My summer in review

3 Sep

In a word:  It was hot.

In May I experienced my first tornado working at the mall.  It’s very exciting to watch the cloudy sky go green…through a two-story glass ceiling because we wouldn’t all fit in the small exit hallways.  Once the first tornado had passed, we made our way down into the basement and found a chair, but no internet or bars on the phone because the lines were either overloaded or impossible to obtain through cement walls.  Tornadoes never usually bother me, but being so totally unconnected to what was going on out there undid me.  I’d like to sign up to not do that again, please.

I also pushed the “delete” button on a Facebook friend for the first time ever.  It was a terrible ordeal for me for several reasons, but it gave me the opportunity to get crystal clear about some things:  Friendship is important, but there is so much more to it than what one person thinks they want from the relationship.  And friendship is not a license to abuse friends publicly or privately.  And abuse will not be tolerated.  That is all.

With summer approaching rapidly, I also started setting writing goals and planning a big L.A. reunion trip.  My writing goals may have flopped, but my trip did not.

So, I’m sitting on a comfy sofa in cool L.A. playing with my iPhone app to see what the weather’s going to do that day, when I see what’s going on in OKC.  101 or something.  You’ve gotta be kidding — it’s only June.  I laugh.  I get a vacation, and they get the heat.  By the time I get home it’ll be over.  Ha!  Mother Nature was only just turning on the furnace.

I came home to demolished bushes, lopsided trees and dead ground cover.  The power company had sent around a crew to trim the trees from the power lines, but as usual, they were certifiably overzealous.  Two bushes razed to the ground, my trees cut in a way that the next ice storm will most certainly take them out (at my expense), and my lovely ground cover dead from removal of all their shade in the record heat streak.  Safe to say I was a little hot under the collar.  Ahem.

Before I left for L.A. I’d also started making plans to get out on the road and see some of Oklahoma, but it was too hot to even consider travel at night.  My car never cooled off from my trips to and from work each day.  Well, as Pollyanna would say, I get to be Glad that my plans for next summer are already made.

While attempting to distract myself from the heat, I made my very first buttercream frosting with great success.  I accidentally stumbled across the best black bean hummus recipe ever and invented Dragon Turds to enjoy as a special Harry Potter moviewatching snack.  I also enjoyed a rare breakfast date with my baby bro (Johnnies Caesar burger and Transformers 3, woo-hoo!), created a new reality show (every time a meteorologist says a temp over 99, Trump says “You’re fired!” and then they hire Sir August de Wynter), reread “The Chronicles of Narnia” books, and survived Oklahoma Tax Free Weekend.

I did see a few movies, but it really was too hot to do that, either.  It was too hot to walk into my garage to get into my car.  By the time the a/c would get going on the road, I’d already melted like an ice cream cone on the face of the sun.  At this point, my own personal prayer vigils began for the elderly and pets and farmers.  Those with broken home a/c’s are considered more destitute than Katrina refugees and hurriedly bundled off to the home of a relative or neighbor.

Life under the Heat Dome really is that unbearable.  The record for days over 100 in Oklahoma was 50, and we were already sitting at 30+ in mid-July.  A normal summer we only get 10.  We usually have non-stop wind, but there was NONE.  We stopped using our kitchens and started using our sidewalks and porches to fry up breakfast.  I jest, but we’re not allowed to cook outside for fear of burning down the State.  Grass fires are serious emergencies.  To make things worse, heat is used as an excuse to act like you were raised by wolves.  After so many days of it, I get to the point where I begin to lose hope that it will ever get cold again.  I feel like Frodo on top of Mount Doom — someone says the word “December” but I cannot remember what snow looks or feels like.  If I see one more story on the news about crop loss or water shortage, I will not be held responsible for my actions.  During this time I spend a lot of time trying to remember why we live here.  And tweeting the misery for all to share.

Then there was a miracle.  The heat ended with sacred rain.  It’s like every prayer was answered.  Seriously and undeservedly answered…and all at once.  It didn’t just spit at us for a few hours — it rained heavily, and several times within a week.  The rain made it steamy but far more bearable.  The heat crept all the way back in again — but for a short while it felt less like hell and more like there is hope that someday, maybe, fall will come.

Weather is not the most interesting topic in the world, but I consider it a sign of my ever-growing age how important it’s becoming to me.  As the years go by, the more the extreme winters and summers are getting under my skin.  It’s getting to the point that on the wrong days, it makes me start climbing the walls.  What is it Holly Golightly calls it?  The mean reds?  That’s it.

Speaking of age, I have this terrible habit of ending the summer with getting another year older.  I don’t mind, really.  It’s hard to mind when you’re surrounded with loving, lovely people for friends and co-workers and family.  Celebrating it is not something that’s particularly important to me…maybe it’s because I think it’s so important to celebrate everything.  (I mean, seriously, who celebrates Guacamole Day?)  Someone wished me a regretful belated birthday, and all I could do was smile.  What’s the big deal?  I’m only turning 29 again.

My mom did make one of my summer wishes come true.  On my birthday, after I spent the morning twirling in my kitchen to the Bangles station on my Pandora, she went on a mini-road trip with me to visit the town of Stratford, Oklahoma, and sample their legendary peaches.  Holy peach tree, Batman.  I will never buy another Walmart peach again.  There’s a reason they’re legendary.  We may have missed the annual festival, but that’s at the top of the list for next year.  If you ever come to Oklahoma, you MUST have a Stratford peach.

I share my birth month with two of my nieces, who are two of the best gifts anyone could ask for.  And so my summer ends with a family gathering — ornery uncles tossing kids in the swimming pool, the aroma of SPF 55, homemade brisket, potatoes smothered in Daisy sour cream, fresh-shucked green beans, margaritas stiff enough to make a horseshoe stand up, children with chocolate covered faces, Braum’s Amaretto Peach Charlotte ice cream, and chocolate cake with flower candles.  My candle was green.  It’s not fair to the girls that I would have soooooo many more candles than them, so I graciously offer to just take one instead.  Generosity is important, kids.

Lord, be generous to us and send the Fall.  Amen.

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