“It’s hot! I can’t get cool; I’ve drunk a quart of lemonade. I think I’ll take my shoes off and sit around in the shade. It’s hot! My back is sticky. The sweat rolls down my chin. I think I’ll take my clothes off and sit around in my skin. It’s hot! I’ve tried with electric fans, and pools and ice cream cones. I think I’ll take my skin off and sit around in my bones. It’s still hot!” The poem “It’s Hot”, which appears in Shel Silverstein’s collection of poems and drawings — A Light in the Attic (1981).

Ah, the blessed winter months. When the temperatures drop and everything that might require trimming and tending dies. Chilly? You can always slip on another layer… and then another. Then wrap up in a blanket with a cup of cocoa for good measure. Ah cozy.

But now, the accursed months of summer are upon us. Apologies to those who crave the warmer months. But damn even you complain when the unmoving air grows thickly stagnant, and the heat is like a persistent pestering pressurized presence pressing ponderously upon your person. Slip into a tank top and shorts, but naked is ground-zero and not publicly acceptable.

True escape from the heat means staying indoors and a lot of AC action. Sweating is not a spectator sport. So, unless it’s overcast and breezy, once the temp climbs into the upper 80’s I’m out… or back in… or don’t come out… Unless it involves being in a body of water. Preferably a pool or the ocean. Our local lakes and rivers are kinda gross (see past anti-litter article) but will do in a desperate pinch. Ouch! Why hast thou pinched me… I wasn’t that desperate!

Now that we’ve set the season in all its miserable majesty, let’s set the stage… and try to stay in the shade whilst doing so.

Freelance writing does not pay the bills. More of a hobby than an occupation. Ergo a regular day job is required for survival basics like food, shelter and streaming Wi-Fi access. So, for 8+ hours a day, 5+ days a week, a factory becomes a second home away from home. Neither glamorous or glorious but steady and consistent and coming with a few minor perks. Such as a paid week’s vacation for Xmas and the 4th of July.

Normally these weeks are sacred, savored and spent wisely. Afterall what is time-off but a test drive for retirement… sigh retirement (I play the lotto sometimes and dream). In addition to practicing for not having to rise at 4:45 every morning, these weeks are great for getting caught up on home improvements… normally. But this past week wasn’t normal.

It’s hard to find motivation when every time you step out the door the heat punches you in the face. And it seemed that everything that need be done required going… out there. Or letting out there in.

Need to work on the barn. Ah yes, a heat conducting tin roof and it’s a sweltering thousand billion degrees in the shade — no thank you. The bushes need a trim, and some of the trees need pruning. Umm it’s shady over there hello-oh and hell no-oh. The grass must be cut. Umm let’s hit that this evening and pray for afternoon thunder boomers in the meantime.

What about that painting? Rooms and hallway, not Picassos. Well, you’ll have to open the windows for ventilation and the out-there will get in-here. Replacing that one window with paneling? Oh, so rather than opening some for venting take one completely out? Insane much? Well how about… NO, sorry there is nothing else viable at this time.

So, we just sit around and do a whole lot of nothing… for an entire week? That looks to be about the size of it. Okay that’s cool and the only way to stay that way. But what about the guilt? The guilt? Yes, the residual guilt of spending an entire week doing nothing?

Yeah, there is that. So much to do and actual time to do some of it wasted. Well, it is “residual guilt”, so it only comes towards the week off’s end, so maybe that’s okay. Sure, it’s good to stay busy but every now and again it’s okay to sit back and enjoy what’s already done.

I welcome almost all questions, comments via FOCUS, or E-mail me at [email protected].

Hope to hear from ya until then try and stay focused! See ya.