Tuesday, August 23, 2011

These Are Days

I hate to say goodbye to this summer. Although a Minnesota September can include a couple of warm, not completely un-summery weeks at its start, we all know the summer truly ends when the pool closes. Which, sadly, is three days from now.*

There were warning signs: most notably, the occasional red or brown oak leaf spied floating in the swimming pool (and Bee’s attempts to pluck those leaves out of the water and cram them, crumbling, into her mouth). And in the waning days of the outdoor swimming season, there are other signs: the exuberant kids in swim-goggles seem a smidge less well-behaved, as if possessed by some unholy instinct to raise as much hell as possible before school resumes. Plus, the lifeguards (who, as my father-in-law aptly noted, are mere children themselves!) seem, generally speaking, to give slightly less of a shit. In the midst of this maelstrom, Bee and I have soaked up the next-to-last rays of sunshine in our suits and sunhats. Many times, I’ve wrapped Bee in a big, soft beach towel and nursed her quietly in the sunshine. It has been so very sweet.

Now I’m contemplating, only slightly prematurely and neurotically, the cold weather that will eventually come. Last winter having sucked so unreservedly, I’m feeling kind of gloomy about the onset of cooler weather followed by REALLY, REALLY FREAKING COLD WEATHER. And snow – oh, God, I don’t even want to think about the snow. Worse yet: although Ben and I find repellent the idea of owning a second car, I’m starting to think it’s the only realistic way for me to avoid being trapped in the house with a one-year-old from November through April, because in our town many sidewalks, and especially the corners near intersections, are virtually impassable when there’s ice and snow on the ground – which is to say, at least five months a year. Some folks don't or can't shovel their walks, and the town's snowplows can't really help but leave giant ice-mounds at intersections. So walking anywhere with a baby in one’s arms is actually kind of dangerous, and I probably needn’t point out that use of a stroller in snowy, icy, unshovelled conditions is not viable. So… I guess we either stay inside all winter, or else we find a used Civic on Craigslist.

Speaking of reluctantly blowing a bunch of cash in order to survive the winter, I’ve decided that the time has come for me to invest in some serious fleece pants and microfiber underthings. You know, like these and these and, ooh, this right here. What’s funny is, the last time I invested in winter warmies of this kind was 2001 or so, and it was in preparation for an Outward Bound trip, if you can even believe that. Me! Mountaineering! Pathfinding! Rappelling down the sheer face of a cliff! Oh, Young Me, I tip my hat to you.

Anyway, those warm clothes, purchased for a crazy adventure in my plucky twenties, did right by me for over a decade. I still have them and I still wear them. Now, though, they’re covered in paint and ink from countless late nights in my studio, and I kind of think I shouldn’t wear them outside of the house anymore (bright side: studio pants!). So I’m trying to screw up the courage to shell out $150 on thermal underwear and such. I have to make provisions now that summer is nearly over, you see (audible sigh). And this time the reason I’m buying outback-grade clothing is not because I'm going to be participating in another wilderness expedition any time soon ever again, but simply because I live in a ridiculous climate. Who would have predicted this back when Ben and I were happily trotting around temperate Seattle wearing band t-shirts and slurping Americanos on Fifteenth? Shit, I didn’t even own a winter coat back then -- at least, not a real one. I definitely did have some sassy vintage things trimmed in faux-fur, but these were coats that would have pretty much led to my death if I'd tried to wear them in Minnesota in winter. And here I am now, a matronly Midwesterner looking for a good deal on fleece pants.

Next time, Dear Reader: more bitching about the climate, and further regrets about the closing of the swimming pool. You won’t want to miss it!
Okay, but, no, seriously, I might have some knitting photos next time.

* But you’ll surely be relieved to know that we have exactly enough swim diapers left to go swimming every day this week. High five!