The Dog Days

Deep summer is when laziness finds respectability. ~Sam Keen

I was wondering the other day about the origin of the saying “the dog days of summer.” Why on earth are the hottest days attributed to poor little creatures trapped in fur coats? It seems that they would prefer the dog days of autumn and would prefer to stay inside during the sweltering summer.  I know I would.  And I don’t have the fur coat situation going on.

I do have some rather humidity-sensitive hair.  And some sun-sensitive skin.  And…exposure-sensitive everything else.

Summer is not my season.  But I am trying hard to rise above.  To be a good sport.

I coat myself in sunscreen every morning. Every inch that could possibly be exposed to sun. Every. Inch. Because past experience tells me that the tiniest sliver left unprotected is the tiny sliver that somehow magnetically attracts the rays of the sun.  And burns.  Within seconds.

By the end of the summer I am a patchwork of the bits and pieces I missed.  This little peeling patch. That red spot. That freckle. A bronzed goddess I am not.  Not by a long shot.

My children luckily inherited some melanin from their father. They tan. But I still worry (this is a recurring theme, me worrying about things that aren’t as worrisome in reality as they are in my mind) that my motherly duties include thoroughly coating them in high-SPF protection before sending them out into the world.

As they have aged out of allowing me to apply the sunscreen, I have been relegated to the role of “sunscreen consultant.”  I give guidelines of how much to apply and pointers on application technique.  My son appears to be willing to at least pretend that the information I share is valuable.  My daughter applies one tiny drop of sunscreen to her face with surgical precision and shoots me the evil eye if I suggest that, while I appreciate her efforts to be efficient and all, she should consider PUTTING MORE ON.

They do allow me (begrudgingly) to spray sunscreen on their backs.  But oh the complaining.  It’s COLD.  It TICKLES.  I CAN’T BREATHE.  Whiners.

I look forward to fall when everyone will again be covered with clothes so that I can let down my skin cancer watch.  Slightly, anyway.

My dog is looking forward to fall as well, she’s not a fan of the dog days either.  She wants to resume walks.  She thinks it is ridiculous that we can’t go careening around the neighborhood every morning. Ridiculous.

We tried to go for a walk last week.  I thought that the heat had broken a bit and it seemed like it might be OK to take a little stroll.  We started out OK.  She was super excited to have her tiny little pink harness on.  She pranced and pulled and taunted the poor dogs trapped in their air conditioned homes. Suckers.

Then we came to the first hill.  And as the sweat started to drip down my back, she started to slow down a bit and then she gave me a look that said, “What kind of insane person takes their FUR COVERED dog for a walk when it is THIS FREAKING HOT OUT??”  I ended up carrying her most of the way home (luckily she’s less than 10 pounds) and hoping that no one saw me.  Because I really don’t want to be that crazy lady who carries her dog around the neighborhood.  I’m already the crazy lady in her pajamas at noon.  I need to protect my image.

As we re-entered our own neighborhood I put her back on the ground so that we could pretend to be normal.  She did a great job for a few yards, but then she spotted a shady spot under a tree and flung herself to the ground.  I imagined a little thought bubble over her head, “GO…SAVE YOURSELF!”  But we don’t leave a man (or tiny dog) down around here, so I scooped her back up and carried her the rest of the way home.  Quickly.  Without being spotted.  Whew.

She has shown no interest in her little pink harness since then. Post traumatic stress I think.  Or burnt feet.

The Farmer’s Almanac apparently defines The Dog Days of Summer as the period from July 3rd through August 11th (What, you don’t read the Almanac??)  So we have a couple of weeks to go.  Between the brown of my lawn, the red of my skin, the frizz of my hair, and the generally stickiness of my children, I am pretty ready for them to move along.

Git along little doggies. Git.

About Kristen

Me: Kristen, more than 40-something (don't make me face the number), suburban mom of 2, working girl, therapeutic writer, proprietor of an emptying nest Addictions: Iced Coffee, FOMO resulting in twitchy compulsion to check FB/Instagram/Pinterest in an unending loop, texting, hugging my one child while Snapchatting the other and yelling at my dog

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