Monday, September 23, 2013

Huzzah To Fall!

Summer is over and that makes me happy. The cool weather of fall has returned and winter not far behind it. For me that means many things: beautiful cold morning runs, colorful foliage all around, aside from my runs I won't sweat, fall camping, driving with the windows down and of course school is back in session. What's not to love?

All summer long I have been looking for activities to do indoors: go to the children's museum, go to the Natural History Museum, let the boys play on the tractors at Lowe's, go to the movies and embarrassingly enough even go to the mall. It's not that I despise the longer days, the lush forest or summer holiday festivals. I actually love all of those things. But like me, my boys can sweat in a snowstorm. They don't care if they sweat, they're four and two. But I carry an extra t-shirt (and sometimes two) in the car every day of the summer if I know we are going be outside. I do this so that if we go out to eat, I won't look like a drowned rat.

I know that my dislike of the summer season is not a popular one. Anytime it comes up or I mention it, people's eyes pop out of their heads and they gasp as if I had just smacked their mother and kicked their dog. Summer is like a religion, and I understand why. We grow up looking forward to our breaks from school: fall break, winter break, spring break and the creme de la creme, the longest of the four, summer break. 

Like every other kid, I too salivated for summer. Summer was when school was out, when we took trips to the mountains or out to the Thimble Islands off of Connecticut, when I could chase lightning bugs on the golf course where my dad liked to drink, when I would go to camp and when I could basically lounge around and do or not do whatever I wanted. But back then, I could run around in the heat and humidity and it didn't matter. I don't think I sweat then like I do now, and if I did it never affected me.

But that was 25 years ago. Yeah sure, I used to go to the beaches in the summer as a teenager, but frankly, that's where the girls were and that's where my friends went. And yes it was fun, but my sweat glands had not turned into tipsy cauldrons of salty refuse yet. They were still normal then. Now I'm almost 35 and I notice when a trickle of sweat beads on my brow and even more when I feel the river go down my back, and that's just when I lock my front door. Furthermore, I don't chase girls anymore, I'm married. Nor do I go where my friends go. Sure, we still go to the beach, but I am the trench digger for the boys which is like a grave digger with a good view and shallower holes. And when we're not at the beach on vacation, it's playgrounds for us. For some reason, park designers try to capitalize on sunshine and not shade. So the boys and I are forced to submit to the heat when we do venture out in the summer. And like me 30+ years ago, the boys don't seem to mind sweating up a storm. But someone has to keep up with them and make sure they stay hydrated. I'm like a damn waterboy now!

And when we do go to the park, I am flummoxed at the people in long shirts and pants in 95+ degree heat and 99% humidity. How are you not drenched? What is wrong with your skin? Do you not drink water? Were you born in a steam bath? And when I have had the chance to make conversation with such people, they tell me 'it's not that hot out' and that 'this summer has been cool compared to others'. How can you say that to a guy in shorts and a t-shirt with a sweat-V from his collar bone to his groin...front and back?!? And it's not like I am some tubby, inactive schlubb. I run 20 miles a week, yet I sweat the same amount standing still on a playground for an hour as I do running 6 miles in the same time.

Even more so, it's all the "summertime" pictures that I see from everyone. Kids in the sprinklers, at the community pool, out at the beach, eating ice cream in the sunshine. Meanwhile, my summertime pictures are of my kids in front of the oven while I bake peach crumb cobbler, or sitting in the dark at the movies, or playing in the tee pee in our basement. It makes me feel like a hermit, and I guess I sort of am. I am the Summer Grinch.

I shared my sentiments in the description of one of my photos posted last week in Instagram, and while the picture was good, I got few likes. I'm certainly not a popular IGer, not by a stretch, but I think there were only 3-4 likes. I am certain I could have gotten more if I had applauded summer and talked about how awesome that time of year is and how I will miss it, but that would have been BS. The one comment was: "I'm the same way and felt the same. Huzzah to fall!" (thanks for a title @katemshepherd).

Yes, you have to rake leaves in the fall. And yes, I sweat a ton when I rake leaves. But if I stop raking for 20-30 minutes, I'll stop sweating too. If I stop doing yard work in the summer, the faucet never turns off, it's a constant drip at the least. I'm simply over summer and was on the third official day of summer, and not just this year but every year. So I survived another season, and I'll survive a ton more. But when we see each other, just don't tell me that it's not that hot and we'll get along just fine.  

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