Posted tagged ‘pool’

“Mosquitoes, how wonderful! No one puts them in cages or makes pets out of them.”

July 1, 2017

I am late again. This time I can’t blame my computer. It is my fault. It was close to 10:30 when I woke up then I had two papers to read and a couple of cups of coffee to drink before I could face the day. Last night I was restless and woke up several times. Gracie was the sleep disruptor twice, the first at 3:30. When we went outside, it was so dark I had to feel with my foot to figure out where we were: the grass or the driveway. Once back inside, I had to read a while before I could get back to sleep, back to my restless sleep. It’s no wonder I’m tired.

Today’s weather is like yesterday’s but with a breeze instead of a wind. The leaves at the end of the branches are waving but only slightly. I don’t hear my chimes.

Summer has officially started. The house next door has its first renters of the season. I heard them this morning. They weren’t loud but the open window a bit above the couch where I sleep faces their small deck and slider. I haven’t figured out how many are there yet, but I think there is only a single car.

My house is dark though the clouds are light-colored, not like storm clouds. I can feel the humidity. I’ve nothing planned for today but I might switch out the spawn eaten lights for the new ones I have. The spawns prefer red for chewing.

We didn’t have many organized summer activities when I was a kid. The playground under the trees on the field at the end of my street was about the only close place to spend a summer day. The pool was another spot, but it was about as far away from my house as you could get and still be in my town. Sometimes we’d bike ride to a pond in the next town and go fishing. The library was another place to spend some time before leaving with an armful of books. Other times we didn’t do anything but stay around the house.

My mother kept the living room dark. All the shades were down. She believed this was the best way to keep the house cool. We didn’t have AC back then, and we didn’t have any fans. Upstairs was a hot box. It took a while to fall asleep.

My father had an obsession about mosquitos. He always yelled for us to close the outside doors quickly; somehow, though, that didn’t work. My father hunted down mosquitos.  They were his prey. He had a rolled-up newspaper as his weapon of choice. He’d jump on beds to whack the mosquitos on the ceilings. He woke us up a lot when the beds rocked as he walked across the mattress swatting bugs. All the ceilings had smashed bug marks and a few splotches of blood. My father announced each kill, each triumph. He was a mighty hunter.

“All the world is made of faith, and trust, and pixie dust.”

May 6, 2014

I have been waking up early the last few days or at least early for me. I think the sunshine makes me not want to waste any daylight. The dog, cat and I don’t get up right away but stay in bed, them sleeping, me reading. My book is just about finished, and I hated leaving it this morning but thoughts of coffee and the papers were enough to roust me from bed. It was a noisy morning. From my bedroom window I could hear the sounds of the early day. Somewhere a lawn was being mowed and I could hear the kids waiting for their bus. Two neighbors, their combined seven kids and one dog are not quiet. The little kids’ bikes rumble up and down the neighbor’s drive-way. She’s not there. The dog barks if a car drives by him. The bus arrives about ten to nine, two of the kids get on, everyone waves to them, the bus leaves and the bikes head on down the street: a couple of Big Wheels and two bikes with training wheels. This afternoon they’ll do it all again for the return trip of the school bus.

I grew up in a golden age. We walked to school and all over town. We played in unfenced yards or went to the playground down the street. It was an innocent age where the only bad guy was a Russian with his atomic bombs, but duck and cover was more of a game to us than a strategy. We played cowboys and Indians. We had heroes like Superman. I don’t think my parents ever locked the front door. The world was never scary except maybe for the guy with the hook. We watched westerns on TV. They always had a good guy and a bad guy, and it was easy to tell them apart. In school, each class had 35 or more kids in it, but the nuns ruled with iron hands. Not one of us dared cross them or we’d get killed at home. The worst thing we ever did was whisper or pass a note. On Saturday nights the whole family went to the drive-in and on summer Sundays the beach. The car was cramped and there was no air-conditioning, but we all survived though with some complaining and pushing and screaming about territorial rights. The phones had operators who connected us, and ours was a party line. We knew just about everyone in our neighborhood. We also knew they’d tell our parents if we did anything wrong. Summer was pure bliss. Some days we walked to the zoo or the pool. The zoo was free; the pool was a dime. My mother sometimes gave us an extra nickel so we could buy a snack from the stall outside the pool. We’d sit under trees at picnic tables and eat our snack before the long trek home, all the way across town. We never gave much thought to the future. We were kids and the future was the next day or as far away as the weekend.

That was the easiest time in my whole life, and I think of it with great fondness and a whole lot of nostalgia.

“God, it was hot! Forget about frying an egg on the sidewalk; this kind of heat would fry an egg inside the chicken.”

May 31, 2013

I never did get to the garden center yesterday because Gracie and I went to the dump. She saw me bringing trash to the car despite my stealthiness and got quite excited at the prospect of going to one of her favorite places. I couldn’t disappoint her so off we went. When I got home, I sat for a bit and that small break drained me of any ambition. It was around two, and I was sitting on the couch reading and sweating because yesterday afternoon was about 84˚. Why in the heck am I sweating thought I so up I got to turn on the air-conditioner. The house was so hot it took until early evening before it was comfortably cool. This morning I went outside to see if I could turn off the air. Nope!

I had no milk or cream so Gracie and I went to Dunkin’ Donuts. She enjoyed her morning ride and I got my coffee. We are both happy with the start of our day.

I don’t remember being hot when I was young. I remember cold, but the memory of heat escapes me. We walked from one end of town to the other to go to the pool, and I remember carrying my towel and bathing suit in both directions. On the way home the wet bathing suit was wrapped in the towel. I remember walking up the huge hill on the way to the square, but I don’t remember the rest of the walk. I remember tired but not hot. At night, the air was sometimes stifling in my bedroom, but I always fell asleep anyway. It was the exhaustion of a kid in summer.

We didn’t have air-conditioning. Nobody did. We didn’t even have a fan that I remember. My mother pulled down all the shades in the house to keep it cooler. We were moles every summer.

When I lived in Ghana, some days I minded the extreme heat. I’d sit in my chair, and when I got up, the imprint of my body was in an outline of sweat on the cushions. Candles melted sideways without being lit. That’s how hot it got in the Upper Region. I didn’t have a fan then either, never even thought of buying one. I just got used to the heat as best I could. In my mind it was just part of the experience of being a Peace Corps volunteer in Africa.

Every night I’d take my cold shower, no hot water, but the first water from the pipes was always hot, warmed by the sun, and I’d wash my hair quickly. The rest of me endured the cold water. I always took my shower just before I went to bed. I had learned not to dry myself off so I could air dry once I got into bed. It was like I was my own air-conditioner. I think the Peace Corps calls that adapting.