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We are currently in the middle of a heat wave in New York City. I know, I broke down and used the terminology being spouted at me each morning on the news. And not in a cool Irving Berlin way, in a completely brain and energy sucking way that leaves me inconsolably worried about my kitty at home. She’s fine I know. She has tons of water, the windows are cracked around the apartment and the bathroom floor’s tiles stay really cool. But still, I worry because that’s what pseudo-mommies do. But I am not going to moan and wail about the heat because you are either dealing with it too or completely unaffected.

My trip to the Midwest was lovely. Family is all good.

A funny story from my time away.

My parents replaced the shingles or roofing stuff (forgive my non-technical knowledge of the roofing trade) on their house about a year ago. And yes for those of you who know more about where I grew up, it was damaged a bit from a tornado and that’s why they had to have the work done. My mother and I were watering her flowers along the front walkway and she pointed out this nail hanging in what was either a super-strength spider’s web or some plastic tarping (or a combination of both) that caused it to dangle from one of the top eaves of the roof and knock against the house. Apparently she noticed it one day when she was in the study and the house was quiet (no TV or music playing).

Since I am never one to back down from a ridiculous task or let a banging nail disrupt my mother’s online shopping, I decided that we were going to get it down. Mind you the house is two stories at the eave in question. So not an easy task. I quickly enlist my Dad’s help because I can tell that my Mom has passed on the adventure due to her thoughtful pragmatism. My Dad is in. Seriously, in a matter of second he’s forming a plan. Since we think it might be caught in a spider web, he grabs the hose that is watering the garden a ways down their property (they live on 8.5 acres, yes it really is out in the country). We attack that swinging nail with a forceful blast of water… that proceeds to do nothing but wet the nail and plastic tarping (unfortunately it is not simply a spider’s web). This dulls the tapping but only momentarily because the second it dries the banging will begin again.

On to phase two of the grand plan. This gets a bit more dangerous (as my Dad and I do always tend to raise the stakes). You guessed it, a ladder. The new plan is that my Dad will climb the ladder, step onto part of the roof (which is sloped) and pull the nail/tarp combo off the eave. But… yes, now the roof is wet from our attempt with the hose. My Dad’s first trip up the ladder ends with this realization. As you might imagine, my Mom isn’t handling this very well and drifts off to the side of the house or inside (I’m not sure) because I don’t think she can watch us do this anymore. I offered to climb up but my Dad is considerably taller than I am and has a greater wingspan. He also said that he didn’t want me falling off the roof because I had to go back to New York in a few days (not that he wanted to fall off the roof either but I get his point).

I am half pioneer stock and half Irish immigrant so not long confounded by difficulty in any circumstance. My Dad is also fiercely driven (in many matters, not simply man vs. nail). A rake then enters the picture. The thought is that if my Dad climbs the ladder and steps up onto the roof with one foot, the rake will extend his reach enough to get the nail/tarp without having to completely climb a slopped surface of soaking wet shingles. I yell this news to my Mom to somewhat put her at ease. He takes to the ladder for a second time and I hold it tightly and keep it steady as he steps on the roof, extends the rake… and SUCCESS. He whacks at the nail/tarp bundle and it comes crashing down (well it’s a small nail in a piece of plastic tarp so crashing might be a bit of an exaggeration).

Now my trip involved many wonderful memories (I don’t want you to think that conquering a rooftop nail was the highlight) but they are significantly sappier and less dramatic. I did shoot off fireworks, it was a package from the Fireworks Stand called a “bucket of fun,” and I did NOT light my hair on fire. I visited my grandparents and shared some laughs. I also ate three meals a day, which is the craziest part of visiting (more of a critique of my usual habits than a mention of any Midwestern weirdness). And we traced the history of our family pets for some strange reason. I had a puppy names Hokey Pokey. I know… so incredibly silly… and I am the one who named him that (are you surprised?!). He was apparently very wild and feisty. We were living in town at the time so my parents found a family friend in the country and he went to live on a farm. No really, he did. Mike made fun of me when I recounted the story (yeah sure, he “went to live on a farm”) but it’s true. We visited him. I saw pictures. Ah Hokey Pokey… you were a cutey.

Now I am back in the Rainforest that is masquerading as New York City but I have to admit that I always have a bit of a Midwestern hangover. I wish my family lived closer but I do my best to make every visit count. And clearly there is never a dull moment during the journey.

Wishing you a little adventure and a cool place to sleep,

Louise

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