What I do on my (damp, muggy, hot, thundery) day off.

I got up at four because I'd forgotten to turn off the alarm. That, and my bladder was full.

I cleaned out the fridge. Notamus got so excited by the smell of spilled catnip in the freezer that he attempted to climb into the undefrosted freezer, turning back only after he discovered it was wet and nasty.

Then I vacuumed. This is not something I would do normally during two weeks of almost nonstop rain, but Max had been in a few times and had left mud all over the house. Say what you will about central Texas; we have mud and muck unlike any I've seen anywhere else in the world.

Then Max and I cuddled for a bit. This was messier than it sounds, as he's been mostly damp for the better part of two weeks, as I mentioned.

And then I went grocery shopping. My neighbors, the poor unfortunate dears, are going to have to spend a horrific two weeks on a fifty-foot catamaran in the British Virgin Islands (seems like everybody's going there this year) with a cook and a captain and nothing to do but lounge on the deck. They leave tomorrow, so they have no food in the house, so they're coming for dinner. Stuffed chicken breasts (andouille sausage, feta cheese, and roasted poblano peppers), oven-baked parboiled potatoes, grilled asparagus, wine.

By this time, it had not rained for a whole six hours, so I got out the mower. The grass in the front yard is nearly knee-high in spots. Just as I was getting started, a huge crack of thunder happened, and it started to fucking pour. I came in, abandoning the Neuton in the back yard, and let in a very soggy Max. I'll have to vacuum again.

And, eventually, shower. It's disheartening to shower, only to be as damp after you've dried off as you were while you were actually under the water. Actually, it's disheartening just to be breathing at this time of year, since the air you're breathing in is more humid than the stuff left over in your lungs. And warmer.

It would be easier to stand this weather if I were at L'Express or Pied de Cochon, drinking wine and eating that bizarre, tasty broccoli aspic, or maybe a pied de cochon with truffle poutine. It would be nice if things actually cooled off at night, as they do in Seattle or Missouri or Provincetown or Colorado. It would be fantastic if this summer would end early, with a few scattered thunderstorms and a bevy of bright, crisp days, rather than lingering into early October as is usual. It would be perfect to be on the beach in Denmark just now, with a bonfire and herring and tiny glasses of ice-cold akavit and large glasses of beer, and watch the sun barely touch the horizon at ten o'clock.

Later this month I have four days off in the middle of the week. Don't ask me how I did that; just assume that they'll think I'm working and notice I'm not there at about three p.m. I might drive west-southwest and hit the river, or I might drive north and stay overnight in Oklahoma, in the mountains and next to the waterfall.

This is the hardest part of the year here. You're already sick of the heat, and you know it'll keep on coming--and get worse--until Hallowe'en, when it always freezes. The possibility of being comfortable seems so far away it's not worth waiting for. Our summer is like winter in places like Minneapolis: people don't go out, they have to steel themselves to be outside at all, and everything shuts down. The rare outdoor music festival is attended only by the toughest tourists; all the locals are at home under a fan with a glass of tea.

Spring is marvelous, aside from the tornadoes. Fall is sheer unadultrated relief. Winter isn't too bad; there are exciting things like snowstorms interspersed with sixty-degree days, and things stay mostly green. Summer is hard: you know that it has to end, it always does, but it's just a beat-down while it's going on.

Promises, promises. Summer contains the promise of fall contains the promise of snow contains the promise of blooms all over your rosebush come April. The trick is to be patient, and let time pass, and hope you live long enough to see the promises come true.