My Mistress

Baseball on the Chalk Line of the Infield

Last Sunday I watched the last game of the 2019 season for my beloved Red Sox. It was a meaningless game, and represented the end of a colossally frustrating and  disappointing season. After last year’s historical romp, I knew repeating as champs was a tall order. No team had accomplished the feat since 2000, but the Sox were so overpowering last year, steamrolling all competition that lay in its path, I honestly thought that if any team could break that sting of futility, they could. After all, the team that started the year was virtually the same team that ended last season. Alas, it wasn’t mean to be, and reinforced something that I had learned a long time ago but foolishly assumed wouldn’t apply: one season has nothing to do with the next.

I had disgustedly reached the conclusion that they weren’t going to even make the playoffs back in late July. They had been playing out the string since then, but I still watched and attended their games anyway. Game 162 was no exception because E-Rod had the chance to win his 20th game, something no Red Sox lefty had done since back in the 1950’s, and they were playing Baltimore, one of the worst teams in baseball.

Like the rest of the season, he didn’t accomplish the goal as the team squandered a lead late in the game after he was no longer pitching, but they still won in satisfying fashion in their last at bat. As I turned off the television, I felt the sadness and void that typically occurs when a season ends with unfulfilled expectations. This year was worst than most because the reality didn’t even come close to what was anticipated, and I began to wonder why I take this game and this team to heart so much. It didn’t take long to figure it out.

While K is the love of my life, my soulmate, confidant and partner, baseball, and the Red Sox in particular, is my mistress.

This makes me a dinosaur, a card carrying relic of the last generation that remains passionate about the game. I’m a misfit in today’s world of short attention spans and instant gratification. This epiphany got me wondering what it is about the game that has me as hooked on it as an addict is to their drug of choice.

Perhaps it is because it harkens back to a simpler time. I started following and playing the game when I was 8. Back then nobody worried about their kids coming or going. In fact, it was better to be gone from the house because if you hung around too much our parents would find work for us to do. We’d ride our bikes anywhere and everywhere, sometimes for miles, to find a field to play on. We’d be gone most of the day during the summers, all afternoon during the spring and fall when school was in session, and nobody thought twice or worried about our safety.

Baseball was the king of sports back then, and when the Little League season wasn’t in session we’d play anywhere the was an open field. We’d pace the distance between the bases and from the pitchers mound to home plate, amend the ground rules based on how many players we had, and lose ourselves in the game and the camaraderie of being among one’s buddies.

My passion never wavered through high school, American Legion, and college, where I continued to play, or afterwards when my playing days were over. That was an accomplishment, because my mistress was a cruel bitch. Today’s generation of Red Sox fans are spoiled by their success during this century, because for the first four decades  of my baseball fanaticism, the Red Sox perfected the art of crushing one’s soul in the most heartbreaking and macabre fashion.

For years and years I had to suffer from the verbal abuse that Yankee fans liberally, gleefully and sadistically heaped upon us. They were indisputably the historical baseball kings, and often dominated the sport between 1976 and 2003, often at our expense. Any sane person would have said “fuck this,” and either found another team to root for or focus on the NFL and forget about baseball.

Ah, but she is an enticing minx, a voluptuous beauty who frequently allowed me to reach third base but never let me go all the way. The journey she took me on was wonderfully spellbinding  and pleasurable, but the ending was always the same: a 37 year case of blue balls.

But I kept coming back for more, thinking next year would be the year. My faith and patience was finally rewarded in 2004, and three more times since then. So I can at least cross that off the bucket list.

Baseball is my mistress because I love what most people hate about the sport. Each game is a drama that unfolds over nine innings. No game is the same, and each team has an equal opportunity to win because there isn’t a time clock. It’s a thinking man’s game, and a team sport based on individual accomplishment. The game is also incredibly hard because if you fail only 70% of the time, you’re considered an all-time great.

The regular season is also a mentally and physically grinding six month marathon that has a number of ups and downs. Each game possesses the possibility of seeing something you never saw before virtually every single day. To me, it represents the heartbeat of the best time of the year and has a history unlike any sport in existence, which makes it timeless.

I hate what is happening to the sport, with playoffs games ending around midnight, and the strategy I grew up with giving way to home runs, strikeouts, analytics and interminably long games. I want to scream at the batters to get their ass into the batters box without touching themselves and readjusting every piece of equipment they wear, and for pitcher to throw the damn ball instead of holding it for what seems like forever. But I still think it is the best game mankind has ever conceived.

The end of a season ushers in a bleak time of the year, especially here in New England. The weather turns cold, it’s dark and dreary most of the time, and everything outside shrivels and dies. When pitchers and catchers report to spring training in February, you rejoice in the hope and promise of the possibilities of a new season, and when the season actually starts, it ushers in the best time of the year. What is not to like about that?

I’m staring down the barrel of 174 days (but who’s counting) before the 2020 season starts. I’ll watch the playoffs, and actually enjoy them more because I’m not invested in any team, so who wins or loses isn’t important. Well, that’s not entirely true. I’ll be rooting for anyone who play against the Yankees. As long as they don’t capture the crown, and I don’t believe they will, I will be a very happy guy.

It is going to be a fascinating off season for the Sox, and will probably have more drama than the season that just ended. Tough decisions on who they can afford to keep and who to trade or let go, that will impact not only next season but their future competitiveness, are going to be made, and I will be fully invested in them. I’ll applaud some, hate and curse others, and read every morsel I can find behind the story behind them all. The decision makers will alternate between being inspired geniuses and utter buffoons, and I will be along for every step of this roller coaster ride. I may hate what the end result is, but I will still go to my ten games next year and faithfully follow them, living and dying with the results of each game. Hopefully the outcome will be better than it was this year.

For now, I hope the NFL will give me something to follow through January. There is also UConn basketball, but those are mere appetizers for the sport I truly love. My mistress wormed her way into the fiber of my being a long time ago.  I crave her caress, utterly helpless to resist her spell. Even though she is often fickle, abusive and selfish, I can’t wait to resume our torrid affair come March.

It hurts so good!










Moving Daze

packing 1

I have spent a lot of time in this space over the last year talking about the new house. In fact, when I wrote last week’s post , my intention was that it would be the final one on the subject until the moving trucks had come and gone. But there is another aspect to this ordeal I haven’t spent a lot of time venting about, and it is coming to a head.

If you remember, I mentioned last week how I hate feeling unsettled because I have flags planted in two different locations, but neither of them feel like home. The new place doesn’t feel like home for obvious reasons, we don’t live there yet. My current home of 19 years doesn’t feel like home because….well, all you have to do is look at the above picture to understand.

As you can see, there is shit all over the place. Moving boxes in various stages of completeness are strewn throughout the house. I have no idea how many boxes we (K and her Mom mostly) have actually packed, but I’m guessing it is getting close to one hundred. I  made a Staples trip last weekend to purchase more of them because we were running out, and when K told me we should get at least 30 I rolled my eyes thinking she was nuts. Well, we have maybe ten left less than a week later.

Clutter and disarray generally doesn’t bother me, which is probably a guy thing. K is fond of saying there could be a steaming pile of cow shit in the middle of our living room and I wouldn’t notice it. Not this time, however. First of all, it has been like this for a couple of weeks, so after that long even someone like me can’t not feel it. Secondly,  negotiating the suddenly limited floor space is like navigating a treacherous obstacle course for someone who has no balance, a drooping foot, and leg with no strength.

My role in this endeavor has been to carry the stuff out of the house and into the garage, but, as you can see from this pic, our garage is getting full.


The cars have been evicted from our garage for a month now, and there isn’t a lot of available space. Negotiating the garage is even more difficult than negotiating the house space, but at least we have a place for everything. Having said that, there isn’t much room left, and we’re at the point were I will soon have to start restacking the boxes to create more space. A number of boxes marked fragile exist, and we don’t store anything on top of those boxes to prevent anything from getting crushed or broken. So in order to create more space to accommodate the additional boxes I know are forthcoming, I’ll need to segregate the fragile stuff from the pack, and start stacking the other boxes higher. But not so high that they will become top-heavy and fall over. That would be a disaster!

Most of the painting is done, so our next step is to start the deep clean, which I love to do more than anything else (NOT!) That endeavor begins next week, primarily with the windows (there are a lot of them), and the floors, which need to be steam cleaned and waxed.

K is of the opinion that we need to get this house spic and span, and that the Home and Garden channel has made it harder to sell houses because buyers expect a lot more from prospective houses they want to buy, assume things should be a certain way, and have become very finicky and entitled. Guess we will find out if all this extra TLC will make a difference. I certainly hope it does. If we can get the price we want, they can be as finicky as they want.

We did this a lot in the late 1990’s (moving four times in five years), but we are far removed from that era. Although I thought I remembered what a tedious grind it was and is, this feels much harder. Perhaps that is because back then we were young, didn’t know any better, hadn’t accumulated nearly the amount of stuff we have now, and I didn’t have MS. As bad as the garage looks, it could be worse, as we have discarded or given away a bunch of stuff we no longer need and didn’t want to pack. That is one slice of wisdom learned from previous experience.

We are preparing to mobilize the troops to help us move the stuff in our garage in advance the movers coming in and taking all the big stuff. Compared to where we started, there is not a lot left to do, but there is still enough. Especially if we want to be out in three to four weeks. Then comes the task of removing everything we packed and placing them their new locations. While it will be wonderful to be in that position, this endeavor is almost as bad as getting the stuff packed. Plus we will have a ton of empty boxes to discard. On and on it goes. Will we be completely settled by Thanksgiving? Christmas?  I’d like to think the former, but who the hell knows?

Like I said last week, it can’t happen soon enough.




Wheezing Towards the Finish Line


The finish line is close. I can see it clearly, as it is almost within our grasp. All that is left to do is install the floors, finish the trim around the doors and floors, install the appliances, hook everything up to the plumbing and electrical systems, finish painting, plant the grass, and lay the blacktop for the driveways. It sounds like a lot, but in the scheme of things this is short par putt. At least I’d like to think so.

I should be giddy, but the truth is I’m exhausted, more mentally than physically. In fact, I almost nodded off on the way home from work yesterday waiting for a long stop light.

I can’t speak for K, but I’d bet she’d tell you she is feeling the same way.

I am tired of being in limbo, with a foot in both places. Not only are we preparing the final touches on the new place, our current one is in compete disarray. The garage is half full with packed moving boxes and other items, and our living room has an assortment of boxes in various stages of being packed laying about. There is still cleaning and painting to do. The pace is relentless, and not feeling settled is, well, unsettling. I know the end is near, as I believe a late September/early October move is imminent, and that is part of the quandary. There is still so much to do in such a short period of time. It often feels overwhelming.

Each day is a blur. Wake up when it’s dark, go to work, come home and figure out what to eat (planning and preparing meals is more the exception than the rule), then head to the site and perform a myriad of little tasks to make things easier for the workmen and prevent unnecessary delays. One or both of us stay there until dark, then we come home, clean up, collapse for a few hours, drag ourselves to bed, and do it all over again the next day. By day’s end my mind is mush and my body is spent. I move around like a Walking Dead zombie. K’s body is sore from head to toe.

This weekend’s priority is to get everything off the floors of the new place, and trust me when I tell you there is a lot of big and little shit strewn about, much of which needs to be removed by tradesman, and get the floors cleaned, vacuumed, and otherwise prepared for the wood floors that will be put down next week.

It has literally become a seven day a week, eighteen hour a day gig, and has been this way for about a month now. You’d think the pounds would be melting from all the activity and the reduction in food intake, but you’d be wrong, so I don’t even have that perk to feel good about. The grind is relentless and tedious.

We are at the end of a what has been a grueling marathon, which is ending on an upward slope. The slope feels steep, but we need to muster a strong finishing kick. The task seems Herculean, but I know it will happen. What choice is there?

I know it will all be worth it. I know we will love the comforts and amenities of the new place, and I know that some day in the not so distant future we will look back at this with a nostalgic fondness. I also know this will all be over soon.

But it can’t happen soon enough.




Let It Bleed


I’ve been taking MS meds for over eleven years. There was an eight year period, which ended two Septembers ago, where I received a monthly infusion of Cytoxan, a chemo drug. Now I get Ocrevus infused twice a year instead.

I’m not the most observant guy in the world, but there are two things about my body that have changed, and I believe these meds are the root cause.

The first is I have lost all the hair on my legs. Now, I was never Sasquatch when it came to body hair, but I had a pretty decent pelt covering my legs for as long as I can remember. That is no longer the case. I’m sure it has been gone for some time, but I never notice these kinds of things. K made this observation a while ago, and I am sure it had been that way long before she mentioned it.

The odd thing is this hair loss as not occurred anywhere else: not my on my arms, chest, head or the nether regions. All remain the same, except for my head, but that’s more of the routine thinning that comes with age. So if the meds have anything to do with it, why there and not anywhere else? It’s odd, but quite frankly, I really don’t care. I am wondering however if anyone has experienced something similar.

The other change concerns the fact that my skin is about as fragile as rice paper. By that I mean I get bruises, cuts and scrapes which draw blood that never used to happen before. Most of the time I’m not even aware that it’s occurred.

Take last weekend for instance. I was abusing my body on a job where Nidan and I were making a patio outside the back entrance of the new house by laying a couple of hundred paving stones on a prepared surface. He lifted these stones from pallets and carried them to me, where I laid them in a grid that ultimately created a patio that was about twenty-three feet long and four feet wide.

I was on my hands and knees most of the time, but did have to get up on occasion, or lean onto or into something to keep my balance. The only time I knew I cut myself occurred when I got up from my knees near a window, and as I raised myself I felt the fleshy section of the back part of my shoulder blade dig into the corner of the window frame.

Back in the day, nothing would have come of it. At worst, it might have resulted in a small bruise or perhaps a small scratch that didn’t break skin. Instead, I lost a small chunk of skin and it drew enough blood where I could feel begin to trickle down my arm. So K exhumed a small alcohol pad  from the first aid kit, cleaned the wound (which felt wonderful), put a Band-Aid on it and we were good to go. It still looks nasty five days later.

When we returned home after eight hours at the site, Nidan noticed a gouge on the back of my leg near the heel that I didn’t know was there, and have no idea how it got there. I also noticed about a half-dozen zig-zag type scratches that had dried blood on them, in addition to a nickle-sized abrasion on one of my kneecaps, presumably from being on my knees all day long. I could see that happening if I was kneeling on solid stone, but I was kneeling on a cushioned pad instead. Somehow, the constant shifting peeled several layers of skin, and what I wound up with was an angry, seeping abrasion.

As I was finishing up that day I noticed that the nail on my big right toe was sore. When I was on my knees, a lot my weight was placed on tops of my feet, which were pressing into the patio surface most of the day. I inspected the toe and saw nothing unusual, and therefore didn’t give it much additional thought.

My foot often twitches during the course of the day, and when that occurs the big toe usually curls upward into the toe of my shoe. Most of the time I don’t pay attention to it, but yesterday my toe hurt every time it curled up. Upon removing my sock to inspect the cause, I saw that almost half of the area under the nail had filled with blood and was turning blue/black color. If anyone of you have ever banged your fingernail with a hammer or mistakenly kicked a hard, immovable object, you know what I’m talking Toenailabout.

These types of things have been occurring for several years, with more frequency each subsequent year.  Trivial mishaps that might have resulted in a bruise or small scratch that didn’t break the skin’s surface, always create a bruise or draws blood now, and sometimes a lot of it. Nothing that is stitch-worthy, mind you, but enough to use several tissues to stem the tide. Since my balance is so bad, I am frequently bumping into something, and if that something has a sharp corner or edge, I bleed.

My Dad lived until he was 96, and his 96 year old skin was a lot tougher and more durable than mine is now. The only explanation I can come up with is that the meds have done this. What else could it be?

Hopefully it won’t get any worse.




All Quiet on the Publishing Front


2019 is turning out to an abject lesson on how hard it is to get published.

The last few months of 2018 was dedicated to putting the “package” together for prospective publishers, which included a biography, a chapter summary, a book synopsis, a competition analysis and a market analysis. I silently cursed a blue streak when those requirements were laid on me, primarily because I had no clue how to go about preparing the last two items, and because it represented unexpected work during a time when we were just breaking ground on the new house.

Perhaps established or more experienced authors have a personal assistant they can pawn this shit off to, but us rookies don’t have that luxury. So I slaved away over a period of two weeks, trying my best to emulate some examples my agent sent me. I thought the final products were pretty good for a neophyte, and emailed them to my agent along with a long list of prospective publishers she asked me to vet, and in mid-January I received a list of publishers my agent sent inquiries to.

Although I am a glass-half-full kind of guy, I wasn’t naïve enough to assume the publishers would come flocking, begging to be the ones to let my brilliant debut see the light of day. But I was confident that there would be modest interest, and that I’d have a book deal by the end of the year.

Ever since, all I have heard is the sound of crickets.

I knew that my agent wasn’t sitting around eating bon bons because K was getting some interest in her manuscript, as we both have the same agent. Nothing came to fruition, but at least she’d get the occasional email telling her who received the latest referral and what the response was.

I got zilch! Complete and utter silence.

I’d send an email every couple of months to make sure my agent was still alive and hadn’t forgotten about me, not that I really thought that. Each time she indicated she was still fishing but wasn’t getting any nibbles. This was discouraging to say the least, because I honestly thought what I wrote was pretty good, and that somebody would want to take a peek. The last time I reached out she indicated summer is traditionally a very slow period, and she’d make another concerted push come fall if nothing turned up in the interim.

By now I had resigned myself to the reality that this wasn’t going to happen. For whatever reasons, what we had wasn’t enticing enough to generate anyone’s interest and ask for more. Part of me wasn’t displeased because I assumed once that happened, more work would be required of me, and that I’d have to start writing another manuscript if I became published. This would require time I did not have, with the ongoing house construction and subsequent move.

So I didn’t obsess over the lack of interest. Yes, it would have been a nice ego boost, and who couldn’t use a little extra income from book sales, given the cost overruns with the house. But honestly, I’m so fried from getting this house finished that I stopped caring about anything else. If it happened, great! If not, well, it was worth a try. I’ve got more important things to worry about, and I’d happily go back to regular blogging once the move was completed and we were finally settled in  the new place.

Then, out of the blue, I received an email late last week from my agent who informed me that one of the founders of a New York publishing house asked to see the manuscript, not just the first few pages, and my agent emailed the entire manuscript in addition to all that other stuff I had to prepare last year. I was assured this was a “BIG DEAL.” Shortly after that, an editor from another place in Toronto expressed interest and received the same package. Just this morning, she let me know a third publisher, a large New York firm whose stable of authors includes, or had included at one time, James Patterson and David Baldacci, Nicholas Sparks and John Grisham, is reading the manuscript.

I’m told they all good possibilities.

Am I doing cartwheels? No. I am cautiously optimistic though. I figure the more eyes that see it increase the odds that someone will want to take a chance on an unknown like me. It’s nice to know my work isn’t going to wither on the vine, and that some unbiased, professional people will read my work. Regardless of whether they want to take it on or not, I’ll get some valuable feedback. If I’m not for them, perhaps they might refer it to a colleague who they believe might be interested, and the action that I believed would happen early in the year might finally happen.

Who knows, maybe I’ll get lucky. Wouldn’t that be a nice housewarming present?

Random Thoughts


A few thoughts that have filtered through the frontal lobe as the monotonous grind of house building slogs along:

Age had always been an irrelevant number to me, but the longer you are upright and breathing, the more it seems that events conspire to make you think about your age. For instance, ever since I hit sixty I have noticed more people my age, and even younger, in the obituaries. How can you not think of getting older after noticing how often members of your age group are taking the dirt nap? It’s a chicken or the egg thing. Has it always been that way, or am I noticing it more because I’ve started to pay attention to the obituaries?

Your body also has a nasty way of reminding you how old you are. My teeth never bothered me until recently. I have to pee more frequently than ever before, and it isn’t because of the MS (that’s a separate issue, one of which requires me to wear pads). Age spots are beginning to appear, my hair gets greyer/whiter by the month, and is thinning to such a degree that I need to wear a baseball cap every time I go outside otherwise various parts my head will burn.

Physically, my once taut bod is starting to sag. I suspect women lament the day when their boobs start to drift south, but that also happens with men. When our pecs lose their tone, man-boobs are the often the result. I’m not there yet, primarily because of all the work on the new house. But I can see them getting to that point. Yuck!

Be that as it may, I mistakenly thought men got off relatively easy on the sagging front. That changed when I noticed that the sack that keep the boys close to my body has begun to sag in a similar fashion. This may not seem like a big deal, but I like to lounge in sweat shorts or sweat pants in commando fashion when I am at home during the evening. With a sack that sags and swings, the act of sitting down, primarily because that process can be clumsy, compliments of the MS, and sometimes results in them getting pinched between my legs, or they hit the surface I’m am trying to sit on with some force before the buttocks can cushion the blow. It’s like shock therapy that sends currents of pain reverberating down one’s legs, and it is yet another thing I have to pay attention to. Hey Tom! See what you have to look forward to?

Speaking of aging, is it my imagination, or do fat cells tend to gather in men’s stomachs and in women’s hips and butt as they get older? I’ve observed men I haven’t seen in a while with guts protruding over and beyond their beltlines, and women whose bottoms look like they are significantly larger and wider.

How come a women’s purse is as big as a duffle bag, and men’s wallets are the size of an index card?

And while we are on that line of questioning, why do women bring their purse and as many as three other bags to work while men only need a wallet?

From the Men Are From Mars and Women are from Venus line of thought: Most men I know, yours truly included, can get a call from a good friend they haven’t spoken to in months and the conversation lasts fifteen to twenty minutes. Women get on the phone with a girlfriend they spoke to within the last several days, perhaps even yesterday, and talk for over an hour. Why is that?

I remember Connecticut weather being very predictable when I was a kid. Each season was what is was supposed to be: cold snowy winters, warm and sometimes hot summers. Spring started cool and gradually got warmer as summer approached, and the exact opposite happened as Autumn morphed into Winter. Now? This winter was temperate with little snow. Spring was wet and cold, and this summer has been ghastly hot and humid. We just had the hottest July on record. Who knows what the fall will bring. Two years ago we were in a drought situation where water rationing was being seriously considered, then we made up for it in less than six months. Call it what you will: global warming, climate change, whatever. Something is going on, and if the powers that be don’t do something to attempt to remedy the situation, the our planet will take care of itself in the form of another Ice Age or something similarly catastrophic. It won’t happen in my lifetime, but perhaps my inland Connecticut home will become ocean-front property in my son’s lifetime.

The only good thing about the Red Sox free-fall is that I won’t have any distractions when it comes time to move.

And speaking of the Sox and teams in general, if a team has such an extraordinary year like they did last year, then follow that with an unexpectedly bad season, which year was the fluke?

I’m dreading the 2020 election cycle. It’s going to be long, tedious, nasty, cringe-worthy and supremely depressing, especially if the outcome doesn’t change the current status quo. I wish I could sleep through it all and wake up on election day. Then I’d have the option of being optimistic or going back to sleep for another four years.

As I have gotten older, I have become more and more like my father. I react like him about many things. I worry about the same things he did (and didn’t), I hear his words leave my lips and I look more and more like him. It’s taught me that no matter how much we swear we will  never be like our parents, we turn into one of their clones.  In my case, assuming it’s true, I hope the health and longevity he enjoyed is part of the package. That might be too much to expect with a disease like MS, but one can always hope.

If any of you decide to build a house, be warned. You become consumed by the process at some point in time, and lose all sense of time and perspective during the process. Nothing ever goes according to plan, it costs a lot more than it was supposed to, and as you get towards the end of the process you wonder why the hell you decided on such a foolish venture. Then you move, are established in the new place, and wonder what all the fuss and angst was about.  I’m still in the why the hell portion of this journey. As much as I enjoy summer, I can’t wait for it to be over because we’ll be in the new place, will have sold (hopefully) the old place, and I will feel settled for the first time in almost a year.









Walking Into A Furnace


Oh my God was it hot last weekend! I’m not talking about above average New England temperatures either. I’m referring to heat and humidity that felt biblical, made you wilt, and made you feel like your body was melting.

The talking heads warned us it was coming, and for once they got it right. Warnings of dangerous heat and humidity plastered the airwaves on Tuesday, and they amped up the volume during the subsequent days.  Friday came and, as predicted, the heat steadily grew throughout the day, but that was simply a dress rehearsal for what came next.

When I went outside early Saturday morning to check the pool chemicals my body felt like it was shrouded in a hot, moist shroud, and this was at 7:30! It seemed like every pore in my body started leaking, and I’m not the type of person who perspires at the drop of a hat.

Under normal circumstances, the weather would make any sane person stay indoors and do as little as possible until the heat broke, but with an imminent move on the horizon as progress on the new house rolls on, sanity took a back seat.

To give you an idea of how oppressively hot it was, the heat index was around 115 Saturday. I don’t think it was quite as humid on Sunday, but we’re splitting hairs, and as we returned home from the job site at 8pm Sunday evening, the outdoor temperature was 87 degrees. Are you kidding me?!

What is it about oppressive heat and home construction? When we built our first house in 1997, we lived in Southern Indiana (Evansville), which by far is the hottest place I have ever endured. Completely landlocked in the southern tier of the country, the heat had nowhere it go. Temperatures were routinely in the 80s and 90 with humidity to match, and it was hotter at 7pm than it was at 3pm.

How hot was Evansville? One day in July I took a day off to help clean up the construction site. Arriving there at 7:30 in the morning, I brought three gallons of Gatorade with me to consume so I wouldn’t cramp up or pass out. Between the time I arrived and 2:30 in the afternoon, when it simply became too hot to continue, I had consumed all of the Gatorade and peed only once during those seven hours. My clothes looked like I showered in them, and the dust from the site had caked onto my exposed skin.

That is what was last weekend was like. It felt like walking into and living inside a roaring furnace that got hotter as the day got longer.

Of course, I was 23 three years younger back then and didn’t have MS, and I still felt miserable that evening. I wasn’t foolish enough to push myself like that this past weekend, but I know I was still outside more than I should have been.

On Saturday, we helped my nephew remove and pack some furniture, file cabinets and tools that we no longer needed into a large van, then organized the garage a little to create more room to maneuver given the new open space. The pool was a godsend, and I jumped into that sucker a number of times during the day. Perhaps that is why the heat’s full effect didn’t arrive until later that evening,  when a wave of fatigue I hadn’t experienced in a long time consumed me.

Knowing I  over-exerted myself, Sunday was going to be a day spent inside. That lasted until early afternoon, as one can only stay cooped up for so long. Cabin fever compelled me to put on the swim trunks, open the deck umbrella, and take turns reading and jumping into the pool to cool off. Cooling is a relative term, because the water temperature was 90, having increased three degrees in less than twenty four hours. Still, it was blissful by comparison. Any relief the pool offered was short-lived, however, because within five minutes of leaving the pool, not having bothered to dry off, I’d erupt in more perspiration. Within ten minutes I’d once again feel like I was baking from the inside out, so back into the pool I’d go. This routine lasted for maybe an hour an a half, when the process became more annoying than refreshing.

Unfortunately, one task to do at the construction site remained. A Chickadee had decided several weeks prior to build a nest in what turned out to be an ingeniously difficult spot to get to in the corner of the garage.  For weeks, we’d hear the chirps of baby birds asking for their momma, and watch her dutifully fly in an out of their lair to feed and attend to them. As the sheetrock went up, nobody wanted to touch them, and we certainly didn’t want to entomb them. Assuming it would not be long until they flew the coop, we left that part of the garage open.

Well, it turned out last weekend was the time the coop was flown, either because they were full grown or it was too hot to stay put. I wanted leave the nest where it was and sheetrock over the remaining open space, but was vetoed by K. So we brought a ladder to the site after seven, and up I climbed to see if I could exhume the damn thing.

This nest was tucked between two 2x4s, and the entrance to it was a sliver of a triangle, at least eleven feet up in the rafters. I gingerly made it up each rung while K dutifully held the ladder. I had some long, heavy duty tweezers, and methodically pulled pieces of the nest out of its shelter.

It was hot and nasty up there. The air was still, heavy and dense. I’m not sure how long it took, but after removing what I felt was almost three-quarters of the thing, pulling out a variety of twigs, straw and plastic with each tweezer-grab, I had to stop because I was getting light-headed and started to feel a little queasy. Getting down the ladder was hard. K had to help by literally grabbing the ankle of my bad leg and guiding it to the next step down. Once I landed on terra firma my legs felt like jelly and my body felt like a limp dishrag. Remember, the air temp was 87 at the time, but it had to be at least another five to ten degrees hotter up in those rafters.

I shuffled over to the car, not able to lift either foot off the ground, shed my sodden clothes once we arrived home, slowly and carefully made my way upstairs to take a cool shower, then collapsed onto the bed, where I didn’t move for two hours. I felt a lot better after that, and was able to use my legs again.

I was a little surprised at how my body reacted because I actually did more physical work the previous day in higher heat and humidity, but suspect this reaction was more of an accumulation of the weekend’s events. I pushed myself to see how far I could go and what I could endure.

I wasn’t sure what Monday morning would bring, but it wasn’t any more difficult than a typical morning, so the heat’s impact didn’t linger into the next day. I could sit here and vow to never do that again, but that would be a lie. Stuff has got to get done if we want to move before Labor Day, so while I will try to be smart about my approach, I know the limits will once again be pushed if the situation calls for it.

Hopefully we won’t have a repeat of this past weekend’s oppressive heat. Storms rolled through the area on Monday and into Tuesday to wring all the moisture out of the air. Temps will revert to the upper 80s and low 90’s over the next ten days, which is hot by Connecticut standards, but sounds like Nirvana compared to what just occurred. It actually feels pleasant outside today by comparison.

It would be nice if last weekend turned out to be the worst this summer has to offer but I’m not banking on the idea that we aren’t going to experience another round of excessive heat.

That would be too convenient.