Archive for the ‘summer’ Category

Thirteen Things about just making it up

WordPress hates me and ate my post again, this time the 13 good things about not having air conditioning*, which I wrote to make me feel better as the sweat trickles down … well, you know.

1. My feet never get cold.
2. I never miss the smell of fresh air.
3. I get to sleep in the warm air with the fan blowing on me, which I love, without J complaining that it is inefficient to open the windows at night and let out all the canned air, as I do when our air conditioning works.”
4. I’m saving money.
5. I can feel virtuous about using less energy as well.
6. I have an excuse not to cook, as it will heat up the kitchen too much.
7. When it gets really hot, I can use it as an excuse not to do any housework at all.
8. It is also a good excuse for ice cream. (Like I need an excuse!)
9. The kids have no reason to hide out inside and so they go out and play in the little backyard pool instead.
10. When it gets really bad, I have to take them to the water park, where I cannot work and am forced to just read a book instead.
11. It’s good for getting sympathy from friends.
12. Sometimes that sympathy translates into invitations to their house and occasionally, a pool is involved (although that has yet to happen this year).
13. The last time I wrote this out, I had 13 things. Stupid WordPress. When I remember what the last one was, I’ll stick it in here, I swear.

It did it again! It ate the whole thing! But this time, I was smart and I copied it first! Ha! Take that, Worpress!
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but not in the good way.

I think as long as this hideous heat wave continues, I will have to use ‘hot’ in the title.

I used to love hot and humid weather and now I hate it. Two reasons, I think. One, it is hotter more than it used to be – the world is going to hell in a hand-basket – and two, I am no longer a student whose job it is to sit around and read or write. As long as I don’t move, I’m fine, but my children complain when I never move, and groceries don’t get done and laundry piles up.

Worse, now when it is really humid, I have trouble breathing. This started a couple of years ago and earned me a battery of tests (its always something – have I mentioned that?) and the conclusion is: it doesn’t exist. They can find nothing. Once, I had it for a couple of days and my brother, who managed a medical clinic, became completely freaked out and begged me to let him take me to the ER to be double-checked. He managed to make me a little nervous so I finally agreed. I hadn’t been nervous up to that point, as we were going on the assumption that it was a little asthma thing.

When I finally saw a doctor, he told me that it was anxiety. He asked me no questions, but when the asthma test came back negative, he leapt quickly to that conclusion. I said, with no sarcasm intended at all, “Really? I didn’t know you could have an anxiety attack if you weren’t anxious about anything.” But hey, he’s the doc. He gave me Ativan. Ever taken that? It makes everything fine. I liked it. Unfortunately, the breathing thing didn’t improve one bit.

My brother and I chatted about how ironic it was that when he was feeling all anxious about life, he went to the doctor and the doctor basically told him to suck it up and be a man, but when I went to the doctor with an actual physical problem, they just wrote it off as anxiety and sent me home. The fact that the Ativan had no effect didn’t change his opinion at all.

That is the good thing about blogs – you can just ramble on about shit and no one can say, “You told us that story before!” Well, you can, but in this case I haven’t.

So my point is, hot and humid sucks. Cold and frigid sucks to. Why am I living here?

Did I mention our air conditioning is broken?

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I took poor hot Jasper out for a walk this morning. He thought that was a good idea, until we hit the wall of humidity outside. (Our air conditioner is not working, but it is still a lot cooler inside than out.) We made it to the bottom of the driveway and he stopped. I convinced him to move forward about four more steps, then he sat down. I waited. Then he lay down on the street and put his head on his paws, making it clear that he didn’t care what I thought, he wasn’t moving.

I dropped the leash and headed off down the road. I needed to get the mail and I was going with or without him. It was my bet that he’d panic, just like a small child, when I made it a certain distance away from him and clearly wasn’t returning, but he might have just called my bluff and just gone back to the house to wait for me. I took the chance. Sure enough, about 4 houses away I heard the pitter patter of big feet coming up behind me.

The nice thing about pulling this move on a dog is that he didn’t throw a tantrum afterwards and yell, “You left me!”

Despite how much I love his fluffy stuffed-animal look, I’ve made an appointment for Thursday to get him shorn. He’s just too hot, poor bugger, wearing that big fur coat.

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Finally, the promised pictures from our first beach visit of the summer. The kids have never swum so early.

Jasper loved the water, but refused to actually go so deep that his feet left the ground. I missed the photos of him at his wettest. He looked like those games little kids have, where you can mix and match the tops and bottoms of people. He was two entirely different dogs from top of his legs up and the top of his legs down.

Here’s one of Asher trying to convince Jasper to go deeper by throwing sticks he was chewing on. Jasper isn’t into fetching at the best of times, and his response was usually one of: Hey, look where my stick is. Huh. Occasionally he went after it, but once he realized it was over his head, he bailed.


This is the best half-wet/half-dry shot I have of Jasper, with his skinny legs.


Here’s a happy dog, digging a big hole in the sand:


I saved this for the last beach shot because it appears to me to be an idyllic scene – a boy and his dog, hunting tadpoles:


Here’s another idyllic shot. I created a large treasure hunt, which I love to do (with clues like ‘This clue is in the male cow’s eye” or “hurry before this clue is wiped away” or “This clue stinks” (bulls-eye on the dart board, windshield wiper on the car, in the garbage)). I lead them from the beach to the house, all around the house and then out to the back tree house J made with his brother. This is them puzzling out the last clue, which led them to a box buried by leaves behind a dead tree and filled with chocolate gold coins. (“North, south, east, west/ Look at all you see/ It isn’t X that marks the spot/ But rather a dead tree.”) By happy coincidence, when they split up to examine all the dead trees visible from the tree house, Maya got the one with the treasure, a birthday bonus.


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These were our season firsts for today:

Open windows.
The first flower poked out from under the dead leaves.
No need to wipe slush or mud of the dog’s paws after a walk.
Bought popsicles and, two seconds after handing them to my kids, 5 other kids showed up at the door.
Ate dinner outside.
Ending the day with kids with dirty faces, hands and feet.



The nice weather takes a bit of the sting of the fact that J is off to Israel for 10 days without me. I went with him last year at this time and decided there is no place I’d rather be than Israel in the spring. It was so beautiful and lush. Everything smelled so good. It just added a whole new dimension to a country I already love for so many other reasons, and it kills me there he gets to be there and I don’t. I actually feel a yearning in my chest to be there. I miss it, possibly in a way only Jew who doesn’t live there can.

(this is me at the Southern Wall with my rabbi, reading from the Torah for the first time)


I am looking forward to a lovely weekend, though. Maya is at a friend’s cottage for the weekend and I always find that when you take one child out of the equation, the other two are much easier to deal with. It isn’t just that I find it less difficult, but they are actually better behaved. Less fighting. It doesn’t matter which kid you remove, the effect is the same. I totally don’t get that. I am sure in families with only two siblings those children fight as much as my kids do, but reduce mine to two and they don’t fight.

So it was a very peaceful evening, except for Asher’s nightly tears over the loss of his best friend. When he was four years old and in junior kindergarten, a little boy arrived from Israel with his family. Of course, he didn’t speak a word of English and worse, he had a very difficult time learning. He is just one of those people to whom languages do not come easily, because even now, four years later, he has a wicked Hebrew accent and his English isn’t great.

Anyway, we only heard a little about him from Asher, who said told us about the kid and that he was making friends with him despite the language barrier. Only at parent-teacher interviews did I get the whole story, which was that other kids were ignoring and sometimes teasing this little guy, but Asher decided to take a different route and set out to make friends, communicating in sign language, determinedly teaching the boy English and quickly learning useful Hebrew phrases (“Don’t go there,” “Come here,” “Take this,”) to communicate with him.

Their Hebrew teacher told me at the time, “To tell you the truth, I didn’t think Asher stood out much at the beginning of the year. He was just an average little boy, part of the crowd, but I want you to know that the way your son has treated T has been remarkable. He is a kind and gentle soul, and mature beyond his years.” I practically burst with pride.

T’s family clearly felt the same way, embarrassing us with the extravagance of the gifts they give Asher each year at his birthday and Hanukkah. They credit him with teaching their son English, which seems extreme, but they do.

The truth is, the kid is annoying as all get-out. He’s wild and out-of-control. He is utterly undisciplined, destructive and irritating. But he listens to my son. At Hanukkah that first year, we had his family over for a party and he rampaged through our house, driving the other kids nuts until Asher barked out a command in Hebrew, then he’d stop whatever he was doing and run right over.

Now their time here has come to an end and they are returning home. And my son is heartbroken. Not only is he losing his best friend but, he admitted to me, T is the only boy in the class who he feels is as ‘dumb’ as he is. Clearly also ADD, as well as hyperactive, T sits at the teacher’s other side during class work and while he is way worse off than Asher, Asher sees a kindred spirit and is now being left with a group of high achievers and no one like him. He is fine during the day, but he cries himself to sleep every night.

They are leaving in a month. It is going to be a long month.


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