My New Favorite Place

It’s been a brutal summer in Chicago.  We’ve had 9 days over 90 degrees and the forecast is for 90’s through the next 8 days.  I really don’t like the heat at all which is why I live as north as I do.  I always say, you can put on a sweater if you get cold but you can only get so naked if you’re hot.  As a result of this heat and the accompanying humidity, I’ve become a bit of a hermit.  Really not going outside unless I had to.  But tonight I ventured up to my rooftop deck to water my plants-BTW if all these flowers are going to become cucumbers, I’ll be eating cukes until they come out of my ears.  And while it had only dropped into the mid 80’s, the humidity had dissipated and the wind had picked up.  As a result, it was unbelievably pleasant up there.  I brought my book up and read for while and then as the sun went down, plugged in the icicle lights that encircle my deck.  It’d been a long time since I’d done that so only about 30% were working.  I spent the next hour checking each strand and replacing bulbs, replacing strands that were beyond repair and reconfiguring the remaining ones.  Once finished, my deck was glowing quite nicely.  It was too dark to read so I brought up my laptop to see if my wi-fi reach this far.  I’ll be dog-goned if it didn’t.  I spent the few hours surfing and writing and listening to life in my neighborhood.  It even got chilly and I had to put on a sweater (see reference above).

It sounds silly to get jazzed about sitting outside but I’m not used to this kind of heat.  It really impacts my enjoyment of the wonderfulness that is Chicago in the summer.  I’ll make a deal with you Mother Nature, if you insist on pushing the mercury above 90 during the day, please provide me with nights like tonight.  They are truly magical.

The year without a summer

It’s cold here.  Not cool, we went right to cold-with a wind chill thank you very much.  We really didn’t have a summer and that’s a stinker.  Here in the upper Midwest, we live for our summer because the winters are so blasted awful the thought of warmth is the only thing that keeps us going through the long, cold, dark days.  Every year about this time I plant approximately 800 tulips in my front yard and plan them for early, mid and late spring blooming.  That way I have color for about 6 weeks.  There have been years I’ve almost waited too long to plant and thought about blowing them off but then I remembered how much seeing their little leaves poking through the snowy frozen ground lifted my spirits each spring.   Out came the shovel and the bulbs, sometimes getting the job done in the dark.  It’s a big job but the payoff is so worth it.

The summer is our long thank you from Mother Nature for putting up with the cold grey skies for what seems to be endless months.  There’s a trade off, if the sky is clear blue and the sun is beautiful, you know the temp is most likely in the single digits.  If it warms up to the upper 20’s-low 30’s bye-bye sun, hello lake induced low cloud cover.  So we wait in anticipation for the weather to break and the 15 pounds of additional clothing to be cast aside.  I live behind a grocery store and one of my past times is seeing when the first pair of shorts and flip flops will appear in the parking lot.  It’s pretty much guaranteed to happen if we get a sunny day in the mid 40’s.

But this year, no summer.  When I drove through the South I got a big dose of the heat, temps in the upper 90’s with matching humidity, and it followed me north for a few days.  We did have a heat spurt in mid June for about 5 days but then nada.  July and August were below average in temps and above average in rain.  Nice.  It’s been cool and humid for about a month now and my hair is over all this foolishness.  And now we get to deal with the ever darkening days.  It’s enough to send a body into decline.  I used to laugh that Chicago winters weed out the faint of heart.  I just hope this poor heart can take 8 months of yuck.