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  • A Family Visit

    My nephew Eric is here visiting this week, his first trip to the D.C. area, so I took him to see a couple of his grandparents' favorite places. First stop: The Kennedy Center, where we saw a beautiful sunset at the end of a scorching day. Second stop: A nighttime tour of the memorials.

    How hot is it? Air conditioners throughout the region are singing the same refrain: "I think I can, I think I can..." Toward the end of the tour, Eric wiped the sweat from his brow and apologized for bringing Texas with him.

  • Full of Hot Air

    To the members of Congress who stubbornly refuse to believe climate change exists, I'd like to have you over for dinner at my place tonight. We can all sit in my 86-degree home and expose our beliefs while the floor fan struggles to keep up. 


  • The 7 Dwarfs of Menopause

    Jill and I were sitting on the deck the other night, but given the summer heat and humidity, first she had to get her fan. She said it hopefully will help subdue one or more of the seven dwarves (dwarfs?) of menopause.

    Recognizing it for what it was, we then proceeded to develop a list of names. Our winners were: Sleepy, Moody, Grumpy, Sweaty, Angry, Teary and Saggy. (My vote for Crock was summarily dismissed.)

    Jill, who had come up more than half of the names, said I could post the list to Facebook as long as I didn’t include “Bitchy.” (Of course, that was the first one many of the commenters thought about when I presented it.)

    Other suggestions:

    • Is there one word to describe “sweet tooth and eating everything that isn’t nailed down”? (Hungry was a contender for a while, but it didn’t quite hit the mark the way the others did.)

    • Pissy and Forgetful are good ones too. Oh! And slaughterer of the English language

    • Divigel, estradiol, and the other dwarves.

    • Homicidal?

    • Chubby? (Not for Jill but for me!)

    • My menopause story is the opposite of Sleepy. Insomniaty.

    • Snarky? (Just missed the cut…)

  • Burn Baby Burn

    So here we are in May, less than six weeks after the end of one of the most brutal winters on record, and my house decided this week to turn into a sauna.

    Several weeks ago, I said that Mother Nature’s April Fools joke was, “Spring is coming…” And it turns out the joke is on me. Somehow, we decided to skip from snow to 90-degree temperatures in just a few short weeks, and that’s when our AC decided to bite the dust.

    We knew it would happen sooner than later, because the unit has been patched with bubblegum and bailing wire for some time now. Call it "The Sad Saga of Home Ownership" truism: Yes, when you build a home you get to move into it with all new stuff — stuff that a decade or so down the line decides to break all at once.

    In terms of repairs, we’ve been somewhat lucky, although all of the kitchen appliances decided to roll up and die within a three-month period last year. And don't get me started on home improvement, in part because I possess no handyman skills whatsoever, which apparently qualifies me to be rated 13th best in Northern Virginia. 

    I hoped this year would be limited to a new dryer, something we knew was coming because the old one belonged to Jill’s grandmother who died 20 years ago. But just weeks after agreeing to a no-interest for 18 months contract on that, we found ourselves with an air conditioner that refused to blow air. That, my friends, just blows.

    And so we found ourselves seeking more no interest financing and hoping we can pay it off before the penalty kicks in.

    Another thing you quickly learn after building a house is that builder-grade appliances are C- students at best. I posted to Facebook that my air conditioner always has reminded me of a mediocre co-worker: inefficient, cranky, not terribly productive, and doing just enough to get by.

    But just like you eventually reach the end of your rope with that co-worker, I can officially say I hope our AC burns in hell, because that would just begin to match how hot our house has been this week.

    Fortunately, temperatures have dropped to something approaching bearable over the past few days, although the storms coming in are worrisome in their own right. So what’s next? Leaks? Floods? Animals lining up two by two?

    I don’t want to even think about that last part. In fact, if it happens, I’m happy to subcontract it out. I think I know just the handyman for the job.