpacking Dad said...

womaninawindow: only a little. I'm more clever when my brain isn't overheated and I get my nap in.

mary beth: damn him and his rictus grin.

FADKOG: last time I went to the gym a trainer made me do pushups until I wanted to throw up. Bulimia will chisel these abs; that's what the gym is really for.

fearandparentinginlasvegas: I need to use an achronym for you; but FADKOG is my one and only achronymed reader and I'd hate to dishonor her that way; she was my first. But yeah, a/c. But here you can either afford a house and groceries or a house and a/c. I picked wrong.

jenn: best money I spent all weekend.

moonspun: congratulations!

sandie law: you had to go and brag about your a/c, didn't you? Grr...Iowans... ;}

badass geek: you need to stop calling me about about the false image I'm trying to present to the world :} I may have known the word before, but as soon as you mentioned CSI I thought "yep, I do remember hearing it there". Even if I did come up with it on my own, however, you'll be happy to know I had to look up how to spell it properly :}

swirl girl: California is great. But I could do with a good spring rain every now and then. I'm supposed to be in the greener half of Cali, but instead I'm in the browner third of it most of the time.

merecat: I suppose it could be worse. It could be hot and snowing at the same time. I would hate to have to shovel snow in this heat.

mumma boo: I think you've hit the nail on the head. That purple bastard.

Stefanie: Hemingway, huh? I guess I could have added a bottle of wine chilling in the creek and thrown in a fistfight or two. :}

headless mom: only mid-90's huh? That sounds awesome.

Whit said...

Nicely done. We have more of those Kung Fu Panda toys than I care to admit.

Badass Geek said...

I'll stop calling you out, since you asked so nicely.

Just trying to keep you on your toes.


kittenpie said...

As opposed to here, where is HAS in fact been raining - and thundering and hailing, I might add - like crazy.

Backpacking Dad said...

Whit: we wanted the goddamned panda, but was nowhere to be found. They also had difficulty providing us with a large cup for our drink.

badass geek: my toes are sore now :}

kittenpie: so, after all that heat, now we're on fire; smoggy clouds in the sky...can't go outside, can't stay inside. Doomed.

Swirl Girl said...

BPD- I meant nothing ill-willed by earlier comment.

I meant only to ask if this was supposed to be serious prose (as all chick lit is, of course) or a chapter in a Twainish anthology.

Either way - It's chicklit-iscious!

see, I just turned a perjorative noun into an adjective!