Temperatures have soared close to one hundred, and every living creature feels hot, tired, and cranky. I can't remember a summer this hot since 1988, the summer before my father died. We had no A/C then, and I would watch the sweat drip down Dad's nose as he tried to eat dinner. Mom used to put ice cubes in the dog's water dish, which would melt in minutes. By seven-thirty, I would try to fit the box fan into my bedroom window. I would wake up in the middle of the night sticking to the sheet. There would be no relief in the early morning hours, when my parents would be getting ready for work. My friend Shawn lived in a trailer with her mother, and they had a window air conditioner running. I fell asleep face down on their living room carpet. Old shag carpet in that olive green color. I woke up with shag carpet marks on my face.
Extreme heat makes people strange. At K-Mart, my place of employment, people shuffle around like the walking dead, wanting to buy pools on clearance, which are already gone. We're making room for back to school items. People are irritable about the littlest things, such as an item not having a price tag or some other error. The A/C is kept at seventy or so, and I sweat, along with every customer who ignores their hygiene in the coldest of weather. Summer is not my favorite time at work; I'd rather deal with Black Friday, because November is so much cooler. It's not any easier for my nephews, brothers Zach and Jake, who both work in local foundries. Ten years ago, I worked at a small factory that made parts for the cooling and heating systems in Saturn automobiles. I wasn't on the Saturn line, so I could work in an air-conditioned area, but my Saturn co-workers were throwing up from the heat, the fans only blowing more hot air around the machines. They were not initially allowed to have water in their work areas, but the supervisor relented. I don't know how some people get through a summer so hot.
I was coming home from work one night when I discovered a mother cat with five kittens hanging out underneath my mother's car. We have been feeding the beautiful mother and adorable kittens since. They have a tendency to disappear at sunrise to beat the heat by finding a shady spot in the wooded areas by our house. We also provide plenty of water, but the mother is encouraging her young to go out on their own, being almost feral. I would take the mother to get spayed, but she takes off in the morning before I can get her in the pet carrier. We have thought about putting her in the carrier at night, but we would have to listen to mournful cries from mother and kittens all night. Our dachshund, Patti Page, has found all of this disruptive after beating a urinary tract infection during her personal dog days. She had a reaction to the first group of antibiotics, and was running a fever. She would lick the ice cubes I held between my fingers. The next antibiotic worked better. She's fine now, spending her time watching for when cat-mother, who Mom named Callie, and her brood return, none of whom are used to human contact. They let Mom pet them while they're eating, and they no longer nurse from Callie. They like to play in the yard at night. We worry about their safety.
When do I find time to write? I'm not even half-way through the new Fu Sheng story I've been working on. I've been thinking about writing something erotic and paranormal. I like the spooky stuff, but it seems I'm lacking a desire for writing lately. I'm more interested in reading and eating ice cream in my spare time, trying to scare up some inspiration, which I find in everyday life, like most writers. I'm in a bit of a creative drought, as dry as most of the country. I hear that rain may finally come to Michigan this week, and something's got to give. Even the hottest summers come to an end, animals know when to rest and recharge, and everything calms down for awhile. Hopefully, Fu Sheng will be patient with me. He's nine hundred years old, he's seen a lot of summers. :)