Posted tagged ‘humidity’

“No one appreciates the very special genius of your conversation as the dog does.”

August 21, 2017

The house is still chilly from the air conditioning being on all last night even though some windows and the two doors are now opened; however, it will be a hot day so I expect to be behind closed doors and shut windows for most of the afternoon. The sun was around earlier but has since disappeared behind grey clouds. We are going to have a partial eclipse, but it seems unless things change, we won’t even see that.

Last night the temperature was in the high 60’s so movie night was pleasant, even a bit chilly because of the high humidity. We watched Monster on the Campus. Oops, I’m really sorry. I should have warned you that was a spoiler. I just gave the whole plot away. The movie was released in 1958 so we did chuckle quite a few times at the special effects and the plot twists. The cars were as big as boats. The women all wore dresses, kind of ugly dresses, and accessorized with white gloves. The men, of course, wore their suits and fedoras. Troy Donahue had a small role. We applauded at the end not because it was over but because the monster had engineered its own demise. Such is the lot of monster in 50’s science fiction movies.

Gracie had a really bad night. She was sleeping in her crate. I was on the couch. It was around 4:00 when I was awakened by the sound of her paws frantically scraping over and over against the mat in her crate. I guessed she was trying to stand up but couldn’t. I raced to the kitchen. Gracie was lying on her side, her eyes huge, and she was scared. She tried again to get up but couldn’t. I grabbed her halter and lifted and pulled her out of the crate. I was scared that her back legs had given out, but when I pulled her upright, she stood. She was also wet. I figured that had been triggered by her fear. I dried her and we went to the couch. She jumped on it but sat upright for a while before she finally fell asleep. This morning everything is fine with her, but not with me. When I walk, I resemble a question mark because of the pain in my back. Poor Gracie and me!

“No rain but thunder, and the sound of giants.”

August 19, 2017

Last night we had the best rainstorm complete with thunder right over my house and lightning bolts striking in the sky above my backyard. One clap of thunder made Gracie and me jump as it was both unexpected and close. The rain pelted the roof and windows. It was so loud I had to turn up the sound on the TV. At one point, around 10:30, the rain stopped so I raced to take Gracie outside. The rain started again only minutes after we had gotten back inside. The drops were so heavy and loud they were the only sounds I could hear. I figured it was serendipity the rain stopped for just that small while. Gracie lasted the rest of the night and into the morning.

I’ve nothing on my to-do list for today. The roads will be filled as Saturday is turn-over day at cottages, and tourists will be looking for something to keep kids busy on a dark day, on a no beach day. Board games can only work for so long.

The remnants of the storm are a gray sky and high humidity, the sort of humidity my father used to say you can cut with a knife. The small breeze does nothing to change the close, damp air. We won’t see the sun until tomorrow.

I remember when I was a kid and the thunder and lightning kept me inside. I’d take a book and find a quiet place to read. Sometimes it was in my room because everyone else was downstairs watching TV. It was dark enough I needed a light to read by, the light on the headboard behind me. It seemed to shine only on me and the pages of my book. I felt safe and cozy.

Thunder never scared me even when I was a kid. I remember being told thunder was angels bowling in heaven. I also remember reading Rip Van Winkle’s thunder was the men in the mountains, Henry Hudson’s crew, playing nine-pins. Either way, it was just bowling.

I love lightning, jagged and bright in the sky. One lightning bolt hit the ground right in front of my house in Ghana. It was magnificent. I’ve never seen the like.

“I’ve buried a lot of my laundry in the back yard.”

September 9, 2016

When I got the papers, I noticed the road still wet from my lawn being watered. That screamed humidity to me so I turned on the air conditioning. The weatherman last night did say summer was returning today.

Periodically the AC turns on to break the silence. Gracie isn’t even snoring. Both cats are awake, unusual for the morning. One is cleaning her ears and the other is just looking out the window from her perch, the back couch cushion. I have no idea what holds her attention.

Today I have nothing to do, not a single list. I’m thinking about lolling and reading. Before that, though, I might hit the chocolate shop for bon bons.

Yesterday my list was completed. I even brought my laundry upstairs, a rarity. Usually it sits in the dryer for sometimes as long as a week. I don’t mind doing laundry. It is the up and down the stairs, the folding and the carrying up two flights of stairs which I don’t like. The house we lived in when we first moved to the cape had the washer and dryer in the kitchen because there wasn’t a cellar, just a small dug out area. That made doing laundry easy.  When I worked, I managed to get everything done including planning lessons and correcting.

When I worked, I managed to get everything done, mostly on the weekends when I shopped, mowed the lawn, did laundry and cleaned the house. Now, despite having all the time in the world, I hire people. The house gets cleaned every other Thursday. On the off weeks, I do a bit of dusting, a small bit of dusting, and some vacuuming. My lawn gets mowed every Friday. Peapod delivers groceries right to my kitchen. I order when the larder is empty. Skip, my factotum, does whatever I need, things like opening and closing the deck, painting and general repairs. I know I shouldn’t complain given what little I do, but I want staff, particularly a laundress or a launderer. I did find a drop off Launderette, but I just can’t see myself driving my laundry bag to Hyannis. I guess I’m stuck.

“School bells are ringing loud and clear; vacation’s over, school is here.”

September 6, 2016

I got home around 1:30, let Gracie out, fed her and tried to take a nap. I was too restless so I came downstairs, ate a few anise cookies, read my e-mail and here I am.

The sun is out. The storm was a bust. Now I have to put my deck back together. The furniture and the deck are covered with leaves. The table has about an inch of rain on it. Pine tree branches have fallen in the backyard. They fall easily, even in an every day wind.

The house was stuffy when I got home even with the windows open so I put on the air conditioner. It is now much more comfortable. Gracie has stopped panting, Fern is lying beside me and Maddie is on the same chair as always.

The kids were standing on the corners of my street today. They were waiting for the bus. A couple of mothers were waiting with them. I don’t remember any buses when I was a little kid. I didn’t need one as my walk wasn’t all that long, but some kids walked a couple of miles or even more. No cars were lined up dropping kids off in the morning or picking them up in the afternoon. One of my neighbors was a widow. She was the only mother with a car. When it rained, she always drove or picked up her daughter. I was jealous, especially on rainy days.

I never see kids walking to school anymore. They either take the bus or are driven. Mothers are waiting at the bus stop to see their kids off or to welcome them home. In the winter or when it rains the mothers wait in cars. That brings to mind the traditional beginning of the school year exaggeration passed from one generation to another. I walked to school in three feet of snow, during tropical storms and on the coldest of days when we didn’t dare stop for fear of freezing to the spot.

“Home isn’t a place, it’s a feeling”

September 1, 2016

Earlier this m0rning I heard kids playing, a dog barking and the rain falling on the leaves. Now all I hear are the birds. I know it is still raining because I looked out the back door and saw the drops, but they are too little to make any sound. I turned off the air conditioning this morning, but I doubt being without air conditioning will last long. It is so humid you can cut it with a knife, as my father was wont to say.

The morning hasn’t started well. Fern and Gracie woke me up by staring at me close to my face. Fern’s whiskers tickled and Gracie had hot breath. I got up. Later Fern was sick a few times. I think it was the cat food. I have to go to Agway for dog food so I’ll pick up some different food for Fern to try. She is too skinny. I worry.

My neighbors drove their daughter to college on Monday. She is a freshman. Last night my neighbor called and told me she has been crying since Monday. Her daughter has called and is also crying. I don’t remember being that homesick at college though I do remember homesickness in Ghana. The big difference was I could call my family and go home for weekends as my college was only a couple of hours away while Ghana was almost eleven hours away by plane and mail took two weeks. Phone calls were out of the question.

I got over being homesick. I think being so far away and so disconnected made it easier to see Ghana as home.

It is less than two weeks until my trip home. I have made lists. One is what I need to buy while the other is what has to be packed. The countdown doesn’t begin until one week from my flight. It is getting close.

“You either get the point of Africa or you don’t. What draws me back year after year is that it’s like seeing the world with the lid off.”

August 14, 2016

Big surprise: today is hot, already 88˚, and combined with the 70% humidity it feels like 100˚. I was on the deck earlier checking the plants. They have to be watered again, but I’ll wait until later in the day hoping it will be cooler.

When I arrived in Ghana for Peace Corps training, I knew nothing about Africa. The books and mimeographed materials from Peace Corps didn’t do much in helping me understand where I was going. Knowing there were two seasons, rainy and dry, had me picturing what rainy and dry look like here, that was all I had for reference. Descriptions of Ghanaian culture were like excerpts from a geography book. I read about the different tribes and where they lived. The country was divided into regions, a bit like our states.

Before we left Philadelphia for Ghana, I found out I was going to be posted in the Upper Region, only a place on the map to me. The Upper Region spanned all the way across the whole top section of Ghana from east to west. I was to be posted in its capital, Bolgatanga.

When I went to Bolga for a week during training, it was the rainy season when everything is green, and the market is filled with all sorts of fruit and vegetables. I figured that would be Bolga all the time. I was totally wrong.

When training was over, I made my way home, to Bolga. I stopped overnight in Kumasi, about the halfway mark. I always added an overnight so I could visit friends along the way. The trip from Accra to Kumasi was a wonderful train ride. From Kumasi to Bolga was a bus or lorry ride, always hot and always crammed with people.

Bolga was still in the rainy season when I moved into my house. The rains stopped a month or two later. Everything dried. The ground split. Nothing stayed green. My lips and the heels of my feet split. I walked on tiptoes. I learned to take bucket baths. My meals never varied. Breakfast was two eggs cooked in groundnut oil and two pieces of toast. Lunch was fruit. Dinner was beef cooked in tomato broth, a necessity to make the meat tender, or chicken. Yams were the side dish, sometimes in a mash and sometimes cooked with the meat. I always drank water except in the morning when I drank instant coffee with canned milk.

I never minded the same meals or the dry season. I was astonished every day that I was  living in Africa. I loved Bolga whether rainy or dry. My friends and I would often look at the sky and say it looked like rain. That was a joke, and we never got tired of it. We knew the rain was months away. If we found something new in the market, it was cause for celebration. If we didn’t, it didn’t matter.

In about five weeks, I’ll be back home in Bolga.

” First we eat then we do everything else.”

August 13, 2016

This morning I felt like a mole stepping into the sunshine after living underground for too long. I shielded my eyes on my way to the driveway to get the papers. I was blasted even in that short while by the heat and humidity. After getting the papers, I ran back into the house, into the cool darkness.

Last night I had to go to Stop and Shop to pick up a few things Peapod couldn’t deliver as the warehouse didn’t have them. It was close to eleven o’clock. I walked inside and had to look around as the store had changed considerably. I went from aisle to aisle reading the signs until I finally found what I wanted. That one short shopping trip reminded me why I use Peapod.

I love cheese, all sorts except blue cheese and gorgonzola. When I was a kid, my mother always bought Velveeta. It made the best grilled cheese sandwiches. I still buy it to make a quick dip with salsa, jalapeños and sometimes crumbled hamburger. I haven’t a favorite cheese so I usually buy a variety of cheeses. We have a new store which carries Italian cheeses many of which are unfamiliar so I usually need a taste before I buy. Any sandwich I make aways has a cheese of some sort. I even spread Brie. Crackers and cheese are a favorite snack of mine so I always have crackers in the cabinet. When I was in Ghana, there was no cheese. Even now it is scarce and expensive. Obruni stores, as in white man stores, do carry it, and you can find it in Accra. Ghanaians don’t eat cheese. Now I wonder why my mother never sent me Velveeta. It doesn’t need to be refrigerated, being processed cheese.

With my trip to Ghana getting closer, I’m thinking of all the Ghanaian food I’ll have, all my favorites. I’m also thinking about the Middle East restaurants which used to be all over Accra but are now difficult to find. Luckily, down the street from my Accra hotel, is a Middle Eastern restaurant where I had dinner the last time I stayed and hope to visit again. The safari lodge where we’re staying has a combination of European food and Ghanaian. In Ghana I am a European which just means white to Ghanaians. All this talk of Ghanaian food has my mouth is salivating for kelewele, Guinea fowl and, yup, even fufu.