Saturday, Andrew and I took a little drive through hell to reach the not-so-hellish Napa, where Andrew would run a half-marathon. Our car still does not have air-conditioning, and as we drove through all the Worst Places on Earth—Vacaville, Fairfield, and on down—the temperature got hotter and hotter, reaching a sultry 104. We were melting. My poor baby must have felt like a bun in an actual oven. In a kind of desperation we stopped at a grocery store for cold drinks; in even more desperation we finally pulled into Sonoma for the race expo, where I procured a can of energy drink to press onto my scalding skin. I was reduced, as I am every year when the temperatures, as promised, pass the 100 mark and stay there, to a sputtering, walking fountain (lava fountain) of hatred, ready to take to the highway and not look back until my feet are in the Atlantic Ocean. Andrew directed his frustration and hatred at the car, threatening as we drove to get into an intentional accident.
Earlier in the drive, before we’d melted and while we were still able to talk civilly to each other, we saw a man of a Certain Age driving a red convertible with the license plate “BLANK IT” down Interstate 80. Whenever I see such a car and driver in NorCal, especially in wine country, I like to call them “California Dreamin’”—people whose goal in life has clearly been to chuck it all, buy a convertible, and move to California. This man in particular seemed to have a jaunty disposition, as though he’d left a wife and family behind—Blank it, I’m moving to California! At that point we were passing some lovely, treeless housing developments, baking in the sun, and were between two shopping plazas. Ha, we thought, is this what you’d imagined? How d’you like California now, buddy?
Finally, finally, we reached Beth and Nate’s house in the significantly cooler Napa, where we were excited to see that the babies had learned our names. We had a lovely dinner at a pizza place, then sat out in their backyard after the babies’ bedtime, where we were actually chilly.
Sunday morning was the half-marathon—from Napa to Sonoma—and Andrew did splendidly, beating his time goal, despite some foot trouble earlier in the week. We’d planned to meet him at the end, but as we were driving to the central square, I actually spotted him on the course. I jumped out and managed to see him cross the finish line. He had a nasty blister but otherwise seemed unscathed, and it was a beautiful, cool morning. We had some breakfast and eyed strollers while the babies played at the playground, a place where I now feel I have a certain right to be since I’m visibly pregnant. I’m no longer a creepily lurking adult.
After a nice lunch with Beth and Nate, we were back on the road. It was another hot drive. And it just got hotter the closer we got to home, peaking at 111. Our house felt like an oven. It felt like an oven even after we turned on the AC, took cold showers, and got Blizzards from DQ. We slept in the guest room, which was significantly cooler than our bedroom.
It’s going to be in the high 90s-100s all week. Truly, this is awful. Every year, as the fall, winter, and spring lull us with their endlessly mild temperatures and normal (though endless) sunshine, I feel like we fall into a kind of complacency, nodding in reluctant acceptance that, maybe, it’s not so bad to live here, and hey—that low cost of living. And then BAM. Summer. BAM. BAM BAM BAM. I literally felt beat up last night, drained and exhausted by 9pm. Remember now, why you can’t wait to leave? Remember now?