Friday, June 29, 2012

One Hundred.

It's still alright down in the creek bottom, which makes it sound like I live somewhere I don't—like I live somewhere with rolling hills and a half-acre of beans instead of here, in the city, snugged up to the downtown ballpark and downtown itself—but down there it's always cooler, always a little more snow, or there was, anyway, back when it snowed. Today it'll be a hundred. Probably more. Probably 103, 104, 105. Accomplished so far: early dogwalk down the hill. Seventeen gallons of water on the garden. Very hot already up here on the crown of the neighborhood. We've fifteen degrees yet to add on. Maybe twenty. Days of this coming. Hard to believe.

One wants popsicles, sprinklers, watermelon, can beer, a pool, to be ten years old, to be twenty-three again and in grad school and hunkered into the shady side of the street, to be sure of the air conditioning, a haircut, iced tea, iced coffee, a cool bath, a cold shower, ceiling fans, box fans, an open refrigerator door, one's mother's terrifying yogurt/Cool Whip pie, orange Push-Ups, the ice cream man, ice water, the chance of storms, somebody else manning the grill, a lawn chair, a Coke in a bottle, a Sprite in a bottle, some respite, some relief, some hope in sight.

87 now on my front porch. 10:07 a.m. Make ready. Bring the dogs inside.

Sunday, June 24, 2012

Tiny Beer.

Hot this morning on the way to breakfast—we take the Toad for pancakes on Sundays—and hot the rest of the day, too, though somehow less so: this morning promised apocalypse, but then by the end of the day, what seemed right was a charcoal grill and the kid in the sprinkler and a tiny beer in a tiny can. This is the summer of the half-size beer; this is the summer of trying, trying to remember that if and when days end like this, not much else is out there that matters all that much.

It's trying to rain, but not that hard. Storms holding together off to our south, where they'll slide by, and storms falling apart off to our north, where they'd get us if they weren't waning. Cicadas. Green fruit on every tomato plant. One plant trying to die but not there yet. Okra blooms. Squash for dinner. Basil. Marigolds. I sign off like this all the time. I just don't know what else to tell you.

Friday, June 22, 2012

Bumpy Ride?

Well, a kid can hope. We got a little pop-up last night around 10:30 or 11:00 that dropped half an inch or so, but this could be flash and bang to go with all that. It's been in the mid-nineties. We're owed a little something to watch from the porch, aren't we? Tiny beer? Friday? It's summer, for those of you just tuning in. It is of a sudden and without any doubt summer.

Wednesday, June 20, 2012

Longest Day.

Summer solstice. Mid-nineties. Thirsty tomatoes. Yellow death creeping in. A kid in orbit, running into the walls and bouncing off just far enough to get his speed back up again. Squash in the garden. Okra. Basil. The kid in a new school, a different school, a different idea, a new Toad, the walls, the bouncing, etcetera. He's two. It's showing. I love you, I said. I'm sorry we had a hard day. He hit me in the neck and then hugged me, which was what I wanted badly to do to him. It's trying to rain. It'll never make it. Some odd half-storm trying to hold together long enough to come in from the wrong direction altogether. The wrong side of the interstate, the wrong set of exits, all wrong, everything. If it rains, I'll take my drink out there and stand in it. I'll wake the Toad and take him to see. No. No I won't. You do not touch the child. Not even for snow. Except maybe this winter. Maybe when he's two and a half. Maybe that's when you do a thing like that. You learn to parent. You learn it every goddamn day. Every morning you start over again. Like summer. Like these high summer days. Hot from now until September. Mainly it will be hot. Every now and then, when we're very lucky, it'll rain. Just not tonight.

Sunday, June 10, 2012

Shall See.

10 June. Heavy rain in the forecast, tomatoes coming, lawn unmowed, windows finished, the Toad indoctrinated into the world of sprinklers. I'm out back with the double doors wide open, the windows fully finished and enameled, and I'm wearing jeans. It's not cool out there, and it's not that dry, either, but: How many more nights will I be able to wear jeans? Not so many.

We used to turn finally and thoroughly hot on the Fourth of July. My problem: I don't remember those days well, don't remember anymore when June was June. Combination of the Toad and the recent record, I presume.

The neighbor's 30-year-old AC just clacked off. Near-silence in the back yard. I'm gambling I'll be able to mow in the morning. If not, then Thursday at the earliest. We live tight to the bone in these parts, folks. Skin of the teeth. The Toad is two. Ice in the glass. He sleeps. We recover. It goes like this.

Friday, June 8, 2012

Second Coat.

We warmed, but not like you'd think—maybe I don't read the fancies so closely any more, but I'd expected hotter. It was sweaty staple-gunning plastic dropcloths to the door moldings I drove into the ground to protect the tomatoes from the paving dust, yes. That work, though, will always be sweaty, at least in June. Morning sun. Staple gun. Plastic sheets. The machinery bearing down from down the street. Action-thriller stuff. Dystopian, even. Somebody get us a script treatment around here. A book deal. A book club, at least.

The rest of the day? Coolish breeze under all that warm sun. Second coat of bright-white enamel on the windows. At least one more to go. Pulling the blue tape between coats because I've been too much on the interweb DIY chatboards, and the fuckers playing around in there have much time and bluster on their hands. Do it better than you can possibly conceive of or don't even get the brush off the shelf, seems to be the rule of the day. Make your own brushes. Grow your own trees from which to cut and plane your own trim.

Last of the night: the Toad hollering all the way home from 27244 about how he wanted a balloon. Then a ballgame with a Jerry Lewis impersonator. Beer. Fried pickles. Now back home with the Braves trying to give one away to the Torontos, a team we should never see except in October. Whiskey in an olive jar, summer lurking out the windows. Sleepy senile dog. Sleeping Toad. Friday. Another week survived, if only just.

Thursday, June 7, 2012

Trim Work.

Sweet baby unseasonably cool Jesus this has been a nice week. It all starts to shut down tomorrow, but this—we didn't deserve this, nobody deserved this, this was not by us the thing of which we might have been deserving—no matter. It came just the same. And yes, friends and fans of weather, my heart grew however many sizes. I'm three rolls of goddamn blue tape in on the trim out back, and this morning's coat of ultra white enamel looks like it'll need two more yet, but it's not been eighty in three days, so let's us not go in for complaint.

Except for the smell of street in the neghborhood. For seventy-two hours they've been promising to pave in the next twenty-four. Today, late, they made good. Guns and butter. Government work. Your tax dollars at play.

What else? Nothing. We orbit. We trace our lines. Sometimes something transits the sun.

Monday, June 4, 2012

Summer Breeze.

June 4th. North Carolina. All the windows out here in the shed wide open, as they were all night, ceiling fan spinning, birds, breeze—and seventy degrees. At ten in the morning. Headed for the low eighties. And then Tuesday for the mid-seventies. And don't believe this yet, friends and fans of weather, but there is growing consensus among the fancies that one of these late-week days we won't make it out of the sixties. In North Carolina. In June. Here cometh the TLK winter, that which does not come every year, so-named for my friend TLK who would, when we were in grad school, stop his life with me on such days and ride through that gray June drizzle porchbound and slightly boozy. Ten years ago now. Nearly fifteen. Enough to talk about what the weather used to do back then. As opposed to now. And yet.

Let's not ruin it with talk, though. Focus on the tasks at hand: the end of the trim for the little building out here, caulking the seams, painting all the wood brightest white. And let's not mark as a harbinger the full mug of coffee I just elbowed onto the wall and down under the subfloor—probably that won't grow mold, and probably these final few mitered joints will match up sweet and pretty. Yesterday the Toad turned two. In dog years, that makes me half-dead. But I survived. We both did. We all did. The windows are open. In June. The church bell just now says ten. That greatest of luxuries: time to get to work.