Wednesday, December 31, 2008

Blue House.

Windy, shining, cloudless. Cold night coming on. Well colder now than when I got up, than when I sat on the front porch with the dog. New blue house. Siting the rain gauge later on today. Packed up the thermometer from the old house yesterday. Getting settled in. Out with the old. In with the old, too. Happy new year. Last year's rain stats and affiliated weather wrapup coming soon. We'll get to that. We will. For now, though, happy new year one and all.

Sunday, December 28, 2008

Farewell, 1303.

Boxes in the dining room and living room, empty walls, all the kitchen wrapped and packed save for two of everything: two spoons, two coffee cups, two salad plates. The Noah's Arking was AMR's excellent plan.

A gray last day, rain coming, riding in along a big front that brought southern thunderstorms elsewhere but promises only fog and showers for us, and all this ahead of a clearing and cooling forecast for the week upcoming — a hyper-traditional North Carolina winter weather pattern.

Sound of wrens in the forsythia along the fence with Phil. The goddamned beagles barking overnight. Crows in the Chinese firs out front and in the big pines and maples in the yards surrounding. View of the back yard from the tiny kitchen window. Wet driveway, wet street. The way the rooms on this side of the house hang onto their darkness on days like this. This chair in this room. The giant front porch. The shed, the shed. Last night I went out there and packed the novel. Wrote 'NOVEL' on it. Then I wrote 'LAUNDRY ROOM.' I'm headed for temporary housing, but I'll be right next to the coffee maker, assuming we can find it after the move. There are worse places to be. That little kitchened room and the prospect of coffee on the new front porch on Tuesday morning has me feeling not so much melancholy about all this as nostalgic — it's not as hard to leave this place as it is strange, like wearing all new clothes or tasting some ingredient you can't quite place.

Light's changing out there, like it's either getting ready to rain, or we're going to have the sun break through a little bit. The gray's yellowing up from underneath. NOAA gives us a 90% shot at rain this afternoon. I'll give us the other ten. This is ANYLF, reporting live from 1303 North Elam. Back to you, friends and fans of weather, in the studio.

Friday, December 26, 2008

Back Home.

Three-quarters of an inch of rain while we were gone. So, so good to be back, even if it does mean seven hundred boxes to be packed. We move in three days. ANYLF shifts zips. What box does the rain gauge go in? How many things to take with us? What gets left behind for staging?

We're supposed to sign another offer on 1303 tomorrow. We shall see, I guess. Looks like chilly rain through the weekend. Keep it tuned right here for all the very latest. Hey, new front porch. Hey, packing tape. Hey, coming back from whatever that was to move into whatever this is going to be. Hey, midrange winter. That bitter, bitter cold is not in the ten-day. Good enough. Good enough, good enough.

Monday, December 22, 2008

Arctic High.

Please do not panic, please, but damn, friends and fans of onrushing winter, it's cold. It was well colder overnight than the 21 degrees they wanted — at 9 this morning it was 17, and the sun had been up a while. The pansies look cooked. Or, well, frozen. They'll bounce back, but they're not doing us any favors curb-appeal-wise. We need a gardener to buy this place anyway, though, and a gardener will know what's what. A gardener will know it's cold.

I keep thinking hard about place, about Michael Pollan's 'hut dream,' though of course it's not his. He talks circles around it in his fantastic book 'A Place of My Own,' now being reissued by Penguin, since he's gone and become all famous and whatnot. The long made short: He builds a writing shed, and meditates a few hundred pages on place and what it means. His version of the hut dream: some of us never escape or outgrow the desperate desire to sling a bedsheet over the kitchen table, to make a hut, to wall off the world, to then make the resultant interior space our own. I'm ready for the new place — ready for its as-if-for-me-made front porch and its perfect back deck tacked on like some prize we've won, ready for its staircase, ready for its uneven upstairs floors, ready to plant another yard all over again, ready to build a new writing shed of my own out back of all of that. But this hut here at 1303: I've liked it. I have, I have. I still very much do.

Do not despair. Temps will moderate through midweek, and even when we come back cold again by the weekend and early next week it won't be this cold. An important disclaimer, however: We are fast approaching the time of year when week-out forecasts might not mean much: something gets jiggled coming down out of Canada and across the mountains and we get three-quarters of an inch of ice instead of mid-fifties and showers. So pay attention, then, out there, OK? Safety first. After that, mead.

Sunday, December 21, 2008

Solstice, Again.

Things noticed here at 27408/1303: Daffodils coming up in the little garden under the Japanese magnolia. Historically early, but locally right on time, or thereabouts. Maybe even a little late. Thanks, frigid November. Pansies looking very, very good. Watered, even. The rainfall totals are almost up to snuff for the month, and we've got ten days yet to go. Grass just barely starting to green over. A tiny bit of heat in that wintered early-morning sun. Oh, yeah: sun. Real sun, with blue sky like it might last. We had sun on Friday, yes and OK, but there were all these high thin shields of clouds skimming by that made you know we weren't out of it. This, though, is the kind of sky that says the front's pulled through, that says we're back to cold, cold nights, if not cold days, too. First day of winter. Cold again. Fact remains: you can feel us making the turn all the same.

It's the solstice, friends and fans of grand millennia-old paganizing, of knowing when in fact we've bottomed out and started back towards the other side. The start of winter, in these parts, anyway, really means the start of spring, because from here forward not that many more things die off. From here forward, things start coming back in. This is about as brown and gray as we ever get, save for the half-weeks and weeks of January and February coming that will look like last week, but colder. Give us a snow or two, please, for variety. Give us maybe a good sleet, a glazing of ice on the porch railings, a slick driveway. Give us a day or two off from work. Give us, though, above all else, the slow return to longer days, the promise of evenings taking place in the actual evening.

Friday, December 19, 2008

Mid-Sixties.

And sun. And wind. Heavy, heavy fog overnight, and a morning that had no temperature, really, no anything, not even any real light, but then around midday the fog and cloud burned off, or tried to, and we had a shirtsleeves sort of afternoon, a windows down situation. You come in the front door and the it's colder inside the house than out. That sort of day.

Books ordered and shipped all over the country. Crappy wrapping paper on the dining room table. Cookie recipes in the offing. I may be warming to all this bullshit after all. Ho, ho, ho.

Rain again tomorrow into Sunday. Cold again early week. Milder after that. Just get all the clothes you have out. That way you'll probably be ready.

Thursday, December 18, 2008

Egg Nog.

It has been a time, it seems like, since we have seen the sun. Today's overcast was more like smoke than cloud, or like you could almost just take a corner of your shirt and wipe everything clear again. No such luck. Cool and damp white-gray out there before sunset. Cool and damp and dark now. The short days, as much as I've always liked them, are starting to snag at me some.

Head back in the book today, if briefly, and even that small moment feels better. Christmas out there on the near horizon, though, and that feels like one too many things. But old acquaintance TLK calls from dry land with an invitation for egg nog this evening, and the TLK egg nog is frankly something to behold, a kind of Christmas miracle in its own soused right, so let's us raise a cup of cheer to a holiday season I almost forgot to see coming, or still can't quite see. Maybe the nog will rub things clean, or cleaner. We'll drink a cup of kindness yet. We will.

Wednesday, December 17, 2008

Precipitating Fog.

At least that's what the crack team here at ANYLF is calling whatever it is that we've been getting since well before dawn. I don't even know if we've really seen anything measurable since about noon -- when I dumped a quarter-inch out of the rain gauge from all of yesterday's spitting -- but the streets are wet, and the porch was wet when I took out just now, sprinting past yet one more agent: here's hoping, friends and fans of home ownership, and, why not, of precipitating fog.

I'm going to have to propose a moratorium on all Xmas music recorded post-1970 by any star of any caliber, save for John Lennon's 'Happy Christmas (War Is Over),' and that one only once a day. Or we could do it like parking in Boston: Alternate side parking, even days of the week. Something like that. In other Fascinating Things About Boston News, in Boston, people will shovel out a parking space and mark it with a trash can, a traffic cone, a lawn chair. Exceedingly bad form to park in a space somebody else has shoveled and claimed. In other Exceedingly Bad Form News, I'm afraid we can't even have any other Beatles any more: no 'Wonderful Christmas Time' under any circumstance, please.

I've been in a lot of caffeinated-beverage shops of late. 'Tis not the season to hear the chain coffee radio Xmas loop.

Here: I'll make a lone exception: Let it snow, and you can play whatever you like.

For now, in the fog, John Lennon, please, and only very, very judiciously.

Tuesday, December 16, 2008

Little Rain.

We missed yesterday, friends and fans of weather, so a brief recap: It was warm and windy and overcast and sort of abidingly humid. Today it's cooler, and we've got actual rain to go with it, instead of just the smell of rain. I'd still have to say we're having springlike conditions, however, even if we are now more sort of tearing a page out of March instead of April or May. We're having all the months here in December so far. What's left, I guess, is a long sunny September afternoon. Maybe we'll get that on Christmas day.

Life at 1303 is feeling a little harried. We're showing the house almost every day. No offers yet. We need someone who really, really likes built-in shelves. Come on, people with books. Or maybe people with a kid who has 7 trillion Hot Wheels, all of them in want of display. Open floor plan. That's what we've got. We need people who won't mind seeing each other.

This little burst of rain is about the only thing that's going on this far south (of this part of this storm; more back towards Atlanta and Montgomery). Just the tail of an outlying front dragging itself through the Piedmont. I like it. I feel chosen. Good for the pansies. Good for a long morning full of coffee. Probably time to stop looking out the window, though. Probably time to get back to work.

Sunday, December 14, 2008

Security Blanket.

It's gray and cool, but I wouldn't say it's gray and cold. If you left the house without a coat you'd be OK. If you cleared out in twenty minutes after the real estate fancies called and said, Can we show your house in twenty minutes? and you left without a hat, you'd be sad, but OK. When I was a kid I carried a knit monkey with me everywhere. Everywhere. I'm no different now. It's just that it's fleece hats now. I'm half the man I used to be without my hat.

Little drizzle coming down here at the Friendly Center. ANYLF is reporting live from one of them chain-type coffee shops. There's a sort of studious misery on display in here. A beany, sad, flashcard-making desperation at work. Kneebone connected to the. That kind of thing. Gotta study. Gotta memorize. Gotta order a Campfire Mocha. Or a Hot Apple Blast. Or, God save you, a cup of coffee.

Friday, December 12, 2008

Full Moon.

That storm blew itself apart right around sunset last night. It was raining and blowing hard and I was driving down Battleground and out west you could see a small hole through which there was the sunset— we picked up another half-inch overnight from the back half of the storm, and this morning dawned cool and largely cloudless and we're back already at the pattern we've had these past few weeks, cold and dry and cold and dry. The moon tonight is as close as it will be all year. It was huge and perfect coming up in the east this evening. High tides, coastal friends and fans of lunar cycles. We had a spectacular fall. We seem to be having a damn fine winter so far, too. We do like ourselves some seasons over here at ANYLF.

Thursday, December 11, 2008

Huge Storm.


How high's the water, Mama? Y'all have a look at this thing: one of the largest storms we've seen in the brief yearish history of ANYLF, one that's supposed to put down better than a foot of snow from Binghamton northward through Maine, and one that snowed several inches in and north of New Orleans, Louisiana. Here it's not so exciting as all that, though we're sporting May-like temperatures and May-like rainfall, an inch and a half so far and maybe another inch on the way, depending upon how long all this holds together. We have not had the severe storms here that the fancies wanted to give us a fair shot at through midday, but we have seen a damn lot of rain. Just trekked out through the back yard, and from the feel of things, the ground's about as full as it can get, so much more of this and I'd say we'd see ye olde low-lying areas up on the crawl of the local weather report of your choice. Streams and creeks. We're working on a very local flood here at 1303 as the water backs up behind our piles of leaves out in the street: sorry, passers-by. I mistimed LeafTruck 08 by a few days.

The porch lamp's been on all day. The kitchen-windowed Christmas cactus is about to bloom. A few crows are set up in the side yard, complaining. It's going to be hard to learn how the light works at the new place. I've only just now got it figured out here.

Wednesday, December 10, 2008

Damned Humid.

It's all warm and busted out there and big rain's coming overnight to the tune of an inch or more, say the NOAA fancies, and everything's wet, everything, even the inside of my skull, because we don't see humidity like this all the time, and when we do, we apparently like to make something of a show out of it, and all the books are swelling, and even the cookies on the buffet at the terrible, terrible thing to which I was somehow committed at midday got sort of staled and sogged such that even though I was hating my commitment to the thing, I was enjoying the fact that the cookies were registering complaint, too, and all I know is that it's a damn good thing it's supposed to go back to forties and twenties by Thursday night or Friday, because if something like this held on much longer, well, the cherry trees would start blooming or something. Daffodils. Crocus, for sure. But we'll freeze those bastards right back down. Wait your turn.

They're playing Silver Bells in the Harris Teeter. Often enough at this time of year I like that fine, but last night while I was trying to buy a box of rice all I really wanted to hear was Simply Red or whatever the hell other shite they generally play while persons are attempting to buy grains.

If it's not raining where you are, then walk the dog right now. Last chance for a while, unless you're a better dog dad than I am.

Tuesday, December 9, 2008

Sixty Degrees.

It's sixty. Right now. Nearing midnight, in December, on the heels of a string of forty-degree days so long I don't really remember how to behave when it's as warm as it is now, which is to say that earlier, during dinner, we had the doors open. It is, in common parlance, fixing to rain. It's even raining a little already, has been, a wind-blown drizzle coming out of the south, mainly, and of course also a wee bit out of the west. Hey, southern winter storm. Hey, big rain. You will, I think, friends and fans of weather, want the umbrellas, the rain boots, the shitty jeans. But let's us not use any more commas tonight. Let's us instead crack the windows open and go to bed and wait for the rain. Let's us remember what it sounds like when there aren't any leaves for the rain to tick down onto. Onto which to tick down. We'll get this right eventually, I'm sure.

Monday, December 8, 2008

Rain Coming.


That's the five-day QPF. Even if they've got it a little wrong, it does seem as though the new pansies — I know it's late, too late, even, but I needed some kind of return to something on Sunday — will get good and watered in. So will, it seems, everything else. The rusting truck. The piles of leaves. The cat (or roving raccoon) that/who threw up pink and red and yellow cat food on our front porch overnight. Hell of a way to walk out the door this morning. We tried not to take it as a sign.

Some of the fancies have thunder in the forecast. Now that's winter the way I remember it. Enough of this bone damn cold, OK? Except: Oh, I take it back already. I like the warmish rain. I do. But I also still like, cold as I am, that we're having the correct seasons at the correct time. Already looking forward to tomorrow's coffee. Already looking forward to the four more shirts I'll need to wear tomorrow.

Sunday, December 7, 2008

Cold Night.

Hey, cold. There seems to be something looming midweek that wants to pull us, raining, almost into the sixties, but then we're cold again. So. Cold, cold, cold: winter rolls on. Jupiter and Venus slide further away from the moon, at least as far as we're concerned. The hard freezes continue. The stars tonight were so clear they were blue. Briefly today, in the sun, it wasn't bad. The nighttime dogwalk, though, was cold. Stay warm, Mr. and Mrs. America, and all the ships at sea. Pull the covers up over your chin. Hunker down. Sleep hard, if you can. Sleep close, if you get to. Keep your socks on.

Saturday, December 6, 2008

Saturday School.

Good rain out east, but only a trace here. Cold day. Heavy clouds. Feels like we just missed on snow or ice. Now all I want is a nap. Or seven days off in a row. Instead, conferences today, conferences tomorrow, back to class on Monday and Tuesday. Then things ease up. Then there are only conferences, conferences, conferences. You wrote on my story that I needed more plot, they say. You wrote that something more should be happening. Does that mean I should have more plot, and that more things should happen? Yes, I say. Don't have any spaceships or vampires, but it would be nice if your character would do something other than sit in her kitchen and think. Perhaps the water heater could break, I say. Perhaps the neighbor could ring the doorbell.

Oh, they say.

Great, I say, and then they say, Great, and then it's all over, and then somebody else comes in. And those are the good ones. The bad ones go something along the lines of me saying how Yes, in fact, it really would be nice if this was about anything at all.

Oh, they say.

Friday, December 5, 2008

Winter Sky.

In which our hero remembers a pleasure: Driving home, in the truck, into a western winter sky -- best seen coming up and over the little hill out at the Brightwood, somewhere between Burlington and Whitsett and Sedalia. High thin clouds off to the northern side of the sky, gray then orange and then a kind of green-blue, the ground all around all of those colors but orange, the leafless trees graying to black as we worked through the last of the light. Thin clouds in front of the sun itself as it set, making it more like a smudge than a star. Cold and free-falling to colder out there. We'll shortly be into the thirties and then the twenties. It is unabashedly winter. Soup. Scotch. Tea. Coffee. Time to bring out the heavy shirts. Thick socks. Almost time to turn in grades, which will mean an end to anything other than tea and coffee and soup and scotch, and a long beautiful January of living inside the book. But it's only December fifth. Not maybe time to start dreaming yet. Time to start checking for a star in the east, perhaps, but not quite time to expect it to be there. For now, stick to the sunset. The western sky. Too soon to ask for miracles.

Thursday, December 4, 2008

Mild Night.

A trace: I think we were meant to have more than that, but largely what was to be had was the spitting trace we picked up between 7 and 11ish, the tail of a front wrung dry as it crossed us here. Not much to be said for it other than that, other than dense cloud cover and enough humidity to confuse, to convince you it was warm out there, or warmer, anyway, than it had been. I expect we''ll stay above freezing tonight. The rest of the week, though, takes us back once more to the 40s and 20s, back into the persistent New England winter that's set in here over the past month or six weeks or some odd and so forth. It's cold. It has been cold. It's going to be cold. Goddamn Blue Tick Beagle Paul leaves his Blue Tick beagles out in it. In here, the aging dog sleeps in comfort on the sofa, on her bed, on ours, or, as now, on her front right paw, waiting for me to shut the hell up and go to bed, which is what's left to do tonight, so: Crack a window an inch or so, if you're still awake to do it. Tonight's a mild night by comparison. Rest of the week: hunker down.

Little hint of snow in the forecast for Saturday. No promises from these quarters, but I will say that I think that'd be lovely.

Wednesday, December 3, 2008

Still Cold.

Frost on the lawn every morning now, that green-gray brittleness all jeweled over and the dog crunching her way around out there on it, looking for a good spot to pee. Reminds me of being a kid, of otherness, of some gauzed memory from some other time altogether, some time when we used to dip below freezing, even in Atlanta, all the time. A time when the local anchors would ask you to bundle up your kids to wait for the bus, and mean it. Nowadays it seems like if you lose your gloves it's no big deal. Back then it seemed to matter. Quite. Today feels like those mornings did, and if not the bus then it would have been a frozen ride to school in my father's 1963 VW bug, ragtop closed down but leaking plenty of cold highway air anyway. If I work on it I can remember what my jacket looked like. If I work on it I can conjure up a stocking cap, a sweater added on at the last minute, a pair of gloves ruined in the previous winter's snowfall. This is, of course, all from back when it used to snow. Maybe we're on the verge of having that sort of winter. The last buyers, the fuckers who fell through on us, wanted to know about our heating bills. Maybe we should tell the next ones that we don't really know, that it hasn't been winter since we lived here, that we have no idea what Duke Power might be getting ready to send us this month, that we don't really know any more what it means when it gets cold. All we know is that we think we've seen this before, think we remember a little bit about what this used to feel like, maybe.

It's cold. Not bitter, arctic cold, but cold all the same. The forecast has us staying that way a while longer. Be ready out there at the bus stop, friends and fans of weather, of gloves, of hats and scarves and all other wintertime accessories. Be prepared, the scoutmaster would tell us. We are prepared! we'd shout back, even when we knew we weren't.

Monday, December 1, 2008

Setting Sun.


Yesterday it looked like this. Today it got sunnier. Windier, just as cold, but sunnier. Sometimes. I did quit my class briefly this afternoon to have everybody look out the window at the setting sun lighting up the west wall of the library, which from our third-floor classroom several hundred yards up the quad seemed oh, I don't know, collegiate at the very least, if not verily and somehow magical. Whatever you do, I told them, if you write about this, do not call the light golden. But what if it is? they said. This is Creative Writing, I said. For fuck's sake, do not say the light is golden. Do not say it's all long and yellow. Do not say anything like that about it at all.

Winter—real, honest winter, bizarrely—rolls on. Cold again tomorrow. Enjoy, friends and fans of seasonally appropriate weathers.

Sunday, November 30, 2008

For Sale.

A damn cold rain and some cold-footed buyers to go with it: we lost our deal. They apparently wanted brand-new everything in our not-so-brand new house. Fuckers. Sorry for the language, kids, but sometimes, when mommies and daddies get a wee bit frustrated, they use outside words in their inside voices. Fuckers, fuckers, fuckers. May the roof of whatever house they land in fall in on them in the very first week. Whoever ends up buying this little house, though, with its brand new perfect rainproof roof, will be warm and dry. They'll be in a house built in 1949, but they'll be warm and dry.

I think it rained more than the fancies thought it would—we picked up a second and then a third little burst of energy this afternoon and this evening, and this gigantic winter storm may even wrap something around the backside of itself and rain on us overnight and tomorrow morning. By the time we're said and done we'll be close to an inch, I think, and we might continue the odd 2008 tradition of making up our monthly deficit on the last day of the month. At last check, we were only about a third of an inch shy for November, and it was coming down hard again. More on this, of course, tomorrow.

So. 3BR 2BA charmer. Guest house. Rain gauge. A few tiny things in need of eventual attention. Persons having opposable thumbs and willing to use them encouraged to come on by and take a look. We've lived in it several years without anything collapsing or shocking us to death. You can, too.

Saturday, November 29, 2008

Late November.

Some good rain off to our south, and some of that's forecast to slide northward this evening and overnight, but for now what we've got is this kind of low haze thing that, at least from the ForecastCenter here at 1303, seems to be centered right about two-thirds of the way towards the fence in the backyard. This is the kind of day where you're not sure there are houses beyond the ones you can see. There's no fog, really, but everything seems covered up, snugged in. Everything's shaded gray. The grass, the red car next door, the leafless crepe myrtle over at Phil's. Almost cold. Almost raining. I haven't left the house yet. I might not. Maybe I'll make soup out of whatever there is in the fridge. Maybe I'll go back to bed. Maybe I'll just sit here on the couch until it's time to take a shower and see what's for dinner.

Thursday, November 27, 2008

Thanksgiving Day.

Thursday this time around brings us a more familiar Carolina early winter: sixty degrees already in the sun, and expected to hold there or nearabouts until it starts getting dark again, which by my calculations should be about 2:30. This daylight thing is starting to press at me. But let's us not lament today: Somehow we've landed our happy household in an odd and unlikely space of blissfully empty quiet, nowhere to go and nowhere to be, a tiny meal for two out there on the evening horizon: turkey and fake turkey, pole beans, white potatoes, stuffing, rolls, cranberries. Only the second high holiday I've had to myself, and our first alone together. Not sure when or if we'll see the likes of this again. Plenty to be thankful for, but that it's 11 in the morning and I'm in my own house and still in my robe may well top the list.

A sign of the universe's faith in this operation: yesterday, in the store, a ten-pound turkey on offer for exactly and precisely the likes of me. Late in the holiday game for me to be so fortunate. It's a brand name, and not an organic, but I'll happily roast my Lil' whatever they're calling it later on today. Our plan is to make some species of list, hang it on the fridge, check things off as we go. Glass of wine? Check. Fake turkey roast in the oven? Double check.

What now? Football on TV. Leaf raking. Dog walk. Abundant sunshine, say the weather fancies. Not on the docket: Seeing very many other people, related to me or otherwise. There's a half-note of sadness in that, sure, but there's an equal and opposite song of the rest of today. Happy Thanksgiving, friends and fans of weather. Easy enough to miss the old way, but easy enough to know some version of that's on the schedule for many years to come. So we'll just see how this way feels, too. We shall just quietly see.

Tuesday, November 25, 2008

Getting Dark.

Five o'clock and dark already, or close enough to say so. Dusk. Late evening before it's evening at all. We're staying cold here in the Triad, windy and chilly and raw and a reasonable facsimile of winter. More of this for Wednesday and Thursday, though slightly moderated: We may see fifty degrees one or both of those days. Damn near WeatherDeck weather, by comparison. Still: I remember early winter around here, ad you're supposed to be able to rake leaves in your shirtsleeves. You're supposed to be freaked out by the freakish warmth, at least the last five years or so, anyway. Keeps cold like this, or cool, anyway, and we might just end up getting daffodils in March, where and when they belong. We may escape the odd January fruit tree experiment we've been getting of late, where you round the corner and there's a cherry in bloom, or a plum. But I'm getting ahead of myself. This is just one cold snap. Surely we'll snap back. Surely, soon enough, we'll be worried about something other than seasonably wee temperatures.

I myself am feeling seasonably wee. Less light, maybe. Less evening. I myself am certainly less even. All for now, friends and fans of weather. Go cut a light or two on. Cozy up the place. Find somewhere to settle in. This bleak mood will pass. Ride it out. Find a book. Find a mug. Find a glass.

Monday, November 24, 2008

Cold Rain.

Half an inch? Maybe less. We had better than three-tenths when we got home from the Thanksgiving meal the Learning Community kids cooked tonight: turkey, ham, two kinds of stuffing, three kinds of potatoes, one burned. I do love a flailing Thanksgiving meal. They had pulled all the coffee tables together in the house and pulled all the sofa cushions down onto the floor and made a seated table for twenty-six. One of the prettiest things I've ever seen. Homemade pie. Corn. Green beans. Rolls. It was a meal for damn sure and certain.

The inspection comes back here at 1303 with a punch list. AMR believes the best. I fear the worst. More tomorrow. More tomorrow. Always something else tomorrow. All this good fortune this fall and maybe that's what's got me worn to the bone: It's not done, it's never done. There's always something new, something else, something tomorrow. There looms on the horizon the prospect of a Thursday Thanksgiving morning -- it had been Wednesday, but a furnace dude is scheduled now to see if the furnace is going to explode, or somesuch thing -- at any rate, there looms a possible Thanksgiving Thursday morning of nothing, of no news good or bad, of no change, of nothing, nothing, nothing. I could summon up some thanks for that.

A little more mist and rain may drag through overnight. Clearing tomorrow. Something else may work through over the weekend. The cold hangs in. Damn near December. The nights are shorter and shorter. The solstice is out there, not too far off. Not too far off.

Sunday, November 23, 2008

Cold And.

Cold. Cold and cold. Not as cold, sure, but cold. Too cold for some of the caulking I've been trying to do to cure up. Too cold for all sorts of other things, too, like for the pansies to take hold, and even though we won't see them, I feel bad, feel like the next 27408ers won't get good pansies until March, at least. Or maybe they'll get our now-regular 70-degree January days and everything will work out fine. We shall see. Or they will, more accurately.

Left the yellow variable spray handle full of water and attached to the end of the hose before I left for NYC. That thing's good and split open now.

Inspection's tomorrow. Surely the inspector will turn up earthquake damage and evidence of an infestation of hippos. Something's bound to be lurking out there. I've been here nearly five years exactly, though, and ain't nothing like that turned up yet, so if we can just hang on...

Oh, hell. Let's us just see. Glue everything down that's not glued down and see what turns up. Vacuum. Finish. Wait.

Saturday, November 22, 2008

Cold As.

OK: Colder here than in NYC, or cold as. There's that brittleness in the air. I have more to say about the weather, but for now a wee prayer: Came back from 10019 and had lunch in 2740something with AMR and we were driving back down Friendly toward the new digs in 27401, just to give 'em a look-see, and this huge white dog, loosed accidentally from his house right there on Friendly, comes barreling down the sidewalk and then across Friendly and AMR gets the car stopped and somehow I'm on foot across Friendly and then down Green Valley past all the medical whatnot and then across Benjamin, waving down traffic, and then through Kiser and Grimsley and whatever the hell that elementary school is up there, and then across Westover and down into that neighborhood with Pamlico and Twykenham and whatever all else and the dude who owned Buck was running all that with me and screaming and screaming Buck ! Buck! and I was also screaming Buck! Buck! and Buck did not once come back, though he looked over his shoulder a few times. Dude and I kept trying to cut Buck off, triangulate, do something, but at one point as I was crossing somebody's fenced back yard I got turned around or missed my shortcut or something and then I lost dude and Buck, and after however many miles I was laid out and I sat down on the curb and listened for dude yelling or for leaves crunching underfoot of a big white dog or something, but there was nothing but leafblowers. So: Big white dog, may you be found and sleeping inside that house on Friendly tonight. Come back, Buck, goddamnit.

Thursday, November 20, 2008

Large Apple.

Raw and gray here in 10019. Low sky. Strange orange hue underneath as we ride towards an early, eastern dusk. I have not brought enough warm clothes. A $5 pair of gloves is in my future. As is some kind of toasty hole-in-the-wall drink on 10th Ave in Hell's Kitchen.

So, the cabbie said. What are you here for? Business, I said. We rode like that for a while. What kind of business, he said, eventually. I told him. Oh, he said. You write books? You're a writer? I guess so, I said. I wrote one. I don't know. We rode a little more. What are your passions? he wanted to know. Passions? I said. Yeah, he said. Passions. I like writing, I said. No, he said. I mean like cars. Like cars and sports. Oh, I said. I like those things, too. Then we talked about Shelby Mustangs for a while.

Wednesday, November 19, 2008

Head Cold.

How long does the cold last, I asked my kids yesterday. We thought you liked the cold, they said. I do, I said. I do. I meant the head cold. Oh, they said. Depends. Most of us have had it all semester.

Superb.

But it is cold, shining knife-edge cold, actual jacket-wearing cold, Nashville cold, smell-of-concrete cold, all-the-last-remaining-flowering-plants-frozen-dead cold, hat-in-the-house cold, cold, cold, cold. These are the first of the last days of 27408 cold for me. We're moving our operation. The transition team is already working to make sure ANYLF can get itself up and running in 27401, where the weather promises to be radically similar to the weather here. We report live from this WeatherDeck until the end of the calendar year, give or take, and then right around or before or on the first, we have to site and set the rain gauge at the new ANYLF Global Operational ForecastCenter. The WeatherPorch. The something. I'm not yet sure. We've got a team working on that, too. We have a lot of teams, a lot of openings for qualified applicants. Prospective interns should please fax a cover letter and a clip of a live stand-up in a hurricane to 1-888-99ANYLF.

Cloudless. Cold. Yesterday, as whatever that was came through, I saw flurries in my driveway. First confirmed snow of the season. Not enough to qualify as a trace, even, but it was there. I saw it. I did.

Monday, November 17, 2008

Damn Cold.

January in November. Cannas frozen. Most all else, too. Trying the truck in the morning ought to be an adventure. That's all, really. It looked like snow earlier. It didn't do it, of course. But it's worth pointing out.

Sunday, November 16, 2008

Can, May.

Let's open here: We seem to have sold the house. To schoolteachers. Can I say how much easier it might be to leave the bookshelves to people who have books? Can I say how much easier it was to rake the leaves out tonight knowing that it felt like the right thing to be doing? Can I say how many minutes I would have had to sit on the bottom step for saying can instead of may? Can I please be excused? I'm sure you can, Drew. The question is: May you?

We've turned hard cold. We've sold the house. When I moved in here it was the coldest day of the year. Maybe we're aiming into December for that same thing. The sign in the yard says UNDER CONTRACT. We're under contract almost everywhere. I'm back to NYC this week. The abject insanity rolls on.

Looks like we're going to freeze every night this week. Most of the leaves are down out of the Japanese magnolia. I'm about ready to call this winter. Heater's been running all night. Dog curled up on the sofa. Hat weather. My grandfather's rake. These are not sentences. Let's just all go to bed and worry this through in the morning.

Saturday, November 15, 2008

Winter Light.

Here, friends and fans of weather, is what I hope: I hope you, too, took your coffee on your front porch with your dog in the sixty-five degree breeze. I hope you raked and swept and then watched your good work get blown around the yard. I hope you enjoyed what was a classic, classic southern November day out in front of a week that promises 40s and 20s. Carolina fall: all of the possible weathers, all at once. An inch of rain yesterday. Hard freeze several times the rest of the week. That'll do it for the cannas, the hydrangeas, the other hangers-on.

Driving down Holden and Aycock this afternoon with our exploded winter sky sliding across us, I remembered one reason why I like this season so much: we don't see light like this, clouds like that, except for three or four days each year, right around this time. Maybe a little bit in late January. Maybe. Cold tomorrow. That's good, too. I hope you got out today, hope you'll bundle up and get out there tomorrow, too. Hey, fall. Hey, winter. We had no power all afternoon, and I came home to a house full of candles. Feels like right now damn near everything that happens fits on about exactly right.

Friday, November 14, 2008

Good Cause.

Turns out today should have been the chili day. Have you been outside today? I have been outside. It is not fit for man nor beast, except that it totally fits. I love days like this. Always have. Somehow I'm reminded of watching the Jerry Lewis telethon with my folks back in the days before cable TV. In my memory, the weather is always like this, even though I think that thing happens in either the early fall or late spring. Still. It's chilly and rainy and I'm sitting with my parents and it's one in the morning and I'm allowed to stay up late and we've been watching all day, all however many hours, and Jerry's got his tie undone and the tote board finally goes over forty million dollars, and Jerry cries, and my parents cry, and I cry because they cry, and the weather's been like this all day and night and it's still raining. That's the sort of weather we're having today, friends and fans of weather. Telethon weather.

Raining like it means to here in 27244, and it was when I left 27408, too. Spent the morning standing in the rain, scrubbing the WeatherDeck with a stiff-bristled brush. Just flew in from Cleveland, and boy are my arms tired. And my back. And the inside of my head.

Raining. Raining, raining. Dark. I love it.

Thursday, November 13, 2008

So Miserable.

Heavy fog this morning giving way to a forty-degree rain: I love it. We're past that point where every tree is lit up, and are moving now towards the place where this kind of rain might take a good portion of the rest of the leaves down. The days are getting shorter. It's cold. It's cold in here and I'm running the heat. I've got two shirts on. I'm layering. I'm thinking hard about making tonight the first chili night. I love November more than I love February. Come February I'm tilting towards March and April. In November I'm tilting towards solstice, towards soups, towards finding another record to put on and a chair to slump down into and a hat and my high school girlfriend's grandfather's flannel shirt, which still and still I cannot throw away.

Wednesday, November 12, 2008

Convective Something.

I'm always amazed by how the cloud cover holds the heat in. That's all. I'm not saying it's hot. I'm just saying.

Tuesday, November 11, 2008

Fat Rain.

I'm standing dead tired in the Home Depot holding in my hand a gallon of N-62, which is not to be confused, the woman is telling me, with N-63, your two-in-one cleaner, or N-64, your basic wood prep. N-62 is your mildew remover. Will my deck be slipperier than owlshit, is what I'm trying to ask her, slipperier than it is even now? I don't know, she's saying. We've also got your outdoor bleaches. Then the roof starts humming and thrumming and she looks at me wide-eyed and says, Is that rain? I hope to God not, I say, for maybe the first or second time in my life, and she says, Sounds like rain. I buy one of your outdoor bleaches and also a pre-finished threshold and glass sconces of various sizes to replace those I've broken in my tenure here at 1303 N Elam and I head outside and sure as hell it is rain, completely unforecast, at least around this local forecast, which throws something of a wrench into the whole to clean or not to clean thing vis a vis the deck, and it's a big fat slow rain, huge cold drops, the sort where if it had ben colder I'd have stood there and thought, Damn, son, this may turn icy, but it wasn't (colder, that is), and so I came back home south down Battleground, outdoor bleach if not in hand then surely in back seat, and now here it is dark and way out at the end of the day and I'm dead tired still or maybe even more tired, but I'm over the disappointment of the rain and now at the place where I'm thinking back on standing in the Home Depot parking lot in that fat cold rain and I'm thinking that was up there with the best parts of my day. Even though I needed it not to rain, I liked that rain. Hadn't seen it rain that way in a while.

Monday, November 10, 2008

Hard Cold.

Not a freeze, but something like that this way comes, I do think, soon enough. Truck pulling hard to the left when I hit the brakes. That can't be great. Gotta sell the house. That can't be great. Hey, housing market. Hey, all other markets. I did rake the leaves. That was something. That was something right there.

The dog had a fine day while I raked all forty acres here and then planted curb-appeal pansies and tried to pull the remaining tomato ties off of what seemed like a good idea at the time and now seems like an eyesore addition to the monstrosity that is the front porch. She lay all morning and midday on the deck paws crossed and ears back like fighter jet wings and squinting and chewing the breeze that was bringing in all this chill cold. That dog loves that porch. She'll love the new porch, too, I know. Plus the back deck. Let her live long enough to love them both, O Muse. OK? OK.

Getting empty in here. We've got ourselves a storage unit. De-clutter, the priest says. So we do. He sells the house and I'll pray whatever he needs us to. I do want the new house. I just want this one, too. I want not to move. I want not to do things, and I want to do things. Maybe I'm just all full of want and also all full of odd unexpected satisfactions of certain of those wants. Don't just yet know how to live this way. I shall try to get it figured out. Step one: plant pansies. Do it with the dog overseeing. Then do whatever it is that's next on the list.

Sunday, November 9, 2008

Leaf Trucks?

Something blew in. The light got all odd right around lunchtime and then some clouds pulled through and now it's chilly and brisk and nearly November again, though not quite entirely November. This is still much more like an early-season cool snap than November. But it's hat weather again, so one shouldn't complain.

It was apparently Official Leafblowing Day here on North Elam, but we missed the memo and instead spent the day elbow-deep in caulk and dust. If the trucks come through tomorrow I'm just going to stand there and watch them suck up everybody else's leaves and think about what could have been. I'm beat down and tired and spending a good deal of time thinking about place, thinking about this writing shed, thinking about the next one. We have, apparently, signed on to a new writing shed. I like the idea of it, like the physical actual thing, even. I like all of it. There's this, though: I like this one, too.

Maybe I'll pull a floorboard out of this one and take it over there to the new one. For luck.

Friday, November 7, 2008

New Roof.

The giant blue barn behind us gets its today. We got ours last month. Every other house in the neighborhood, it seems like, has had unto it a new roof delivered. Ours was courtesy of May and June hail and Fay's fancy arrival in August. I'll chalk up everybody else's to damn near the same thing. Now comes the insurance premium jamboree. We'll see.

Unseasonable warmth, friends and fans of September and April, continues. Too much more of this and we'll see daffodils poking up. Probably not too late to plant pansies, to get bulbs in the ground so they can come up too soon, to maybe even squeeze one last round of greens out of the ground, if you're careful. If you've got a cold frame. If something.

In to work for yet another splendid faculty meeting and then back home to prime and paint and prime and paint: trying to finish every last little house project we can out in front of what looks to be a holiday season of vast insanity. Almost time to rake the yard. Almost time to go out back and pick up sticks. Almost time to cover over the exposed electric in the writing shed. Trimmed up the outside bathroom last night, dog on the guest bed supervising. We're about to need a lot of supervision around here, I do believe. Someone is going to have to be put in charge. What I know for sure: It shouldn't be me.

Thursday, November 6, 2008

Lawn Chairs.

Seventy-six degrees and cloudless and even though surely it should be something chillier I do not care. My afternoon class hadn't read the assignment, and I largely couldn't care about that either. Played them a Brady Udall story off the radio and sent them outside to be outside. Now I'm holding impromptu office hours in the shade of the Chinese Fir and just trying to keep my head in something like the right place.

The good guys won. I just still can't get hold of that. It had been so long since we'd turned toward our better angels I didn't think we knew where they were any more. But we did, it turns out. We do.

The sun's so bright off the tree trunk right here I have to squint to see.

Tuesday, November 4, 2008

Light Drizzle.

Or even a medium drizzle at times, if you want to know the truth, which of course you do. The sweetgum out back by the shed is bronzing over. The junk maple my folks brought us three years ago has gone red-orange, or orange-red, depending. Remember those two Crayola colors? Me, too. The Vieja maple's about spent. Phil's maples are on the verge of lighting themselves red. It's fall, still fall, the middle of what has been a damn fine fall, and it's raining. Drizzling. There's a fog to go with it. You don't want to cheer for weather on election day — it keeps folks home. Not these folks, though. We're off to stand in line right now. We're bringing the big umbrella. We're ready to wait. Today's probably the kind of day where you're going to want a cup of tea. Here's hoping, too, that later on you'll want a cup of champagne. Come on, baby. Goddamnit, come on, come on.

Monday, November 3, 2008

Hey, November.

Yeah, Carolina November. Gray. Abidingly gray. Maples turning or finished. Oaks just starting. Slightly warmer out there than you'd think it would be. Trash trucks all in the neighborhood. Crows in the trees last night.

Most of the rain looks to be well off to our south and east, wrapped around some kind of coastal situation that seems to be pretty well soaking Wilmington and parts similar. We ourselves look to be good candidates for a showery half-inch over the next day or three. We'll probably hold in this half-warm that's no real kind of temperature at all, not warm enough to open the doors and windows, not cool enough to kick the furnace on. I'll take it. I like the parenthetical, the in-between. It's good to be back, friends and fans of weather. Or of whatever this is we're getting today.

Sunday, November 2, 2008

Tiny Forecasts.

ANYLF has had a strange six weeks. The weather got lost in all that. That is not a good thing. You don't want to be not knowing what's going on outside. Back to the reason for doing this, then: small-bore noticings having to do with place and temperature.

570 miles up to Binghamton and 570 back home to 27408. Friday up and Sunday back. Oaks at high yellow peak up in the higher parts of I-81 through West Virginia and Virginia. Clouds of blackbirds or starlings or whatever it is that shows up this time of year and blows out of the tops of trees in expanding and contracting breaths by the several hundreds or thousands. Chilly, but not cold. Frost on the trunk of the rental car this morning outside the La Quinta Inn in Johnson City, NY. There are three cities all mashed together up there: Johnson City, Binghamton, and something else. Two or three rivers, too. Fog Saturday morning. That odd fall green was out all over the place, the fescue having one last cool-weather go at it and leaves all over all the yards.

I am a deeply weary boy. It's been a beautiful fall, though, and someone ought to be saying so. So.

Monday, October 27, 2008

Freeze, Perhaps.

Hey, early winter. Novel shit continues to hold back the weather forecast, but here's what I can give you: Cold, dammit. Cold. I assure you, friends and fans of weather, that we will be back with the weather shortly. Here's what I can give you this late evening: The truck ride in to 27244 was good and chilly; it's heavy jeans and flannel weather; the 'auxiliary heat' light is lit up on the thermostat. Quick showers and clouds gave way to a cold late-evening yellow sunset. Step outside. You can see your breath. It's winter, briefly. It'll be warm again soon. But it's cold now. I like it.

Saturday, October 25, 2008

Morning Rain.

All this got here later than they said it would, but it's here: Maybe not as much as they said we'd have, either, but rain is rain, and a dark Saturday morning is a good Saturday morning, the kind of morning where if I work hard enough I can conjure up one of those middle school Saturdays after I'd won the fight with my father to let me wear his Army shirt from Vietnam, and it'd be cool enough to wear it, dark green canvas with almost no patches save for some kind of bar or star situation and PERRY in lack embroidered stitching. I thought it was the single most badass item in the world. Didn't give a ton of thought to what it might have felt like to watch your son wearing an item of clothing that nearly prevented you from having a son. I was thirteen. Selfish. Limited in world view. Or any view. Have I covered this in this space before? Maybe I have. I do not know. I've been bad about every part of this recently. I've been distracted. But we've got a warmish chilly October Saturday rain, and I'm trying to come back to this, to meteorophiling, to some semblance of calm, of the everyday. The book is going to be a book. This is a big deal. But the weather, as it turns out, is still going to be the weather. Don't forget about the orders of things.

Cold coming behind this, but it's one of those forecasts that keeps edging up by a couple of degrees each day. Probably means the fancies don't really know much except that they think somebody might have to dig out a sweater. We shall see, friends and fans of weather. I think we shall, anyway.

Thursday, October 23, 2008

Smells Like...

Snow? Sleet? It's not winter, but winter's come in. Sort of. Kind of. Rain coming. Maybe. Tomorrow's a good day to pull the watchcap on and plant the last flat of pansies. The rock opera that is the NYC novel conversation rolls on. Let's not talk about it. I haven't had a shower in two days, and I didn't sleep last night. Can't complain. Can't. Rock opera or no, the whatever sort of opera it is is taking place in NYC. So, you know.

Here in 27408, we're having weather. We haven't been reporting on it too thoroughly of late here at ANYLF. We'll do better, I promise. We need to have some kind of a staff meeting. Whip the troops into shape. Rain's riding in. Perhaps a freeze. Time to start taking stock of what's outside again: Certain of the fancies want to give us a chilly inch of rain tomorrow night. We're dangerously close to a pot of chili on the stove. Coffee with brandy late afternoon. Tea all day long. Too much coffee every morning. Grilled cheese.

Hey, November. We're not there yet, but we're damn close.

Wednesday, October 22, 2008

Frost Advisory.

Hey, frost. Just wanted to say so. More soon, I promise. Wear a coat out there, friends and fans of weather. Cut the heat on. We were gone. We'll be back right shortly.

Saturday, October 18, 2008

Missed Day.

I missed (technically) today's entry, which is a shame, because today (Friday) was damn near raw — not quite there, but still, in the parking lot at Lowe's, I was cold, buying my mini-nuggets, and I'd been all morning in the dirt, planting pansies, pulling impatiens, wishing Paul and Son of Paul hadn't stolen my third yard waste trash can, and happy anyway, because it was genuinely chilly, wet, windy, autumn. Maybe there's a difference between fall and autumn. I don't know. Tomorrow (today?) I drag AMR north and westward, into colder cold, into SW VA, almost against her will save for the promise of lentil soup and the red hooded J. Crew U. sweatshirt that was once mine but is no more in any way at all belonging to me. Sometimes I borrow it. Mainly she wears it. This is how it is. Goddamn and all hell, friends and fans of weather, this is the official weather of ANYLF, a damn cold mist and the danger of frost behind it, plus good news from NYC and the insanity attendant to that. I'm meant to come down off the mountain on Monday at noon to call the Big Apple and chat about some crazy shit. My head don't work so good tonight. It's gray and cold. I'm wearing jeans and flannel and my fleece hat. Randy Newman on the hi-fi. Somebody read the novel and liked it. Four flats of pansies in the ground. One left. Mulching to be done before the breaking towards Fall Break. I said earlier this week that the Vieja Maple wasn't living up to its past selves. Not so. It's everything it's always been. No photo to prove it. I'll just need you to take me at my word. And I don't even need that. I saw it today; I'll see it tomorrow. And, if I can get my shit together in the morning before we blow this peanut stand for a joint with a woodstove, well then, so shall you. Until then, this is ANYLF, reporting live from the library, window cracked open enough to hear what's left of the rain — I'm hoping for a widespread killing weekend frost, or something close to it. Randy Newman's singing Jolly Coppers. Might just be his best song.

Thursday, October 16, 2008

Front Coming.


This might be it. There's a little burst of something headed our way out of the north and west — not the south and west, this time — and back behind that are sixties and forties, not sixties and eighties. I enjoyed this. I did. Don't get me wrong. But I'm ready for heavier shirts. I'll take it.

Tomorrow's a planting day: We've got the five flats of prison farm pansies still sitting in the driveway, and we're headed for 24292 for Fall Break on Saturday, so they've got to go in the ground. Seems like every year I end up planting bulbs and pansies on a chilly gray mudder of a day. Hell, I'll take that, too. It's the romantic in me. Or the sap. The something.

Forecast to get good and chilly here over the weekend, so let's say good and good and chilly for the New River Valley and west, as they say on WVTW. I love tuning in to 89.1 down here and getting the forecast for Independence and Marion and Whitetop and Mt. Rogers all year long. Always five or ten degrees colder. Always the looming threat of some impressive fog or sleet or snow. Always the reminder that if you can hear the forecast, you can't be that far away.

Oh, place. Good god.

Wednesday, October 15, 2008

Indian Summer?


It's warm out there, friends and fans of weather, but cool weather's coming, and maybe even a little rain. Late-season agriculturalists must be pleased. Broccolists. Lettucists. Also pleased might be those of us not so up on our laundry. This was the time of year to be a college student, as I remember -- In one week you could wear it all. Just make sure you have enough socks and panties and you're good to go. I've tried to grow out of that. I have. I swear.

Here's a charmingly antiquated exploration of what Indian Summer might or might not be, courtesy of the NWS out of Detroit.

OK, children, where were we? Ah: Once again it falls to me to tell you, even in this unseasonable warmth, to go outside. Have the next-to-last iced coffee of the season. Wear the next-to-last t-shirt. Get ready to have and wear the lasts of those tomorrow, our last warm day until the next one. Here at our own outside, out on the WeatherDeck and even beyond, there's the smell of the Vieja Maple just starting to shed its leaves, a fantastic smell, decay and shift and crunch. The tree's not quite as spectacular this year as in years past, which is its own kind of spectacular, somehow: A record in all the other years of the rain we hadn't had, a record this year of what we were fortunate to get.

Monday, October 13, 2008

Warm Coming.

We're supposed to see 85 degrees tomorrow and Wednesday, but don't be fooled: They want to give us fall back and then some by the weekend. That whole See-Your-Breathwatch thing might be over sooner than later. In other news, TLK called in on the hotline to report a gentleman driving down Lee Street on a riding mower, towing a trailer holding a mound of clothes, a push mower, and a live dog. If that's not the weather, I don't know what is.

There's noise about Gov. Palin putting in an appearance at J. Crew U. Don't really know what kind of sign to hold up at such a thing as that. Probably one with small, simple words. Maybe we can hold a contest to see which school ought be affronted more: Journalism? Arts & Sciences? Oh, the jokes are too easy, and too sad. I love the possibility that I might have to let my writing class out so they can go see her.

No Vieja Maple update tonight: It's yellow, fiercely so, but it's also in the dark. More tomorrow. OK? OK.

Sunday, October 12, 2008

Head On.

Paul and Son of Paul are across the street sawing and sparking some piece of the engine of Son of Paul's ruined Honda out and onto the driveway. Paul and Son of Paul spent much of the spring and summer repairing and rebuilding said Honda, testing the engine, putting some bullshit muffler situation on the thing such that it sounded like three or four motorcycles when he cranked it up. Then, on the day -- the very day -- that they finally got that car roadworthy, Son of Paul drove it into a phone pole. Or a light stanchion. I don't know what it was, exactly, but one look at the ruined Honda and you say to yourself, Pole. Or: Stanchion. Or: Statue. Something tall and skinny. They had it towed home and it's been facing pole-side-out all fall, and now they've started in on it again. It's nice to have a project. In blue-tick-beagle news, I gave in and called the city and things are getting slightly, slightly better. I've traded beagle barking for a grinder, but hey.

In Son of Paul's defense, the pole day was also the day of the Fay flooding, so there's every possibility that the disaster was weather-related and not car-as-toy-related.

What a lovely day it was today. I hopped myself up on off-brand Cold & Sinus meds and mowed the grass. Late afternoon, the sun caught La Vieja's maple just right. Or that's not entirely so: Truth be told, the sun caught it right all day long. This was just one of the examples. We're right on the edge of having quite the fall. Soon enough we may have to crank up a See-Your-Breath-Countdown-o-Meter. Can't be more than a couple weeks away, right? Let's go ahead and say fourteen days and counting. That and the Vieja Maple Watch has the staff pretty busy over here at ANYLF. Oh: There's a little storm way the hell out in the Atlantic, too. The economy's in the shitter, friends and fans of weather, but we're hiring.

Saturday, October 11, 2008

Hello, Sunshine.

Oh, fall. You may be familiar with its work. It looks like this. Like this right here. This is front-and-back-doors-open weather. Cats-in-the-windows weather. Every time I make eye contact with the dog, who's not gone back to sleep for her morning/all-day nap, she picks her head up off the floor, looks at me as if to say, Hello? Have you not been outside? Isn't this dog-to-the-park weather? It is. It is. I'd mention other things, like how I can hear the first leafblower of the season, or the sixty dollars of prison farm pansies I bought yesterday, but there's no time. I have to go to the park. With the dog. Right now.

The Vieja Maple burns along.

Friday, October 10, 2008

No Drought (!).

Either last week -- though the graph was showing us so close to the line that I was afraid to declare it, however temporarily, over -- or this week, we emerged from drought. Part of Guilford County's still in D0 (the scale runs D0-D4), but here in 27408, we're in the clear. For now. The celebration around the ANYLF offices is like this: ([whee.]). Now is not the time for ice cream cakes in the shape of thunderheads. Two dry weeks and we'll be right back on the Drought Monitor along with everybody else. And dry weeks are what have to be coming: It's October, after all. Still, still and still: This whole thing began as drought lament as much as anything. Now what to lament?

No worries. We've got the interns sifting through piles of new and other worries, and one entire set of interns is just waiting to gear back up for when it does stop raining again, so: Have your paper cup of sparkling cider, and get back to work.

Mist and fog. Trees turning everywhere. Just about almost enough rain. Nearly time to pull the impatiens and put the pansies in. Nearly time for about seven different other things. The Vieja Maple continues apace. Dress lightly, friends and fans of between-seasons. It's spring-warm out there— warmer than it looks from your window with your cup of coffee.

Thursday, October 9, 2008

Rain Came.

Not tons, but it rained in a kind of lovely way, steady and light last night and showery today and now, tonight, mist and crickets and some other kind of cricket that's riding a long lower wail out across the higher-pitched ones. Or: that lower wail is the cricket closest to us, and the background noise is everybody else. Everything's perspective.

Had a young man turn in an orgasm poem today.

What I think might be prudent at a time like this is not to read too much into crickets and sex and markets and mist and rather just take what cash you've got left out there, convert it to nickels, and bury it out beyond the compost pile in the back corner of the yard. Once all this is over and we go back to poems about 2002 Jeep Wranglers and the Dow figures out what it's there for and winter sets in and the crickets come back from wherever they'll go once they go for the year, why then, we can take stock and see what it all means. For now, as I've been preaching to my classes, let's us all just stop trying so damn hard to mean anything. That such advice nets me poems with words like "shuddering" in them is no reason to think the advice itself is bad. Stop meaning. Start shuddering. Tomorrow's forecast: Just like today, or different. One of those for sure.

Wednesday, October 8, 2008

Rain Coming?

It looks like we're getting ready to pick up something out of our south and west. Kind of a classic wintertime pattern, in a way, this slow-moving low, though nobody seems all that sure how much we might pick up: The NWS out of Raleigh is up with a forecast discussion that says, in essence, that nobody really knows much about anything at all. Kind of a check-the-front-walk-to-see-if-it's-wet sort of forecast. So: Good gray Carolina early fall. Might probably rain. In the meantime, the Vieja Maple continues to yellow over, uncertain forecast or no.





Tuesday, October 7, 2008

Maple Turning.

La Vieja's maple has started up.


I can't remember if I've spent official ANYLF time in this here and very space trying to suss out what kind of maple it is, and I don't really have the time nor inclination for such things today, but: its bark goes almost black between now and the onset of winter, and its leaves, which are nearly salad-plate-sized, go first dark green all through August and September and then Crayola-box-yellow over the next couple of weeks. It's always one of the first to fully turn, and it's easily the best on the street. Do not be alarmed, friends and fans of retreating chlorophyll: this space will feature regular Vieja Maple updates as warranted, which is to say, all the time between now and whenever it puts its leaves down.

We're overcast and cool this morning, jacket weather, hat weather for the deeply optimistic. The sun's already trying to break through, though, so while it would be abject foolishness to say it'll be as warm as yesterday, I think it's reasonable to say that at some point this afternoon you might well be able to turn to your companion, rest your elbows on the concrete table at which you've chosen to have your paper cup of tea, and say, It got warm.

Monday, October 6, 2008

Warm Day.

And it might be the last one for a while, though surely not the very last of the season. We're supposed to be cool and then cool and cloudy through the rest of the week. The trees are showing a little color almost everywhere, and even though it's not pyrotechnic fall yet, you can feel that coming. Another set of cool nights might just get us there.

The latest draft of the novel's almost done. Off to NYC with it after today. Time to put my head back into the classroom a little bit, I think, and back into the world, too. Last week, a week spent entirely inside the book, was kind of a lost week, though in a lovely way, in the kind of way that makes me want for that lifestyle instead of this week's, for that version of me instead of this one. Or maybe for a slightly less intense version of that me. I don't know. Let's go with this, for now: More writing. Less academic bullshit. Give me the classroom any day, almost. Give me the rest of it as rarely as possible, please. I may never go to another departmental meeting again. We had one on Friday, and afterwards, I had to send out an email apologizing for my behavior. Though now, with distance, I'm less sorry, or not sorry at all. At one point we tried to vote on the difference between abstaining and not voting. I was going to abstain from that vote.

There's a damn lot that goes on out at J. Crew U. that has very little to do with students.

Dog just back from a run with AMR, and dragging some, panting hard. It's warm out there. Dress accordingly, please. This is it. This is the warm day. The rest of the week is for those of you more like me. Which is nice, I guess. A little something for everybody.

Friday, October 3, 2008

High Pressure.

Well, well. I'm wearing shirt sleeves and I'm chilly. Maybe all fall posts will be about what I'm wearing, or may get to wear, or have worn. How deeply and terribly exciting that'll be out there in WeatherLand.

No news to report. Chilly night coming. They're getting frost advisories in the mountains. Here it's just unrelentingly perfect. The crickets chirped all day today. I'm not sure what that means, but on a slow news day, friends and fans of weather, that's the kind of intrepid reporting you can get here at ANYLF.

Thursday, October 2, 2008

The Flame.

Here is how good the weather is today: It's cool enough for real clothes, for a windows-down ride up Battleground to remind me why I love the pickup, for my good fleece cap, and for Cheap Trick's "The Flame" to be playing in Giacomo's Market up there in 27410 while I stood in line waiting for my fresh mozzarella, my roasted peppers, my proscuitti di parma.

All for now. Go outside. I will be the flame. I will be the flame.

Wednesday, October 1, 2008

Turning Cool.

Were you outside this afternoon? This evening? Did you notice how once we got the last of the front through, we started having October right away, like it was October or something? Me too. I noticed that too.

Dogwoods showing color. Maples starting. Beautiful rain last night. Hat weather tonight. Long sleeves. The dog took us on a long walk, chose the longer route at every turn. I've canceled class this week to finish off this draft of the book. It's October. It rained and turned cool. Almost cold. Impatiens blooming hard and out of season. Mums starting in along the front. The TLK cannas in La Vieja's yard are having one last go at it. We've got spiderwebs everywhere. It's spider weather. There's playoff baseball. It's damn near enough to make a soul get religion. Happy fall, friends and fans of fall. Happy everything.

Tuesday, September 30, 2008

Last Storm?

Tonight could well be the last thunderstorm for the season, or the last serious storm, or the last something. We've got sixties and forties on the back side of this, and we've got October on the back side of this, too, and even though we do in fact see thundersnow here when occasionally it snows, and even though we had thunderstorms last Thanksgiving, the notion still remains that if our fall somehow looked like actual historical fall, this could have been it. Probably we'll see another one or three. Probably. But still. I'm just saying.

And it was a good one, a pretty one, a lot of cloud-to-cloud and enough cloud-to-ground to get the dog up on the sofa during dinner, smashing herself against AMR in the fervent hope that all would be well, which is the same theory by which I smash my own self against AMR, and it's worked out well enough for the both of us, so. A little more coming our way from the west, and from the sounds of things out east once more the folks Burlington- and Raleigh-ward are getting the worst and best of it, and all I can say is that I love the low rumble of storms off to either side of us, would by and large take that sound over almost any other. A good night to sleep, to sit, to pace the hallway wondering how in hell you'll make your Friday deadline in NYC when the goddamn novel is suddenly due. This is not a malady against which I'm allowed to admit complaint, but still: The next 40ish hours are going to land me on the busy and frantic side of things. Been a long time since I had anything due. Part of me likes the pressure. The other part of me wants to take the dog to the mountains right now and drink coffee and scotch and hike and ignore it all.

Y'all crack your windows out there. Open the blinds and cut the lights off and enjoy the lightning. We'll get this again, surely, but it might not be for a while. Enjoy it while it's here. It's possible we got or will get our half inch. More on that tomorrow. Keep it tuned here, friends and fans of rainfall totals. Keep it tuned here.

Monday, September 29, 2008

Maritime Fog.

Drove Saturday to 21224 and back again yesterday to 27408 and am feeling general malaise lag and rental car lag and all of the other kinds of lag you can get without crossing time zones. Oh, Baltimore. I ain't never really seen it rain like it did up there Saturday afternoon and again Sunday afternoon, which was something more North Atlantic than Mid-Atlantic, but so be it. They're give or take on the ocean, and the remnants of the subtropical storm that was the subtropical storm before this subtropical storm (Laura's got herself a name, friends and fans of subtropical storms) was coming through in ragged pieces such that it would pour for five or ten minutes, and then the sun would break through, and then it would pour again. Very London, if London was ungodly humid, which it never seemed to be when I was there, at least not in that late-September Baltimore way. Oh, Baltimore, Randy Newman sings. Man it's hard/just to live. I was in a grocery store early Sunday morning and those people seemed to have hold of a kind of misery that was maybe specific to grocery stores in the early morning and not to Baltimore, but still: There are places in that city that seem more than a little jagged around the edges.

Our Unnamed Subtropical Storm put down an inch and a quarter here on Friday and Saturday. It also left us with a serious fog coming back in last night, a fog a little like the fog they were having further north, such that I ended up feeling like there might be a general fog in the wake of the UST, that it had dropped a kind of remnant of summer down in our fall, and there wasn't much of anywhere for it to go except up towards the sodium lamps and the low branches here and everywhere else. I do love a good fog. I'm fairly sure I'm in one.

Sunny and warm this morning and that lower and lower light as we aim out of the equinox and toward the other solstice. Dog shedding like she never has before. Don't know what kind of harbinger that is. I got to wear one of my stupid skullcaps last Friday. If all goes well and the oceans don't rise, I'll get to wear one again this week. Come on, weather of hats and coats.

September's been spotty, friends and fans of weather. I'll do better in October. We're half an inch short on rainfall. I blame myself. I got busy. Took the weather for granted. Started to act like it would come every day whether I mentioned it or not. So: We've got a little tiny outside shot at a storm tomorrow. Maybe we'll get that half-inch. Go out on a bright shiny note. Cool weather in and on the forecast for the late week. Genuinely cool. Truck-to-school cool. We shall see. We shall see. We shall see.

Friday, September 26, 2008

Subtropical Storm.

It appears as though our storm has pulled on west beneath us, oddly, and is spinning right along the state line between NC and SC near, I guess, Gastonia. Good hard rain most of the day today. An inch or so. Lots of wind. We may get the back half of it up out of the south later on, so maybe don't start up any major outdoor projects. If you need to walk the dog, though, do that. Now's the time.

We're dry inside and out. More and more that Fay rain is looking like a hundred-year flood. Or at least a five-year flood.

Raining again. I'm not at all sure our radar today has had much to do with when it's actually raining. The radar has us in the sure clear right now, but I've looked out the window, and I'm pretty sure that's rain. Yeah. That's rain. Official ANYLF Unnamed Subtropical Storm forecast: It's going to rain some more. At times. On occasion. Like now.

Thursday, September 25, 2008

Nasty Storm.

The weather's turned gloriously, deliriously nasty, and it would be so, so fine with me, except for the wee shed and roof situations, but what I'm trying to do is buckle in and enjoy it all regardless. We're not forecast to get anything like the amount of rain we got with Fay, and we handled Hannah OK post-Fay and post-roof tarp, so let's just us all say how dry the renovated shed is going stay all night, how dry our dining room ceiling will be when we wake up tomorrow morning.

Comes at the end of this entry, courtesy of JBW and the good folks at the Cooperative Institute for Meteorological Satellite Studies (CIMSS), a wee video of our nameless subtropical cyclone, which seems by all accounts to be coming right for us. That coastline you can see there is the SC/NC coastline. That direction you can see it headed in there is usward.

Should be a windy, raw night, friends and fans of weather. Should be a good one. Maybe it's nice to be nervous about the weather. Maybe it's healthy. We're under a wind advisory until 9 p.m. We'll probably get a shiny new one after that. They're not quite warning about flooding just yet, but it feels like they want to. So: Pull on a hat. Find you something to sip on. Crack the door open. Check the shed 10,000 times. Don't have a shed? Come on over here to the ANYLF Unnamed Subtropical Cyclone Southeastern Regional Field Office and check mine.








Wednesday, September 24, 2008

Dog Weather.

This is the dog weather. Good wind and the temps falling off. There's some kind of half-hurricane down east that's trying to give us rain through the weekend. The bathroom out back comes along: trim on the door today. The novel comes along: I'm working against/toward an early October deadline. Randy Newman on the stereo. Crickets and wind through the window. Dog trying to decide whether or not to eat. Flannel and jeans. Knit cap on the dogwalk—that was out of season, but a kid can hope. Wind again. Pretty little sunset back home out of 27244 around 7:30. The days are shortening right up. Fall. It's almost fall.

The dog spent the morning out back biting the wind.

Tuesday, September 23, 2008

Gray Morning.

This was not the forecast, but we know by now that the fancies are as often as not sticking their hands down in the big bag of weather icons and slapping up on the board whatever they pick out first. A big blue H and a sun with a little fluffy cloud down where its skirt ought to go? Super. We've probably still got the big blue H somewhere nearby — don't get me wrong — but I'm guessing it's a little less nearby than the big board had it last night, and I'm guessing this is some kind of low-level low-energy something that slid in underneath our big blue H, and even though it looks like it's already starting to burn off some, it's lovely in its own way, and I say pour another cup of coffee and tug on an old shirt and sit on the porch and enjoy it. The dog will have none of that, of course: She's gone back to bed.

Comes next the glinty sun and the seventy-four degrees and the fall breeze and the windows-down drive to 27244, and even though the drive to 27244 means going to 27244, perhaps the windows down will mitigate some of that, and I can summon something up from within me to cancel out all the whiny complaining about my job I've been subjecting the inside of my head and the inside of my house to for the better part of two weeks. I am not loving the job part of my job right now. I am loving the coming-home-from-my-job part of my job right now. I have had to say one too many times this term that the breakup endured when you were fifteen, Meghan, is probably not a suitable subject for your art. And not to be pissy about it, but it's probably not even a suitable subject for the deadly serious late-evening convos over at the Phi Whatever house right upon the conclusion of an All New Very Special Gossip Girls. Oh, and Brian? No, I don't think you should revise that poem about Brett Favre.

This of course will be the weather report that one of my darlings over at J. Crew U accidentally stumbles on while googling "dog poetry weather flannel whiskey Meghan," so let me go ahead with this blanket and actually true disclaimer: I love the job anyway, even when I have to fight fights I don't want to fight. But something about real and true fall settling in makes me want to do a little less of the job — teach a little less and write a little more, walk the dog more, drink coffee more, explain one or two fewer times about why the phrase "pure as snow" isn't really acceptable under any circumstances, not even weather-related ones. I don't know what my problem is. I've got the big head, somehow think I've earned my way away from misery. I know I'll be explaining why you can't say "In the growing dark, we made decisions" until the day I die. I know that this sort of misery is not really chain gang misery, and that folks out there suffering real and true and actual misery mightn't even have the patience for this little lament. So I apologize. Maybe it's this gray morning. I don't know. I'm sorry. I'm going to work now. Mark the novel. Another cup of coffee. Then it's in to 27244, in to my other job. I'll make it. Don't worry about me. Attend to your own miseries out there. When the oxygen mask descends, friends and fans of weather, make sure your own mask is secure first, and then assist the person in the seat next to you.

Monday, September 22, 2008

New York.

"The kid in the city, big ears like a puppy" is how Bill Matthews has it, and that was me, standing in the blazing sun, squinting up the street, hailing a cab, riding twenty blocks south and wondering how in the hell I'd ended up there and then doing that. Temps in the mid-seventies, little breeze. Textbook fall. Look it up, and there it is. Not one quiet moment in forty-eight hours, not one time when you couldn't hear brakes and trains and horns and sirens and disagreement in the languages of your choice. NYC seems right on the edge of filthy, such that when the little breeze does come, if it brings a kind of fresh air, you notice. Still: In all that stench and noise and busy there's something to be much loved, the feeling that Something Is Going On Here, the kind of feeling I used to get crossing the campus at UGA, passing the library, say, or the science buildings, getting hold of the notion that Things Were Happening, and that's for sure what I felt on my Friday cab ride, looking up and out the window at building after building after building, each one holding somebody working her way towards something else, towards what's next, or what might be. Buzz at the right door and they just might let you in, just might say Hello, just might say It's good to meet you, just might, just might, just might.

We dragged that weather back with us, minus the noise and the smells, and so with not much further ado let us here at ANYLF Global Fall Headquarters welcome you to a new season. In 20 minutes, at 11:44 a.m. EDT, the sun slinks by its predetermined point and we shall all of us here squint out at the autumnal equinox. There may be a few tomatoes left out there on the vine, and the determined among you may be able to coax another crop of greens along, but we move now toward harvest, toward storing up for the winter, toward the longer nights and shorter days. Now is a time for projects. Make your lists, friends and fans of weather. Get up just a little earlier. Do the work that needs to be done.

It's fall. It's possible this whole project has been aiming itself towards this.

Thursday, September 18, 2008

Weather Update.

Go outside. Go outside right now. Do not come in for a long time. Do you hear me?

Wednesday, September 17, 2008

Turned Cool.

First flannel shirt of the season yesterday. Cooler tonight than last night. I'm not sure it smells like fall, but it smells like it smells like fall. And in other news, the new bathroom is all but in outside, and nothing's leaking any more. The sink leaked for a day and a half, but that's because PVC and metal don't so much go together, and also because I twisted the thing the directions said to not twist. The toilet's not leaking because I have lived a very nearly just life and am being rewarded for it—that, or basic principles of hydrodynamics are for whatever reason on my side this week. I don't know. All I know is that we had a post-Fay bathroom outside on Friday, and now we have a post-post-Fay bathroom outside.

More than one plumbing dude at Lowe's knows me by sight. Hey, I say. Can I ask you a question?

We head to NYC this weekend for some insanity literary and otherwise. The forecast high for Friday in the Big Apple is 65. With sun. That, friends and fans of stupid winter skullcaps, may be stupid winter skullcap weather, at least by cocktail hour. I don't have the kind of life where I can up and jet to NYC, but that's what I'm up to: it's a kind of fairyland craziness, and for now, I'll take it. If I can make it there, I can make it anywhere. It's up to you, 10003, 10003.

Crickets at it hard here in 27408. Dogs barking off in the distance, but not across the street. Plumbing functioning as it should. Jeans and boots weather. Dog happy. Dishes washed and kitchen ready for morning coffee. Getting dark earlier and earlier. I'm ready, goddamnit. Maybe not for sleet, maybe not yet, but I'm ready.

Tuesday, September 16, 2008

Dog Storm.

Whatever this is, we're getting pretty good rain out of it. At about 6:45, just before it started rumbling, the dog hopped up on the bed seeking solice, and I thanked our resident barometer and ran outside to roll the windows up on the truck. By the time I got back in bed it was raining, and it has been since. What thunder we did get was that kind of low, peeled-apart-sounding thunder, cloud-to-cloud, slow, sleepy. So far at least a half a inch. So far the shed and its spanking new half-finished bathroom remains dry. So long as I've been up the temperature's been holding right around sixty degrees. It's enough to make a person want for some blue jeans.

I know there are people who don't care much for this kind of thing, who know now they're looking at a morning of jogging across parking lots and walking soggily through chilly grocery stores and post offices. This is the weather where if you want a funk to come down on you, you can sure as hell engineer that. This is one of those harbingers of colder things to come, of summer headed out and fall waiting there in the corner, a lurker at the party. This is the canary in the coal mine. I've always wondered if they named those guys. My grandmother had a parakeet when I was a kid. Name: Birdy. But that is not the point. The point is no, people, no. Don't sulk. Have more coffee instead. Have more coffee and wear one of your long-sleeved t-shirts from the Boulevard Bolt. You love those things. It's been too warm to wear them. It's been months since you pulled on one. Get one of the ones you cut the cuffs off of. Hunker down. Crack a window. Cut a light on. Read something. It's Tuesday. Something's coming through. It's raining.

Sunday, September 14, 2008

Hot, Windy.

Something's coming, but man, it's warm out there, even now, even late. The bathroom reno rolls on. Where have I heard that before? Ah, yes: In June, when I swore off wet rooms for life. It's my friend JBW who warns against the wet rooms, goes face-dark at any mention of plumbing, of water damage. A half-teardown of the outside bathroom: Shower stayed put, but everything else came out. There were some anxious moments trying to figure how to raise the toilet flange -- called, quaintly, a closet flange in the biz -- to the level of the new floor, but that problem's all but solved, and we may again have indoor plumbing outside by tomorrow night.

Mid-September means today's ninety degrees could well be our last ninety degrees until next May or June or, if the last few winters tell us anything, March. We keep picking up these ninety degree March days, getting all the daffodils scorched, pushing the fruit trees to bloom just in time for the corollary March freeze. We can fret that out in six months, though. For now, let's look at the seventies and fifties forecast for the end of the week. Hat weather coming. Even in the ninety degrees, you could sniff that out.

Each picture out of Texas looks worse than the last. The one that's sticking with me tonight is the one of the man in Galveston standing on his porch, flood halfway up his steps -- he's got his hands on his head and he's watching the house next to him burn. Watching a fire in a flood would bust my head wide open. Galveston's half rubble. Houston's got glass in the streets. The pictures out of Crystal Coast suggest that there is no Crystal Coast. Nobody can get to anybody to help with much of anything. Does every coastal town figure it'll get wiped clean every hundred years or so?

It's too hot. We've got wind. Here, that means we're toggling between seasons. Here, we're lucky that's what it means.

Saturday, September 13, 2008

Missed Days.

Weather update, live from 27408: two cool gray days gave over to something like a warm sponge yesterday, and today we've got what looks like summer back and set in and sunny and hot. Down in Texas they've got the ocean in their living rooms. Here we're tearing out the shed bathroom, the last work left from Fay. New floor, new everything. Yesterday we got the PTA newsletter, intended for Blue-Tick Beagle Paul across the street. Today we prime and paint the new floor.

My apologies, weatherheads. I missed two good chances to tell you how gray it was. Now all I can tell you is how much I miss the gray, how ready I am for the sort of weather we've got cooked up today to be something I miss, too. Back outside to do what I can do to make the floor work like a floor, the toilet work like it's meant to, too.

Wednesday, September 10, 2008

New Belt.

I bought a new belt today. First belt I can remember buying. My other belts were from high school. Turns out: belts matter. They keep these newfangled Gap jeans on my body. Bought me some Gap jeans off the interwebs. AMR had some kind of sale card thing. This was a while back. My other Gap jeans, which I bought a whole other while back, when we stopped at an outlet mall on the way back from the beach two years ago looking for overalls for my mom, didn't much stay on, either. Probably gonna try out my new belt on those things, too. Hey, new belt. All y'all out there should get yourselves belts. Yeah, belts.

It rained most of the time I was shopping for my new belt and most of the time that followed that time, but not much overall: a tenth of an inch here. More than that out in 27244, where it rained more earnestly. Gray and cool. Like maybe long-sleeves cool. We'll be hot again, but I'd be lying if I said I didn't think about chili walking through the breezeway between Whitley and Alamance today. Whitley and Alamance sound like a turn-of-the-last-century comedy team. British. Ladies and germs, please give a rousing welcome to Whitley & Alamance.

Me, I've got time and energy to spare, enough to make jokes about belts and buildings. Good luck to those of you in Texas who have no such luxury, who need plywood and, well, luck. Ike looks bad at this point. They've been half-wrong all year, so maybe they'll be half-wrong again, and maybe that thing will settle down, but it's over warm water, and that can't be great.

Gray and cool and drizzly here tomorrow. Heat building back in this weekend, but cooler, crisper days may be in the offing after that. It's surely time for that kind of thing. We'll see.

My new belt's so new that when I move the leather creaks.

Monday, September 8, 2008

Tomato Sauce.

Two batches. Two skillets. The first working Monday of 08-09. The sauce is right now cooling on the stove. Salmon for supper. Okra, too. Warm outside. We're out of dog food, and the dog won the lottery: leftover rotisserie chicken and brown rice for her dinner. Art Blakey on the stereo. Rain in the forecast. That part of the shed known to have standing water in it is now dry. The last novel revision before the next one starts tomorrow. A nightcap now while the sauce cools enough to go into the freezer. The crickets and cicadas go on apace. Art Blakey. Cocktails and appetizers with AMR in the library out in front of dinner. On a Monday. Who'd have thunk it?

Sunday, September 7, 2008

Sunday Chores.

Fifteen dollars out 40 at the Farmers Market for nearly a full banker's box of Cherokee Purples and well more than half a box of Mountain Prides ought to make for so much tomato sauce that we'll have to give it away. Add that on to a solid pot of coffee, a visit to an open house where the house had already been sold, a backyard cleanup, and the removal of every other floorboard in the entryway of the rancid shed — and the discovery, finally, of the standing water that we hope is making the rancid shed rancid — and let's us call this a full and thorough Sunday.

We're still hot here, and the tropics are still roiling south, but the 10-day is starting to perhaps maybe show hints of fall. It's surely not time for the yearly ordering of winter watchcaps, but that time's edging nearer. What do you want out of an early fall? Final revisions of a first book. Fits and starts of a second. Hints of the kind of weather that would make you think about jeans, about wearing socks. The kind of light we got one more time today as the afternoon cooked off into evening.

Do you want highs and lows? The official ANYLF guess lands us mid-80s and mid-60s, and though the outside afternoon ablutions ended up hot as hell, it still feels like we're on the waning side of summer, the waxing side of what comes next. Maintenance may be the way to go in the coming months: priming and painting anything that moves, scouring gutters, reclaiming the landscaping, sweeping, scraping, brush removal, and the replacing of those removed floorboards. Tarp's still on the roof. Other storms are coming, but Fay's still here. We've got all manner of things to do. Somebody ought to make a list. Somebody get me a pen.

Saturday, September 6, 2008

Tarp Nails.

Well, WeatherDog, we came through all right. We only got about an inch, so I'm not sure what kind of test that is, but the creeks didn't rise and the tarp held on. Only about an inch. Not sure that phrase has ever appeared here at ANYLF. And now it's September-yellow out there, the sun breaking through more often than not, and the light's the kind of way where you want to open up the front door and discover it isn't even seventy degrees out there, except that it's well more than that, a kind of muggy warmth, and we continue to ride right along the line between seasons.

Spent the morning reading TLK's so often lovely poems and I'm still in my robe at 1:43 in the p.m. and I'm battle-weary from having gotten up to check the ceiling at 4:30 and again at 7:45, but I've had some coffee and some breakfast and TLK and I have big plans to spend the afternoon at a local fried-food-and-cheap-beer purveyor watching the Georgias play the Central Michigans on the satellite, and then tonight I get to make some avocados and tomatoes into something good to eat, and so even though I've sent several J.Crew U-related emails today, thus violating in most ways my work-life balance, there's not that much against which to lodge complaint.

The cicadas are cranking up out there. They don't know what time of the day or year it is, either.