Thursday, July 28, 2005


Finally, the back on this oppressive weather has been broken. Yesterday's high of 98 (and a heat index of one hundred and something teen) made it the hottest day in the past three years.

Massive thunderstorms blew through last night as I was painting the kitchen at my daughter's school. Tuition offset, as anyone who sends their kids to Catholic school knows. You have two choices: summer cleaning or bingo. Due to D'Wife's asthma, bingo and a hall full of it's chain-smoking pracitioners, is not a viable option. So it falls to mops and buckets, rollers and brushes, and 50 hours of parish service, to kick our bill down by $350 ... I'm getting $7 an hour for this??? I collected more when I had to paint my high school in the summer of 1979.

The first round of storms came out of the East, and curled around before going back out the same way. A perfect set up for tornadoes. "It looks like the Wizard of Oz out there," the announcer said on the radio. Fortunately, there are no trailer parks near me.

After putting in my time at the school, and between downpours, I was able to make a run to pick up some
Dogfish Head 60-Minute IPA - my favorite beer on hot summer evenings. It's got a great copper color and a hoppiness so sharp, you can cut galss with it.

After dinner the second wave of thunderstorms came in. I went out to the porch to relax with a smoke and a pint. My buddy
Pete had given me a Te-Amo to bring home from our visit this past weekend. I lit up, took a sip of beer, and put my feet up on the porchrail to watch the "light show." With the first couple of flahes, cracks of thunder, and sheets of rain, seeing my rose bushes swaying in breeze (they reach nearly to the porch roof) I couldn't help but think "McGinnis would love this."

Dan McGinnins is a friend of mine from way back. He's a Hunter Thompson fanatic, a polo watcher, a gourmand, a historian. He is an encyclopedia of 80's Pop music (Who sang "Happy Birthday" by Altered Images ... Why Claire Grogan, of course) He claims to be directly descended from the Guinness clan that produced the beer of that name. If Edward Gorey had ever been a young man, I'm sure he was much like Dan. I hadn't heard a word from him in many years. On an excursion of mine a couple of weeks ago, I got the email address of another lost friend, who in turn forwarded mine to Dan.

The Mysterious Mr. McGinnis

The mysterious Mr. McGinnis
Must surely love his house,
Because once he's in it
You can not drag him out.

He must work early in the morning
And go to bed early at night
Because after 6 o'clock
No one’s ever seen a light.
At least at the front of the house
Or on the second or third floor.
The thing that frightens me most, my friend,
Is that there's no light above the door.

I've heard that he has parties,
So he probably has friends.
But his parties go on so long
And no one's ever seen again.

There are weeds he calls a garden.
And dead bushes that he calls trees.
What flowers he might have
Don't even attract bees.

No one come in and no ones comes out.
Unless he says so.
Will I be invited back someday

Unfortunately, I guess, no.

This morning dawned bright and clear ... not crystal clear, like after a hurricane, but more like Carnival Glass, with its iridescent blues, purples and pinks.

And, as a bonus, the cicadas are quiet.

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