Archives for category: weather

     The warm weather has many oppressing effects on me. I’m one who rarely wears a winter coat during the appropriate season. Until the temperature is below zero, I’m just fine in my light jacket.

     It seems no matter what the temperature, year round, if I move at all to do work, I’m soon drenched in sweat.

     But, the worst affect is the olfactory assault. The heat seems to hold smells and stench closer to the ground. During the most recent heat wave, I realized my car reeked.

     I have been on several car trips since I retired in April. These excursions require drinks and snacks. The snacks often leave detritus that I may be slow to clean from my vehicle. Often the debris is a banana peel, which does necessitate quick removal before the aroma permeates my van.

     The smell of banana remnants usually nudges me to change the garbage bag. It does not present an affront to my schnoz, but a gentle reminder that I might want to take out the trash.

     About two weeks ago, I realized my car had a pervasive stench. I removed and replaced the trash bag but still, the smell slapped me in the face each time I got into the van. It was not pleasant. As the temperature rose over 90, the odoriferousness occupied nasal passages presenting oppressive options. Since the air conditioning in my 2001 vehicle ceased to work many moons ago, the smell enveloped me each time I drove. Ewwww!

     Then, another vehicle vendetta resulted in the discovery of the exasperating miasma.

     I always listen to audiobooks in my auto, no matter how short the trip. As I turned into a local parking lot last week, my factory-installed CD player finished playing the first disc in the 4-CD changer and attempted to automatically move to disc number two. I waited to turn off the engine until the transition was complete. It did not happen.

     The display indicated ERR and the second disc would not play. The second disc would not come out either. It whirred and whirled, but no CD was ejected. I tried the other discs, but saw the same ERR.

     Since it was an inter-library loan through my local library my next stop was the library where the reference librarian Googled my issue and told me to, “Hold both the disc button and the power button down at the same time for 10 seconds and see if that will work.”

     I tried and failed. I called Husband. He suggested I look in the owner’s manual (duh!) He would also go out and look at his similarly equipped van and would call me back.

     I did not hear back from him immediately so I reported my failure at the reference desk. It was time to go home. I’d had enough of waiting around; the heat was getting to me.

     On the way home, I decided it was hot enough I could spoil myself (and salvage the rough day) by getting a shake at a fast food drive through. While waiting for my drink, I tried the librarian’s suggestion again and VOILA! Disc two was in my hand.

     I tried the other three discs to no avail. At least I had gotten the “troublemaker” out. The others could wait until Husband got home from work.

     When the two of us got into the car to check out the CDs and CD player, the first thing Husband said was, “Boy! Your car sticks!”

     “Tell me about it.”

     He suggested I might want to get one of those hanging air fresheners.

     I explained that I had emptied the garbage and still the stench was omnipotent.

     We redirected our energies to the CD player and soon had discs three and four in our hot little hands. Still, no matter how hard we tried, we could not get disc one – the only one that I had played – to eject.

     The next day, July 4th, I drove to Michigan to visit and celebrate with my mother and siblings, including my very mechanically and automotively-inclined baby brother.

     I presented my issue to him and we walked out to the car to see what could be done. Soon he was teasing me, as six-foot two, 56-year-old baby brothers are wont to do. “Are you sure there’s a disc in there?”

     “Yes.”

     He went to his car and came back with four CDs. He put one in each slot of my player. They all played. Beautifully.

     I called Husband, who had stayed home, to check the box of CDs to make sure the first CD was not in the box. It was not.

     Since I was in the passenger seat, I took the opportunity to lean over and look under the driver’s seat for something I had misplaced in the past few weeks. I did not find what I was looking for, but, I did find something else.

     Not quite under the driver’s seat, but at the edge of the right side was a Kroger plastic bag with something in it. The opening was tied in a knot. The package squished when I touched the bottom. I knew instantaneously the Case of the “Olfactory Offense” was closed.

     A few weeks prior, we had used my van, because all the seats were available for occupants, to take the dog for a  walk. Being conscientious dog walkers, we clean up after our dog. Unfortunately our clean-up only lasted from the walk to the van and there it had stopped – to torment me for weeks. It warmed to unbelievable levels during the week long heat wave.

     I removed the bag from the van and was polite enough to ask my sister if she had garbage, other than in her kitchen, where I could make a deposit.

     It didn’t take long for much more acceptable scents to tickle my nose.

     Oh, and the CD?

     Husband took the entire player apart where we could see the disc jammed in the back. A short time later, the CD was back in the case.

     Two cases solved proving being dogged would present resolutions.

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     The Rolling Stones song “You Can’t Always Get What You Want” comes to mind because of recent food experiences.

     This refrain started at the diner where I’ve visited almost every Wednesday for more years than I care to admit.  Their traditional special on Wednesday’s is meat loaf. I love meat loaf, hence the van automatically turns into the restaurant’s parking lot on Wednesday. Shortly after the official start of spring I drove there, slid into my customary booth and asked which vegetable came with the meat loaf this week. I was stunned to be told there would be no more meat loaf until the weather turned cool again in the fall. The sales of meat loaf had recently been dismal. In recent weeks, they had too much leftover.

     This was heresy. They could make meat loaf sandwiches the next day. How about freezing the leftovers and defrosting some for me the next week? Make a smaller loaf? After all, this was a tradition from previous owners.

     My protests drew no sympathy nor no meat loaf.

     A few weeks later, a friend and I visited another local eatery. Despite the calendar proclaiming the month as April the temperature was akin to January. I stepped to the counter and asked about the soup of the day. Again, my logic was affronted by the announcement that soups wouldn’t be served again until the fall.

     I commented that I understood that the season was spring, but the temperature… Again, as at the other establishment, my protests of climate logic gained me nothing. Where was the sense in this? I would not wear a pair of shorts and a tank top just because it was April while the temperature was cold enough for snow.

     Last week, the heat wave presented other conundrums.

     My husband worked his typical day off during the 90+ temperature. I called him at work and suggested we go out to eat. We decided on Olive Garden. We had not eaten there in many months, but we, including our son, could all find something on the menu each would enjoy. There was only one concern here: the salad.

     Olive Garden typically brings a large bowl of salad drenched with dressing to the table. Neither my husband nor our son put anything on their salads. I explained this to our waiter who quickly promised that he would leave the dressing off and bring me sides of salad dressing.

     Once the salad arrived, my son took personal possession of the salad tongs and asked me, “Do you want the hot peppers?” I did. I would also take the black olives that neither of them wanted. Trey dished these into my salad bowl. I reminded him that I didn’t want any croutons. Those go to Bill, my husband.

     I thought of Jack Spratt who could eat no fat and his wife could eat no lean. Between them both, they licked the platter clean. We did similarly with the various components in the salad bowl.

     A few days later, again in the heat, I decided it was mandatory to have a Jamoca shake. I pulled into the drive-through lane and placed my order. When I pulled around to the window, I was shocked to see that the shake was topped with a mountain of whipped cream protected by a crown of a clear domed top. This was not the appearance of my last (months ago) shake.  I do not eat whipped cream. Not on ice cream. Not on pumpkin pie. Not in the car. Nowhere by far.  The young lady made me another shake, but from her facial expression, I felt as if I should have known about the change in their procedures. How? Osmosis? Sheesh.

     All these food politics are making me hotter under the collar. I should bottle that up for now and bring it out next spring when I want something hot and it isn’t available again.

A long time former neighbor was turning 90, so his children planned a big party. My entire family traveled from points near and far to Ohio to help with the celebration. My sister, Sue, drove from North Carolina and I made the two-hour trek.

I drove up on Friday. The day was sunny. The display in my car showed the ambient temperature as 75º. I wore a long sleeve shirt, to protect my window-side arm from the sun. My windbreaker was thrown on the passenger seat since the forecast was for a continuation of the weather roller coaster the Midwest has been experiencing this winter.

The constantly changing weather — in northwest Ohio, in south central Ohio and in central North Carolina — was a topic of conversation.

Sue mentioned her early blooming flowers. I seconded that by mentioning the shoots sprouting from the soil on the campus where I work. Cathy, the non traveler, commented that even Mr. Freeze had opened early (February?).

Mr. Freeze!

Mr. Freeze is the soft ice cream place in the suburb where I lived for 20 years, 21 years ago. Heck with the calendar, it was the opening of Mr. Freeze that designated the start of spring.

I lived less than a mile from the confectioner, so a walking-the-dog often turned into a stop for ice cream. That dog just pulled us in that direction. We never complained.

The lines, especially on a hot day, were long, stretching into the too small parking lot.

The amount of ice cream in a baby cone would satisfy a family of kids. On one occasion, I witnessed a man from Fostoria (about one-hour south) receiving his medium-sized ice cream and exclaiming, “Wow! If the place in Fostoria gave this amount of ice cream, they’d go broke!”

During the weekend, the temperature plummeted. My jacket was necessary and others commented that it would not be warm enough for the wind and snow that had developed.

Sunday morning, I decided to fill my gas tank before hopping on the expressway for the ride to my present home. Because of highway improvements, I could not get to the gas station the way I did previously. My detour took me right past Mr. Freeze.

I looked at the temperature. It was 32º. Freezing. I’d been hankering for ice cream since before “Mr. Freeze” had originally been mentioned. Why not? When would I be back again. A tin roof (vanilla ice cream topped with Spanish peanuts and chocolate syrup) would be a comforting companion for the long ride home.

Sunday morning, in February, 11 15 a.m., 32 degrees. And I still stood in line! Granted there was only one family in front of me, but there were two mini lines.

I approached the window, asked for a tin roof and was asked, “What size?”

Seeing my bafflement, she placed three styrofoam cups on the counter — small (6 oz.) regular (16 oz.) and large (I have NO idea). I chose the regular.

Ah! Memories of my grandmother making us tin roofs and the chocolate covered ice cream kept me company from Perrysburg to Cygnet — the length of Wood County.

Yep. It was worth it.

Every.

Single.

Calorie.

It wasn’t really a month and a half ago that I last wrote a post, was it? (Yes, Linda, it was.)

It’s not for a shortage of ideas that I haven’t written. It’s just once again, I’ve let summer get away from me. The older I get, the faster time (and therefore, summer) goes. This allows me to explain my hour glass explanation. When one first turns over the hour glass, all the sand is at the top. If one watches, one will see the trickle of sand seeping through the hole to the bottom of the glass, but it doesn’t seem to affect the mound of sand in the top of the glass. However, when the grains are few in the top, it is hard to dismiss how little time is left. Just like aging.

For most of the time this summer, I have holed up with the window air conditioning unit in our bedroom. I. Do. Not. Do. Heat. I’m the one who wanted to move to Alaska. I love winter. My favorite sport while I was growing up was figure skating. One can always put more on to warm up, but comes to a point that nothing more can be taken off and it is still hot. (Sorry for that visual.)

Yesterday some friends and I went to the final concert at the museum. For four Fridays at the end of summer, the Springfield Symphony sponsors music at lunch time. The performance was Good Vibes, a quartet composed of a vibraphone, drums, electronic string bass, and an electric 6-string guitar.

I checked my Fitbit for the time seconds before the music started. I held the button a tad too long and also saw that I had only about 450 steps logged.

At the end, I checked the time again and purposefully checked the number of steps accumulated. I announced to my friends, “I gained 500 steps sitting, listening to the music!” Music literally and figuratively moves me. I don’t even sit still listening to symphonies. I conduct.

As long as I’m talking movement, I am going to take credit for most of the U.S.A. Olympic swim team’s medals. I sit in my recliner in the air conditioned bedroom and move my body to help push and prod the swimmers to glory. I’m glad no one is able to see the choreography I do in my chair.

There’s one more week of Olympics. What sport shall I move on to next? Perhaps Women’s Beach Volleyball? They’re doing pretty well without me. Perhaps I should have watched more of the Women’s Soccer.

Not only did the temperatures warm enough to give me the tease of summer, but I saw two more indicators that we will soon be shedding winter coats if not jackets. First was a restored 1965 Chevy pickup truck complete with historical plates. Most vintage vehicles hibernate to avoid the potentially deadly combination of snow and road salt.

The second sign proved there are optimists. Dueling garage sales, advertised in the newspaper, meant someone believed the weather forecasters much earlier in the week than even me and my rose-colored glasses.

I noticed the garage sales en route to a series of medical tests, including a mammogram. As anyone who has one will likely testify, there is nothing pleasant about having a body part squeezed into a clamp with one’s body in an unnatural position. I also have been having “issues” with my right arm for which I started physical therapy this week.

I wasn’t dreading the mammogram, I just figured letting the attending medical personnel know my needs and everything would be o.k. As it turned out, the pinching machine was more pleasant than the humans who ran the machines.

The mammogram technician started barking orders before I could explain that I would do what she wanted if she told me ahead of time and gave me the time to get myself in position. That didn’t seem to go over well since I soon felt that I was being pushed and prodded into place before words were spoken about lifting an arm, bending the back, moving my chin, etc., etc., etc.

The experience continued with the X-Ray technician. Push, prod, probe, poke. Pass on to next tester.

Finally, a human being with a smile on her face and a demeanor that restored my humanness, the ultrasound technician. She tried to slowly and painlessly remove a bandage someone else placed in my armpit over a suspicious spot. Originally it felt as if she was trying to pull hairs. I didn’t know there was a bandage there and told her to just do it quickly.

“Are you sure?”

“Yes.”

The only disappointment to this final test was when I asked her, “Is it a boy or a girl?” I was rewarded with a chuckle, but when asked, she admitted that I wasn’t the first to ask that question. She did admit the previous jokesters were usually male. (Oh, and she told me it was twins – one of each.)

I received good news before I left the facility. Good enough to put the spring into my step.

The name of a rock group of the late 1960s to mid 1970s allowed me to learn the terminology for a really, really cold night. The name of the band, of course, is Three Dog Night.

The explanation is that the colder the night, the more dogs needed to keep the bed warm.

I don’t think “zero dog night” works for summer, so I’ve been searching for a way to designate the heat of this particularly torrid summer.

After much experimentation, I have come up with the banana scale.

The hotter the forecast, the fewer the bananas I purchase, especially if the fruit is prime for eating when purchased. Let’s face it – this summer has been so hot that green bananas can turn brown by the time we travel from the store to home.

Last week a local store had bananas on sale for 44¢ a pound, 10¢ a pound less than the other stores in town.  I was happy to see the display included both prime for eating and bananas displaying various shades of green. I could buy a few bananas for immediate digestion and purchase some green ones and hopefully, with the weather’s cooperation, would be prime for eating by the end of the first bunch.

I bought a ready-to-eat bunch of about 5 bananas and a hand of six to ripen before eating.

How did I do?

Well, I gambled a bit.

The real unknown in the banana equation is not the fruit nor the weather. It’s Son. I never know when he is going to partake. It seems he most often decides he is hungry for one when that is exactly the number that are left in the house.

Many in the world need a morning cup of coffee to start the day; I need my morning banana. It’s not nice to mess with Mother’s banana, but I love him (Son) so, I forgive him when he eats the last one.

The purchased green bananas were perfect for ingesting when the first bunch was just a memory. Then the heat came back. I still have four bananas left and they are quickly approaching nut bread status.

That could work, too.

Cooler weather is predicted for the next few days. I should be able to eat one or two more leaving the perfect amount of the perfect ripeness to be an ingredient in a freshly baked banana nut bread.

Then, I know Son will be happy to help eat the last of the bananas.

Sounds like it’s going to be a three banana Friday.

It is almost 11 p.m. The weatherbug program is showing me that the temperature is a scalding 91 degrees Fahrenheit. In addition, weatherbug has been tweeting at me all night (not to be confused with sending me tweets). The program chirps when there is a weather notification from the weather bureau.

It’s trying to tell me it’s hot.

Duh!

As my dinner was cooking in the oven (why didn’t that frozen fish have microwave directions?), I started a load of laundry. After Jeopardy, I hung the laundry on the line. To clarify, I hung the laundry on a clothes line at 8 p.m. Yes, the sun was on it’s way down, but I felt the grass under the line was extending it’s tongue to slurp any moisture off the wet clothes.

Unfortunately, by the time I was done hanging the clothes, I was wetter and dripping more than the clothes. I needed to be hung out to dry.

I would be hot under the collar except that I’m wearing a T-shirt. Not my favorite style of clothing to wear, but the lighter fabric, the better the wicking.

I would like to beat the heat, but that implies too much physical activity. But, I will beat it to a room with air conditioning instead.

I stopped at the Springfield library this afternoon and was astonished at how full the parking lot was. Normally there is generous amounts of parking spaces available. I decided there were many smart people taking advantage of the air conditioned library.

Okay, I’m going to hang one more load of laundry. At least at this time of night I only have to worry about  getting a moon burn.