Anne Notations

Tuesday, August 10, 2010

Summer of twenty-ten

It has been the summer of insufferable humidity. At 7:30 this morning, the Providence Journal's news blog reported:
We're in for another swampy day today as the humidity is once again higher than the temperature. At this hour, it is 70 degrees and the humidity is 94 percent.

Now, the temperature is at 80. And climbing.

How did people survive without air-conditioning? Also: What happened to New England's famed clarifying sea breezes? Huh? I could live in Florida if I wanted to spend my summers indoors, ducking the humidity.

Speaking of weather, it has been a summer of several good, crackling thunderstorms, including one that was preceded by a dramatic roll or shelf cloud traveling quickly toward and over us from the west. Shivery stuff.

It has been a summer of transitions, with more on the way. I said farewell to my longtime workplace on June 30 and plunged into the job hunt, with support and advice and, perhaps most important, structured exercises from an experienced outplacement firm. Sarah, our counselor, combined witty charm with no-nonsense instructions to make sure we stayed busy and honed our resumes and interviewing skills. Note to anyone who hasn't been in the job market for a long time: Everything is different, from resumes to competition. If you're still putting "Objective:" at the top of your resume, you've got it wrong.

It has been a summer of reckoning for childish things stored in the U-Haul cubicle. Melinda's Bitty Baby, "Clara," went to a little girl in Woonsocket via Craigslist. My daughter is far less sentimental than I. Me: "Melinda, is it all right with you if I pass along Clara and her outfits to someone?" Melinda: "Who?" Me: "Clara. Your Bitty Baby from American Girl." [pause] Melinda: "Oh. Sure. I'd forgotten about her." Two huge garbage bags of stuffed animals and Beanie Babies, each toy once fiercely hoarded, named, and cherished by the very young Kevin, went to the Salvation Army. Kevin's complete collection of Hank the Cowdog books: off to the library book sale. Getting rid of the kids' once beloved toys and books isn't easy for me. I've had to override my tendency to anthropomorphize – "Oh, it's Mama and Baby Raccoon! I hope they will stay together" – as well as my sentimental attachment to these totems of sweet times.

It has been a summer with time for fun. Peter and I went to Boston's House of Blues to meet my lovely friend Vel (we first met at the Star Wars convention in 2005) and attend a concert by Jack White's current enterprise, The Dead Weather. Vel scored VIP access, meaning the three of us were admitted before the rest of the horde and snugged right up against center stage.


Holy excitement! Afterward, I was able to meet my Facebook friend Mary, a talented artist, and her husband John, who runs a cool sandwich place in Lowell, MA. A perfect night out.

It has been a summer that has already brought an exciting opportunity to try a new job (for at least six months) that uses my writing and editing skills, and also exploits the vast accumulation of otherwise useless trivia stored in my head. I was to have started at Hasbro Inc. today, but ....

It is a summer when I somehow got bronchitis and pneumonia. Specifically, I have been sick for the past four days. I am now the proud owner (and consumer) of enough pharmaceuticals to stock a small clinic. Hoorah for antibiotics. (Nurse: "You'll have to stand up. We inject this in your, um, gluteus maximus.") At any rate, my new boss is understanding, and I will be starting the Hasbro job as soon as I feel better.

Still to come: Departure of the beloved children for college in a few weeks. How will I manage without their lively conversations? -- oh, wait. I mean their constant texting with their friends. What will I do without the crumb-covered dishes and crumpled napkins left on the living room tables, flip-flops arranged in a festive obstacle course around the house, tedious requests for cash, open cosmetic containers overtaking the bathroom counters, moans of "There's nothing to eat!" (uttered while staring into a full refrigerator), and a kitchen sink piled with used glassware?

I think I will manage just fine.

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