Tuesday, October 27, 2015

The Endless Summer

The real Endless Summer with my family in the '60's. 

You may think, “The Endless Summer” is the title of a movie about surfing. It is. It’s also an apt description of our summer. Our burning, blazing, summer with endless heat and endless sun. Our normal weather is typical, Coastal Northern California fare. Add cool, overcast days to 63 degrees with a chilly wind. Combine little to no sun and stir. You have just created the recipe for local conditions in May through August. In thirty-eight years I have seen little variation to this recipe.

The Summer of 2015 is an exception so extreme, that despite all my years of complaining about our cools summers, I have had enough. Summer in Mill Valley has been too long this year. I’m ready for fall. Not fake fall. We have the leaves changing colors and drifting gently off trees on Sycamore Avenue, but it's hard to enjoy when it's 85 degrees again. 

Like most seasons, summer started with hope and promise. I reveled in the warmth. Day after day, week after week we were blessed with pleasant temperatures and lemony bright, sunny skies. Sunny mornings, dinner outside and sleeveless dresses! What could possibly be better? I take it all back! Send the fog. The air quality is poor due to all the fires that have raged around the state, I'm surrounded on three sides by noisy construction projects and can't close the windows. I work from home and we do not have air conditioning. 
Thousands flee another heat wave at Stinson
My car is the only cool place and I can’t just ride around in the car and contribute to global warming! I read that for every mile you drive your car makes a pound of carbon dioxide. That is a statistic that has stuck with me. It now strikes me as irresponsible to sit in your car talking on the phone while the engine runs. 

Harbor Seal is treated at Marine Mammal Center
Climate change is real. The Pacific Ocean is warmer than the Atlantic now. Birds are dying in droves because the fish they feed on have had to go deeper for cooler temperatures. Marine Mammals are in distress for the same reasons. The center of the state is sinking by several inches a month because the ground water is being pumped out faster than it's being replenished. It's not being replenished at all because of the drought. This also affects the level of the oceans.

We've got scorched Earth, yet we are bracing for El Niño which will probably bring more rain than we can handle and not enough snow in the mountains which we desperately need. My clients are all scrambling to get new gutters and roofs before the rains. The promised precipitation is on the way, but it may be February until we see anything substantial. To paraphrase the song, when it rains in Northern California it pours. Man, it pours. 

California fire
Hot, cold, rainy dry, I'm going to try to not be a complainer. My daughter, Allie, makes it a policy to never complain about the weather. It's amazing. I aspire to be like her. She lived four years at UConn, several of which had prodigious snowfall, two years in Los Angeles, and now is in New York City. You will never hear anything from her about the weather.

The only time Allie was bothered by a weather related situation was when Hurricane Sandy knocked out her power for a week in 2012. She was miserable. It was horrible to have to go shower at a friends and charge her phone at the library. Too many inconveniences  while also trying to work and study. Heat  waves, ice storms, Allie won't even notice, but don't try to take away her electricity!

I will not complain, because my life is good and I did not lose my home to a fire like so many other Californians. However, I do miss my sweaters. I'd like to wear boots and jeans if they even still fit. It's been so long I wouldn't know. I'd like to drink a cup of coffee without breaking out in a sweat and perhaps build a fire on a chilly evening, but first we need a chilly evening.

October feels a bit cursed to me and this year the curse continues. I had a frightening trip to the emergency room in an ambulance due to an eyeball bleed with complicating factors. I'm better, but now my mom, on the eve of her 86th birthday, is in the hospital. Go away scary October. Bring in November. 

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