I’ve got a great deal to do today and a very small window in which to do it. I have to accomplish several Herculean tasks while the weather cooperates — before it gets so hot and sticky that all I can do is concentrate on remaining as still as possible while still managing to meet my family’s basic needs. The summer, at least for me, becomes an exercise in time and clothing management.
Like a farmer, I try to avoid doing anything strenuous after noon. Activities that involve heavy lifting — like laundry and vacuuming — simply must be ticked off the list by mid-morning. I no longer garden, but when I did, I had to rise before the cock crowed to tend to the tomatoes and the green beans.
Because of my aversion to sweating and all of the discomfort that accompanies it, cooking in the summertime is problematic. We tend to eat a lot of salad. My husband used to barbecue, but that went by the wayside when we moved here — there’s just no place for a grill. And, really, that’s just fine with me. Barbecuing is far more trouble than it’s worth — particularly because it’s my husband’s milieu. Honestly, all he ever did was stand over the grill and burn whatever meat product was on the menu — I did, pretty much, everything else.
I was almost always forced to take on the role of “barbecue assistant”, which entailed handing Fang whichever tool he deemed necessary to the task at hand. Anyone who ever watched us barbecue was probably put in mind of one of those medical dramas — Fang played the role of the competent, yet surprisingly handsome, surgeon while I was cast as his efficient O.R. nurse. Substitute “spatula” for “scalpel”, “tongs” for “Kelly clamp” and, well, you get the picture.
The main problem with this analogy, though, would be in my manner of dress. My barbecue attire was closer to scantily clad magician’s assistant than to O.R. nurse. I tend to kiss modesty up to God in the summertime. I try to wear as little as possible. Though I try to guard against it, I often look like a hooker on her way to the corner or someone who has just managed to escape her captors. And I don’t care. Because I’m hot.
I’m ALWAYS hot and I ALWAYS have been. Poor Fangette also got the “hot gene”. I like to blame my severe dislike of heat and humidity on my Irish and my Dutch ancestry. “My people”, I like to say, “were not made for this weather!” Given the wide array of Western European blood that pours through my veins, I don’t have a spit of Mediterranean blood — not one drop. I thought my daughter might have a fighting chance at avoiding the “hot gene”, given that my husband is 100% Italian, but she seems to have been unlucky in this area.
She also didn’t get his aquiline nose — my husband has THE FINEST Roman nose I have ever seen! It’s really something. If they ever lose all images of Caesar or his descendants and they have to find a nose, you know, for sculpting purposes, all they have to do is come to New Jersey and seek him out. Frankly, I’m surprised that my husband hasn’t been stopped on the street by a world-renowned plastic surgeon who would finally, upon stumbling upon Fang outside of, say, the supermarket or the car wash, be able to end their lifelong quest for the perfect nose. It’s that good.
Almost the first thing I did, upon meeting Fangette, after counting up all of her fingers and toes, was to check her nose. I knew right away she was doomed. Doomed to go through life with my pug. I was pleased that she got his chin though — she hit the genetic lottery there — because I barely have a chin at all. Well, I HAVE one, but it’s, let’s just say, vaguely defined. My husband and my daughter, though, they have great chins. Chiseled chins. They have delightful chins. Their chins are a constant source of envy for me, the nearly chinless.
Being challenged in the chin department is made more difficult as one enters midlife. Because of the developing wattle. It’s one thing to have the beginnings of a wattle when you have a chin — less noticeable that way — but when you are already chinless? That’s tough. In the wintertime I am able to camouflage my deformity by wearing turtlenecks — I find the drapey kind work best. Tank tops and camisoles, my “go-to” summer top choices, do nothing to hide the emerging wattle. My only hope is that people focus on my cleavage rather than on my chinlessness.
I’m really looking forward to the next couple of months — to dressing like a streetwalker, to getting up at the crack of dawn, and to eating like a rabbit. I can’t wait. It’s not too early to be looking forward to Winter, is it?
photo credit: barn