Every swimming-pool season, a day comes when J gets in the water and refuses to come out. I would like to publicly thank the brutal heat wave we are enduring for this day arriving so early. My guess was that J would hold off until late August before finally giving in to the urge, but it was this morning’s heat that broke the proverbial camel’s back.
I don’t blame him. We got to Farmers’ Market by 8:30 this morning, and there wasn’t one single person there who didn’t look like they were on the brink of wilting. Some of us, and I confess I started wilting as soon as I crawled out of bed, had wilted already. It was one of those mornings when not even the lightest, coolest clothes seem to have an effect on one’s ability to fight off the heat. Even the books in the library seemed completely exhausted.
Like the cowards that we are, we came home armed with two 10-pound bags of ice, and we have been working on keeping the upstairs cool. Last night no one slept as comfortably as they would’ve liked, and it was all because of the darned bubble of hot air parked on the upper level. Today we are bound and determined to prevent the same from happening…and this might mean dragging everyone downstairs to sleep in the coolest area of the house.
The only thing advising against this strategy is J’s ability and desire to take over parts of the house. As you already know, the deck is no longer a general area…it’s J’s territory. We have, in the past, lost the living room to J, and we are not ready to do this at this time.
The year was 2010, and J was slowly emerging from his massive personality-altering temper tantrums. The heat was not as bad as it is now, and -if anything- the dry air in Santa Fe made it a little more tolerable. J decided his bedroom was too hot, and parked himself in the living room. At the time we owned a futon we’d bought shortly after we married, and J opened it and piled all his things on it. The living room was verboten for everyone, and it took quite a bit of convincing to get J to return to his bedroom after three months of occupying that area.
Ever since then, we’re leery of giving him the opportunity to take over an area that we might want to use as a family. J doesn’t mind if Dada goes to grill on the deck…there IS something in it for him, after all. J also doesn’t mind that a good deal of our vegetation is down there because it gives him something to do. What we cannot do is park ourselves out there with the intention of keeping him company. To this, with a big smile, J says a quick, firm and irrevocable SIT which means “go inside.”
We’re ok with that. We understand his desire for an area where he can lounge like the man of the world that he is. We simply observe him closely and keep an eye on the temperature tracker. One of us will, every half hour or so, step out there to spritz him with water, turn his umbrella (with its curtains to shade him,) and to remind him that he needs to continue drinking water. J has an entourage that sees to his every need, and that anticipates his every request. That’s why when nine P.M. rolls around, the entourage is ready to keel over with tiredness, but considering that J is the one person in the household who is most limited in explaining how the heat is affecting him, we don’t mind.
J was very happy at Market this morning. He found the cheese he likes (I think the guy was waiting for us because we’ve been asking for the Havarti for three Saturdays in a row now,) and we got there early enough to find his favorite red potatoes. There was a shorter line than usual at the bakery and J was very happy about that because that meant we could go to the library and then head home.
The library is one of his favorite places. They still have VHS tapes and J likes to look at them. We have realized that he misses cover art on movie cases like we miss cover art from LPs. The other day I found him pulling out some of Dada’s old records and looking at them, curious about the pictures and drawings on the album covers. Eventually he picked out The Cars by The Cars, and started bouncing around to My Best Friend’s Girl. Now that he knows what those big, black discs are for, he is fascinated by them. John Fogerty’s Centerfield was next…he liked the title song and Rock and Roll Girls. The album covers, however, hold as much sway over him as the old National Geographic Atlas Dada brought with his books many years ago.
Our strategy today is to wilt no further. I am wishing us luck with that…and I am hoping the weather forecast pans out the way it’s saying it will. Twenty degrees less than what we have now will be infinitely nicer, and perhaps some rain will appear from somewhere. J has been watering the plants twice a day to the tune of about fifteen gallons of water per day. Yes, it sounds like a lot, but it’s really not considering that the plants wilt and dry out by the early evening hours after the thorough watering they get when we get up. The tomatoes are ripening on the vine almost faster than we can eat them, and this is because of the heat. In spite of the inauspicious conditions, we will be planting lettuce on Friday, and we need to get more rosemary plants…
The clock and the thermometer inform me that it’s popsicle time…it will be popsicle time again sometime in the late afternoon. This is how we now measure our time…by temperature…and everybody CONGA!!!!!!