Monday, June 12, 2017


I have several thoughts on days like this one. First of all, I am remembering why we Wisconsinites love our seasons: after a few months of a hot summer, you really do start thinking that fall is rather pleasant and winter is not that bad and too, there is the beauty of spring, so hey, let's not get too stuck on this summer thing. It's good, it surely has its long awaited benefits, but when it's hot -- uff! It's hot! Looking forward to when it's less hot!

And so here's my second point: I really feel enormously grateful that I live now rather than one or two hundred years ago, when Wisconsin was first "discovered" by European settlers. (My grandfather briefly was one of those, as he traveled here to work in the lumber industry when he was still a young man. He returned to Poland shortly after, but still, he endured the Wisconsin of cold winters and hot buggy summers, at least for a short period of time.)

When I come into a warm house on a day where there is an Arctic blast and, too, when I come into a cool house when the summer air is humid and the horse flies are landing on me left and right, I think -- we live in such luxury now! (Of course, I am familiar with less: I did once live with my grandparents, where there was neither electricity nor indoor plumbing, but it wasn't my burden to do the washing or to heat the house. My grandma did that for me.

My role as a grandma is different: I shoo away horse flies and I imagine ways that my granddaughter may profit from a good afternoon. But when the outside world is less than hospitable, all I have to do is open the door to the farmhouse and step into something that is as comfortable in my view as anything that may belong to the super rich. The temperature is exactly to my liking, the sofa is comfortable, the bugs stay outside.


I write this even as it's not supremely hot outside. It's very warm and sticky and there is a constant threat of a thunder shower, even as none materializes. And there is the buzz of flies -- pesky little ones and the horrid horse flies too, whose season is short but menacing.

Both Ed and I love the outdoors and we devote many many hours to working outside, but this day does not court our favor.

After a brief morning stroll and a touch up watering job on some of the newly planted stuff...

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I retreat to the porch for breakfast...

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... and here, too, we are always extremely comfortable (if things get too warm, we put out a fan).

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When I pick up Snowdrop at school, she is warm and flushed. I'm a tad surprised. Again, it's not blistering hot and, too, they had water play today -- a sprinkler that kept them nice and cool. Still, as we set out for our neighborhood stroll, I'm thinking that this is not fun. The playground will be hot. The walk itself -- too sticky and warm for comfort.

I'd been mulling over the idea of taking her to our local splash pool. (At least I call it a splash pool. The true wording is "splash pad.") It seems so perfect for a day like this and I usually travel prepared: there is a change of clothing in the car and today, I even threw in a swimsuit for her.

She seems excited by the idea. We make our way by car to the park.

Predictably, we aren't the only ones with this clever plan. The splash pad is full of splashing, running, shrieking kids -- mostly older than Snowdrop and so quite fast moving. Water spurts come out of nowhere, stopping and starting randomly, just to tease you and make you laugh.

Except that Snowdrop does not laugh.

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It's fair to say that she hates the whole set up. Oh, she tries. And despite my not wearing swim stuff, I try to wade right in with her, by way of encouragement.

But it's a no go. The water is not actually cool -- rather lukewarm. You get wet, but you still feel hot and bothered - by the noise, the sun, the tumult, pretty much everything, especially if you're Snowdrop.

Her cheeks turn a deep pink (despite the gobs of sun screen), her eyes lose their happy glow.
Do you want to go home to the farmhouse?
Yes! Please!

And then, just because she felt a little cheated -- where is the pool? There is no pool!

She's right of course. It's not a splash pool. It's a pad.

At the farmette, she is so discouraged that she wants to retreat inside. I'm a little reluctant to call our time outside a complete failure and so I coax her toward her own little wading pool.

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I can see her slowly get interested in play again.

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And by the time Ed and the cheepers join us, she is one happy child once more.

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(Even if I do have to chase away the horse flies... That's what grandmas do: they chase away the flies in life.)

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After a robust period of play, where she dumps huge buckets of water on us and in retaliation Ed dumps huge buckets of water on her, we retreat to the ever perfect farmhouse, where the air is just exactly right on this summer-like afternoon.

Honestly, we are a lucky people to live in the comforts of this age. Just so very lucky!

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