Thursday, August 27, 2009

Dog Days

As I type these words it's 106 degrees outside our home and not yet 1:00PM.

Dog days, huh? Does that make any sense?

Well, yes, now that you mention it. Having nothing more to do than busy my mind in front of a whirling fan blade I decided to look it up.

The Ancient Romans called it, caniculares dies, (days of the dogs.) It arose from the notion that Sirius, the dog star, was angry this time of year and caused the Earth to get very hot. To appease the star's rage the Romans sacrificed a brown dog at the beginning of Dog Days.

No, I don't know why it had to be a brown dog.

The Romans, of course, thought nothing of committing carnage upon any creature that moved if it might be even remotely possible that a good screeching, bloody sacrifice would serve some useful or noble purpose.

This is why the Greeks were the brains of the outfit.

Sunday, August 23, 2009

Apples and oranges

It is August in the San Gabriel Valley and though we haven't had a day that hit one hundred degrees recently it has been in the nineties and the past couple of days have been Deep South humid.

Two days ago the air conditioner in our house stopped working. The diagnosis is not good: dead compressor. We're looking at a large fix-it bill we can't afford and it will probably be several more days before the fix is done.

I don't like to complain for the sake of complaining and yet I do it. I think most of us do it because it must be human nature, which is a perfectly fine excuse for fishing for sympathy. But you know what drives me nuts? When I say something that evokes an apples-and-oranges response.

"Boy, it's hot. I can't wait for the AC to be working again," I might say.

"When this house was built nobody had air conditioning," is the likely reply. Or:

"When we were little we didn't have air conditioning, just those awful swamp coolers."

Both of the responses are true, but so what? How does that help? We didn't have AC when I was a kid and I'm sure I was uncomfortably hot. What has that got to do with the heat of now?

When our house was built in 1903 not only did they not have air conditioning, they didn't even have swamp coolers. And, people dressed in multiple layers from throat to toe! I know this and I am grateful to be living now rather than then.

But dammit, I'm still sweating and unhappy about it!

And now, even I have no response for that.

Sunday, August 16, 2009

The Boy in the Bubble (wrap)

"Isaiah," I called across the yard, "please pick up that empty box and take it to the trash cans."

It's grandpa and grandson clean-up-the-back-yard-day on an unusually cool and pleasant Sunday morning in August.

I was scrubbing the barbecue pad and smoker oven as I watched him run to the box.

"Grandpa," he called from the patio. "Can I make a club house in the box?"

The auto-dad in me started running my mental computer through all the reasons I
should say no.

He wasn't doing what I told him.

I don't have all day.

It's just a crummy little box, not even big enough to play in properly.

Grandpa didn't hesitate.


Within ten or fifteen minutes he had wrung all the fun out of that stupid box and threw it away where I had asked him.

We're going to fix lunch now.