Saturday, July 7, 2012


It is way too fucking hot.

Before you say anything, yes, I realize it is July, and yes, I realize I voluntarily live in the South.  In my defense I live in the upper border of the south, and we're often politely included in the "Mid-Atlantic Region", but right now, I'm not able to tell that we're there and not in the pits of the hell that is the state of Georgia.  Sorry if you're offended by that, but I lived in Augusta for four years and all I remember is heat, rattlesnakes, fire ants, and the promise I made to my six-year old self that once I got out I'd never live there again.  So far, so good.

I do have some interesting memories from that time-including one where a rattlesnake was in a neighbor's tree, and the wife called my mom to come get it out.  This probably seems odd, but when all the men were at work, my mom was the closest thing to a guy my neighborhood had.  The women there were Junior Leaguers who wore hose and full makeup to go to the mailbox.  To say my mom didn't fit in is possibly the greatest understatement in the history of time.  She ran, she wore shorts and sneakers to the grocery store, and despite my dad making a perfectly generous salary, insists on wearing t-shirts she got for free until they quite literally fall apart at the seams and/or my dad throws them out.  She didn't hide insults in compliments, she had no time to sit over iced tea and gossip, and she worked.  Probably the biggest scandal was that her best friend, and my godmother, was black, and if you think the South was integrated in the sixties, then you weren't in Augusta in the eighties.  She also, trust me on this one, was not afraid to use less ladylike methods than they did in corralling her four kids.  She seemed to take in the situation she'd found herself in, and rather than attempt to blend, set out to stand out even more.  She planted a herd of pink flamingos in the front lawn, and decorated our house like Vegas for Christmas with the sole intent of pissing off the neighborhood wannabe Southern elite set.  She also acquired a strange flock of poultry that terrorized the neighborhood and more than once ended up swimming in the neighbor's pool.  Most of these women stood for everything that she was against, and if she was going to be the odd man out in the neighborhood, she was going to take it to the next level.  At this point in my life I feel proud of her for saying "Fuck fitting in, I'm going to buy some turkeys" but it was hard to understand then.

So our neighbor calls her about this snake (not the lady with the pool that our geese enjoyed, the one on the other side who still spoke to us), and she went over there with a shovel.  I remember her hitting it once, and then she sent me home, possibly realizing that you don't want a pissed off rattlesnake around your six year old child.  I don't remember what happened after that, but I imagine she gave the snake the look that later made her a very effective middle school teacher, and advised it to get out of there and think about what it had done.  I feel sorry for that snake, and hope it decided to show up on the perfectly manicured front lawns of some of our neighbors to send big-haired women screaming back into their homes, and built its self esteem back up.

When we left when I was nine, I feel certain there was a celebration in our neighborhood, not just from the people who felt we were bringing down home values,  (we were) but also by the various poisonous animals who no longer had to live in fear of my mom.

Virginia has been much kinder to our family, although we all do tend to be oddballs, and my mother is currently at war with one of the neighbors on her backwoods street because he hates her dogs, possibly because they are really loud and tend to escape and roam the neighborhood.  They are also not terribly nice or attractive, as my mom is drawn to the misfits of the human and animal world.  It's gotten to the point where I couldn't guarantee that every animal she has can technically be classified as a dog-at least, not fully.  She has one that looks like a Dalmation mated with a special needs sheep.  I've stopped commenting on them because I've learned over the years that she will always take their side over mine, even when they bite me.  And they do.  She has literally made me sit on the floor because the couch was taken by the dogs.

But back to the heat.

Henry has been bouncing off the walls, he is not used to spending so much indoor time.  We're trying to get out in the morning.  I load the jogging stroller up with dinosaurs and juice, and go for a run.  He gets pretty pissed when I go running without him, and really, it's beneficial to me to run with a stroller.  Because I'm pretty slow at this point, but with the stroller, I look slow because I'm pushing a child here, you judgmental prick, not that I'm out of shape.  And the people who see us don't need to know that I'm just as slow without the stroller.

So we run for a while and then try to find a shady place to sit and have a snack and play some soccer, and I try to wear the kid out a bit before it officially becomes child endangerment to have him outside.  We tried to go down to the little creek the park has, but as we made our way down there yesterday, I heard someone clear their throat, and I saw a middle-aged man in jeans and workbooks just....hanging out in a very random part of the park.  I decided to head out of there to let him have his privacy and also because I like being alive.  When I told Ben about this, he pointed out that it was far more probable that this man was sitting in the woods waiting for a blow job from another man, as our park is a fairly popular hookup spot.  (FYI, guys who go to public parks for illicit sex, you should at least look like you're going for a hike or something.  If I see you head to the trail in a shirt and tie and wingtips, I don't think you're going for a hike).  Either way we left him to it, as fellating a strange man in the park is just above getting stabbed by a strange man in the park on my list of things I'd rather not have happen.

So we headed on home, and spent the rest of the day migrating between the A/C and the backyard, where Henry splashed around in the pool and ran terrified from the sprinkler I bought for him.  I'm feeling really bad for my friends and family in the Amherst/Lynchburg area who got hit really hard by a storm last week, and many of whom still don't have power.  So I'll quit my bitching and send out lots of hope that AEP gets everyone up and running soon, and that you don't melt.

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