My wife saw a snake slither from one of the bushes growing just outside the east garage door,
next to the AC unit, so I cut them down. It was a black snake, not venomous, and its presence is
probably why I haven’t encountered mice or bigger things in this new neighborhood.
Turns out I lopped, sawed, and axed the wrong plants. She told me they were the ones to the
right of the door, but she meant facing the door, not looking out. But that’s okay since I believe
there shouldn’t be any bushes or trees growing right next to the walls. The roots can
compromise the foundation and even clog the pipe to the septic tank. That happened at Old
House a few years ago. It was exhausting, digging to expose the broken part of the PVC that had
allowed a fist-sized clump of roots to block the drainage like a fine sieve. Every time we
flushed, brown water rose into the tub, shower, and toilets. We had the guys come over to pump
out the septic tank, but that wasn’t what was wrong, darn them. I fixed it myself.
So now I’m getting rid of all the shrubberies planted by the previous owner. From my “tenure”
in the Garden Center at Exwork, I recognize two of them as Japanese Boxwood. I’ve always
loved those, with their little leaves. But because they are potential homes for vermin, they must
go. When I finally clear out that side of the house, I plan to grow beans: pinto, great northern,
navy, and garbanzos. Might even plant some black-eyed peas, only because they grow good
here. (But not kidney or lima. They never absorb the broth they’re cooked in, always stay too
But it’s hard work, hot work, for the stumps will grow new branches, and so I have to dig them
out, pull up the roots. I’ve acclimated myself to a lot of weather, the cold and snow and freezing
streams of glacier melt in Alaska, the ground radiating heat hotter than the sun in the sky in
Texas, the maddening monsoons in Korea and Washington State, and the thrill and terror of
hurricanes in Florida. But more and more what I can’t tolerate is a high dewpoint.
People complain about the humidity, but really what they mean is the dewpoint. I’ve
researched it but still can’t quite comprehend the science. It goes something like this: When
warm air comes in contact with a cooler surface, water will condense on that surface. In other
words, when hot H2O-laden air touches our cooler skin, the water instantly attaches, and that’s why
we feel suddenly slimy a moment after stepping outside. Our sweat can’t evaporate. A dewpoint
of 69 degrees is when we humans start feeling uncomfortable.
A number of years ago when I was soaked with dewpoint from working outside, I caught a
cold that was the worst I ever had and was out for three days. An assmag had ordered me to
come inside and pull pallets of new freight to the floor, and the AC was set low, and in the back
there was a huge hole in the ductwork along the ceiling that blew straight down on the aisle
where all of us were pulling from, that I caught a chill that worked its way from my wet
shoulders into my lungs. I have never forgiven them for that.
Summer doesn’t officially begin until the 21 st of June, but already the dewpoint is rising. And
of course by the tilt of the earth we of the northern hemisphere are getting more shine from our
star, so be sure to use SPF 100. SPF stands for Sun Protection Factor. You have to know how quickly you start burning to calculate your factor. If your skin starts getting fried after ten minutes, and you’re using an SPF 10 sunblock, you have one hour and forty minutes before you need to apply more lotion. One hundred means you can go all day. I prefer Coppertone. It’s a fragrance from my childhood.
I think this summer when Senor Cargador stops by we’ll drink our coffee, talk our talk, and
smoke our smokes in the house, instead of in the dewy garage. My wife, Smeechiekins (ref:
Archie comics) used to smoke, and all of us smoked in the house back then, so a few minutes at
the dining room table midday now and then shouldn’t be so alarming. We’ll see.
Oh yeah, I almost forgot about the title: it means 65 degrees F, 65 degrees dewpoint, 6 mile-an-
hour breeze, and partly cloudy. That’s my favorite weather. There were a few days this late
winter when it was exactly that, and I prefer it always. But there is such a climate the whole
year long? You know what? Screw Mars! Let’s build domed cities on Earth.