STORM OF THE CENTURY – EVIL SQUIRREL’S NEST

This is a great story and it’s also true! This is peak baseball season. Time for some thrills and chills that have absolutely nothing to do with politics! From the inimitable Evil Squirrel’s Nest, I give you …

STORM OF THE CENTURY!

Evil Squirrel's Nest

Mother Nature's always at her worst when I go to a ballgame. Mother Nature’s always at her worst when I go to a ballgame.

If you happen to be one of those weird people who actually keep track of my weekly picture dayfeatures, then you’re probably looking at your squirrel calendar right now wondering if it’s really Wednesday already.  No… calm down.  It’s still just Tuesday.  If you have a stereotypical job, you’ve got another three and a half days to toil away yet before the next weekend.  I decided to run Picture Day a day early this week because I wanted to commemorate the night I had a front row seat to the most wicked weather event this city’s seen in my lifetime… and that occurred ten years ago today on July 19, 2006.

It was just another Wednesday night at the ballpark for me… it was also the one game each year my Mom tags along to.  Which is good, because…

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UNEXPECTED WEATHER?

You can’t expect the weather … except … you really can. It’s unexpectedly hot around here. But it’s summer, so this unexpected heat wave was entirely expected and is completely normal.

The electric company apparently didn’t expect it and have gotten quite hysterical about the whole thing. You’d think it was their homeowner customers who created this emergency by our derelict over-usage of electricity. It’s not the mall which refrigerate the entire space to 65 degrees when it’s 100 outside. Oh no, never the commercial customers.

Meanwhile, it’s freaking HOT and the humidity is up there too. A couple of days ago with this weather visible on the map and the television meteorologists getting all excited, National Grid swung into action. It has been a pretty dull weather period, more notable for what isn’t happening (rain) than what is, namely muggy, gray days during which it looks like rain, but doesn’t.

National Grid started sending out (pardon the pun) heated warnings.

I got the first two via email, then two more via early morning robot calls.

Turn down your air conditioning to 78 degrees! Avoid high bills! Don’t stress our power grid. (Subtext: We need all the power to keep malls at 65 degrees. You homeowners are not big customers, so you can sit at home wheezing and sweating.)

If I turn the A/C to 78 degrees in this house, the humidity will turn our home into mold city.

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In the spirit of coöperation — and in hopes of not getting an electric bill that will knock me off my feet — I turned it up to 75 degrees. This is an older house without central air. Just window A/C. and even that, not in every room. We don’t cool rooms we don’t use much. Which is, to put it mildly, not as efficient as we might wish. It’s all we’ve got and summer is short. Our A/C units are less than two years old, so this is as good as it will get here.

By the time evening rolled around, the house was disgusting. We were disgusted.

Sticky. Hot. Everything was damp, especially us. The dogs wouldn’t sleep on the sofas, preferring the hard floors where it’s cooler. They’ll go outside only if threatened. Even so, they were throwing us dirty looks which hadn’t been washed this century.

By nine in the evening, I looked at Garry and said “How hot are you?”

“Bad,” said Mr. I Love Summer. “How are you doing?”

“I’m miserable,” I said. “I was thinking — damn National Grid. I can’t breathe!” I have asthma. The humidity was making my lungs work a double shift.

I turned the air conditioning to a more breathable 73. After an hour, air returned to the house.

I’m betting the people who write electrical usage “guidelines” are not sitting and sweating in their houses. I bet they have central A/C set for their personal comfort. They are not sweating out the heat wave. I know power is an issue, but so is quality of life.

Flash message for guideline issuers: OLDER PEOPLE TOLERATE HEAT POORLY.

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That’s right. You get older and your body is not as efficient at regulating core temperature as it was in youth. Those of us with other physical stuff, like arthritis, asthma and heart problems? Our ability to tolerate days of sitting in heat and humidity is dangerous to life and the continuation thereof.

I’m sure I’ll get the bill for this mad, crazy need to breathe. The bill alone might give me a stroke. Right now, I don’t care. I just want some air.

DAILY POST | UNPREDICTABLE?

SKY OF BLUE, SKY OF GRAY

Yesterday came; yesterday went. I filled out my papers, got fitted for a crown on the surviving forward molar. Throughout the long day, the sky was bright and blue. This morning, gray has returned … and we’ve got something that’s surely “going around.”

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I should have recognized yesterday’s mood as not entirely a reaction to stuff I didn’t want to do. I was coming down with something, which, by last night, had manifested as a headache that won’t quit, chills, and a sore throat. Garry was several hours and a few symptoms ahead of me.

Where do we pick this stuff up? And so fast, too. Today, I woke up with the same headache and sore throat with which I went to bed. We’ll just cancel any plans we had for the day. None is time-stamped.

I sure do wish I could zap this headache, though.

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Why does the color of the sky so much affect our moods? Have you noticed that a bright blue sky makes you feel happy … but a dull, gray one tends to dampen the joy? Is this a built-in reflex? A programmed response that’s part of our DNA? It seems to be nearly universal to human beings … so perhaps.

DAILY POST | SKY

POLITICS, WEATHER, AND LAST HURRAH SONGS – GARRY ARMSTRONG

I promised Marilyn I’d write a little something to ease her burden of SERENDIPITY blogs. It’s difficult to be prolific and creative. I recall that dilemma from my TV news days. It’s a grind turning out daily, quality pieces.

My mind is a whirling dervish of loose marbles, some of which also contain the germ of an idea.

I’ve had enough of presidential politics for a while. My hearing aids are on overload. The Donald’s clown car needs a lube job. Hillary and Bernie need to tone it down and treat themselves to a spa weekend. Together. Maybe spend a little time reminiscing about the good old days in the Senate.

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Politics has taken a temporary back seat to violent weather conditions disrupting many parts of the country. Those of us whining about dreary, endless rain would do well to look at regions battling killer fires, floods, and tornadoes.

The violent weather reminds me about the fragility of life. It also, in the dark recesses of my mind, reminds me of funerals and the music of such solemn gatherings. Weddings and funerals are big deals. They bring people together. Funerals can be awkward. Old animosities are suspended while the deceased are mourned. Music soothes the depressed, the craven, and those barely keeping it together.

I was at my best covering funerals during my years as a TV news reporter. I was allowed to stir the pot of sentimentality. Music was always the key. One time, I covered the last hurrah of a politician who was rumored to have had shady dealings in his past. Shocking, of course. Many were cynical about the praise heaped upon this scion of local politics. In this instance, I chose the high ground. My report was dominated by close up shots of grieving family, friends and colleagues.

I selected the Boston Irish favorite, “Galway Bay” as the music to dominate my piece. We ended the report with the casket being carried out of the cathedral into a gray, overcast day with the strains of “Galway Bay” echoing to the fade out.

I was lauded by many for providing just the right, sensitive touch for a man who was both adored and jeered in his lifetime. Music bridged the chasm.

I’ve given lots of thought about the music for my last hurrah. I’m a card-carrying sentimentalist. It juxtaposes with my cynicism. So,  I have a suggested play list for my final appearance on center stage as I begin the big sleep.

My favorites include “Nearer My God To Thee”, “Amazing Grace”, “Abide With Me”, “In The Garden”, “Shall We Gather By The River” and “Beautiful Savior” (my Mom’s favorite which my youngest brother plays at all his concerts).

The ringer could be “Happy Trails” because I’ll be riding the high country with my heroes – who have always been cowboys.

HOPING AGAINST HOPE

Back in the golden olden days, hope had two meanings: “wished for” and “expectation,” the latter meaning being (mostly) obsolete though we still use it. For example, “I would hope your future plans include a college education” which from a parent really means “I expect you to go to college, young lady!”

Today, “hoping-against-hope” would loosely translate to mean “Who — against expectation (logic and reason) — nonetheless believes that the thing(s) he/she hoped for will (still) happen?”

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Right now, I am hoping against hope that the rain will pause and let the sun shine for at least a little while. It has been a full week of rain.

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Chilly and damp, I’m sure the earth is happy for the moisture. I’m grateful to have the rivers and our well filled. Even so, couldn’t we fit a little sunshine into the mix? Just a bit?

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Our dogs have been extra cheerful since the rain started. I don’t know what that means, since they don’t like rain and are afraid of thunder. But, they’ve been in a super good mood since the first downpours on Sunday.

I asked them (several times and I was very respectful) what’s happening, but they have not been forthcoming.

Daily Post: Hope

CONTRAST: SPRING TO WINTER AND BACK AGAIN

CONTRAST: SPRING TO WINTER AND BACK AGAIN IN LESS THAN A WEEK

It’s snowing again today. Like yesterday, but more steadily. A fine, dry snow that means business. None of the fat, wet flakes that are decorative, but frivolous — for snow. We had a veterinarian appointment today for Gibbs and Bonnie.

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I looked out the window, realized I was not going to even try wrangling two Scotties into the car, then drive on slippery roads (they don’t plow this time of year; they let nature take its course) for an hour (usually half an hour; longer with ice and snow).

Especially since it’s not an emergency visit. It can wait a week.

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It’s gotten cold out there. Yesterday felt like joke, not to be taken seriously. Temperature rose into the forties before the snow stopped falling. Essentially, it was all gone before nightfall.

Not today.

Today it has that grey, grim sky thing happening that say “I’m gonna get you, sucker!”

When I called the vet, I started by saying “I bet you won’t be surprised when I say I’d like to reschedule today’s appointments.”

“Not at all,” she said. She was laughing.

Weather report

“This is so wrong,” I said.

“I know,” she said. “It’s like Mother Nature felt that winter wasn’t bad enough, so she decided to give us a bit more, just so we didn’t feel cheated.”

A couple of days ago, my woods looked ready to bloom.

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March 31, 2016

March 30, 2016

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April 2, 2016

The forsythia were beginning to bloom.

Now … how about today and yesterday?

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The Vernal Equinox came. You can’t argue with the Equinox. It happens and the earth literally shifts into the tilt towards warm weather. Polar Vortex, be gone! Your time has passed.

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By next weekend, it will be over, finally and fully.

A week from today, the Red Sox will open their season at Fenway Park. Play ball!

SNOW? REALLY? SERIOUSLY?

What? It’s spring, isn’t it? Just yesterday, I was looking at the fat buds on the daffodils and noticing that the forsythia has started blooming.

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It was hard to believe the forecast. Snow? Really? High winds? Really? Easter is over. Is this a joke?

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More is expected tomorrow. After that, can we please settle down and “do spring?” Like a normal place?