Summer is for Sadists.

At least that’s the way I see it.

I despise summer. I despise winter too for the most part, but winter brings Christmas, the first snowfall, the first blizzard(if you’re lucky, or not so lucky like those stranded by the one 18 months ago here in Chicago-Personally I was prepared and liked being stuck in the house for a couple of days), the first time ice skating with your kids(wait, I take that back. I don’t take my kids ice skating. I have the balance of a drunken frog). And in winter you can bundle up in layers and look good doing it. Oh, and you get to wear boots! I LOVE boots.

I used to wear boots in the summer when I was stupid and in my mid 20’s. Then someone I worked with pointed out to me that I’m going to end up with heat stroke, I laughed and called them silly, then I ended up drained one day and realized they may not have been that far off from the truth.

I didn’t always hate summer.

As a kid I was typical: Spent the summer at the pool, on my bike, at the park, and catching fireflies.  4th of July. I loved the 4th, I still do. When I was a kid my dad & brother would put on these amazing fireworks shows in our yard. Half the neighborhood would show up. The local police were so used to it they stopped fighting it and would show up to watch. Summer was fantastic. It was  a break from the monotony of being stuck inside of a school day in and day out with kids who hate you. It meant vacations with the family, lazy days sitting on my porch with a book(yeah I was that kid most of the time).

Then one summer it all turned sour. I’m not going into too many details on this one because frankly, they’re hazy. I do know that it was 4th of July, I was 11 and going into 5th grade.  We had company and my mom was spooning baked beans and something else onto my plate and onto the plates of the other kids at my table. She said something to me to the effect of “don’t you miss your father?”. I asked ” Is he on another business trip?”. Apparently that was the wrong question.  They had separated a couple of weeks prior, he had moved out a couple of weeks before. Only I didn’t realize that.

Now before I continue and before my father(and other family who are reading this right now) get upset, I have a weird recollection of my childhood and I know my dad traveled a lot. And maybe it was just that my parents  were really good at keeping their problems hidden from us younger two, but I must have missed the memo, they left me out of this decision to go their separate ways.

Summers after that were hit or miss.

The good ones were when Dad took me, sister, younger brother and my best friend Tracy to Elkhart Lake, Wisconsin. There was a place up there we went to almost every summer. Siebkens. Usually his then best friend B and his daughter accompanied us. Those car rides introduced my 12 yr old self to Rickie Lee Jones, ZZ Top and Todd Rundgren. Two out of the three remain musical/personal heroes of mine.

I still remain so incredibly fond of those trips, I remember all the freedom we had to roam all over the grounds of the hotel and lake. Swimming in the lake and B teasing me senseless that he was going to get Tommy Shaw of Styx to call me(he was the business manager of JY Young at the time so he could have, but he didn’t).

Over the years as a teen things weren’t always so happy. I retreated to my books and ventured out only because Tracey made me.

My brothers took to calling me “vampiress” because I hated the sun. Now this early hatred has benefited me greatly due to the fact that people think I’m at least ten yrs younger than I am. However at the time I just didn’t care to bake myself into oblivion.

Later over the years I didn’t think about it one way or another, I was too busy working and then raising a family.

Then one day I discovered a major reason as to why I hated summer: Bugs. Yes, bugs.

Ants. Centipedes. Wasps. Bees. Earwigs. Need I say more? I’m sure some of you out there may be squeamish by now.

When Charlie’s dad and I moved to this little house in Midland, Michigan we sadly discovered that the town was overrun by earwigs in late spring and summer. We found out just how bad the hard way when he left us in Chicago for a visit, arrived back home and opened the refrigerator. I remember the phone call of him screaming because about a hundred of them came flying out of there. Needless to say we found the best ways to prevent them the next summer, but it still left an indelible mark on me. I will recoil when I see one.

My other bug enemy: Ants. I experienced a childhood trauma that involved getting covered with ants from the neck down that still haunts me to this day. When we moved into this current house we discovered they liked to visit in the summer. Orkin is now on my speed dial. I have been known to cry hysterically if invaded. And I am SO not kidding about this. Thankfully my orkin man was briefed on my previous terrorization by them so he is super kind and tries to head them off at the pass at the beginning of summer.

My newest enemy are those nasty bastards that go by the name Wasps. With that name you would think they would be serving you brie and champagne, not holding you hostage in your house for three months.

After one summer of them dive bombing us every time we went into our backyard, Josh cut down all the gardens, especially the vegetable garden. It improved slightly last summer but still something was wrong. So this  summer I told him to be merciless. I felt awful about it, granted we didn’t plant the flowers, the previous residents had planted them, we just watch them grow every summer. But my kids can’t even go out back without screaming in fear because a wasp(or four) is chasing them. So I gave the whacking orders. 90% percent of all things that grow out back needed to be taken down.

Needless to say this has left me with a feeling of dread every time this season comes about.

The heat had been unbearable for most of this season. By the time I’m finishing this story it’s a balmy 75 here in Chicago. Needless to say I’m a very happy human being.

My ant problem was nothing this summer thanks to the wonderful foresight of Orkin dude. I thank you. No, I salute you!

Granted the wasps still make their way in here once in a while but at least you have assured me that they are only getting in due to the fact that my kids keep leaving the door open.

Right now I just want to deal with very bored kids. Thankfully school resumes this week. Thank you bizarre school district!

Summer is ending and a part of me would like to part with it with a fabulous memory. I can’t say I will. There are good things that happened(the mountains, my kids growing, my writing) but I would love to move onward into the fall. I love everything about fall.

And that will be another post, for another day.

J

 

 

 

 

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