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The Summer Olympics

 

Cricket has been losing her mind even more than usual lately, and I’ve decided to blame it on the heat. Of course, I’m projecting. I can’t stand the humidity of summer in New York. As a kid, I went to sleep away camp in the mountains, which was just a smidge better, until they made us play sports in the middle of the day, and ruined it. I am allergic to the heat. I get sun poisoning, usually on my arms, so I end up wearing a light jacket all summer long, and taking it off when I get indoors, which drives people crazy. I put sunblock on my face year round, so as long as I don’t stare up at the sun, I’m alright without a hat for a few minutes at a time. But the worst part of summer humidity is when I feel like I’m breathing through a straw, but not a nice, normal flexible straw, one of those hard plastic crazy straws that look like a roller coaster for tiny ants. Oh, and I don’t like bugs either.

So, as I was saying, summer is clearly a problem for Cricket.

Cricket has been tossing Platypus around like, well, like a stuffed animal. The problem, is, even though I still take the dogs out four times a day, none of those trips takes them beyond the backyard. We don’t walk through the goose poop fantasia of the duck pond, or get into the car and drive to the beach to sniff seaweed and rotting fish. We don’t even walk up the hill past the Seven Eleven for a hint of cigarette butts and old ham sandwiches.

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“Play with me!”

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“Platypus likes this game, Mommy!”

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“Let’s go outside!”

Cricket is getting stir crazy. She is barking at the next door baby (she made him cry!) and she’s been using me as a trampoline when I try to take my afternoon nap. Butterfly has been fine with the current level of exercise, though. She might enjoy a few more minutes of staring into the distance and listening to the wonders of nature (those birds are such gossips!), but she comes inside willingly and goes back to sleep until real physical need hits again. But Cricket wants to run and jump and hip and hop. I’m afraid to let her watch too much of the Olympics because it will give her too many ideas (though she would never want to go swimming – it’s like voluntary bath time – are they insane?!). The dogs would be fantastic at the Treat Toss and the Chase-The-Mailman race, but somehow these events have not made it into the big competition.

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“There’s more room in my mouth, Mommy. Throw another one.”

Of course I am watching the Olympics. The TV stations have conspired to have nothing else on during the Olympics, so this is all I’ve got. It’s not really a relief from the political drama of the past year, though, because the broadcasters keep making each event and race seem like life or death, not just for their chosen protagonist, but for the masses of unknown people who never even made it to the Olympics and are therefore at home in deep dark depressions with no idea what to do with their lives. Woo hoo!

I try to be inspired by the Olympics, but certain sports make me feel vicariously exhausted. When I watch Michael Phelps flap his arms over his head, my shoulders hurt. And those long distance runners give me leg cramps. I can’t watch women’s beach volleyball at all, not because it’s too sweaty, but because in those outfits they might as well not be wearing clothes at all; there’s no safe place to look. I can watch the gymnastics and swimming pretty comfortably, because they are indoors and nice and cool, but the Track and Field events look too damn hot! I think there should be some breaks in the coverage for a nice ice skating routine so we can cool off.

My favorite place over the summer is next to my air conditioner. I wish I could carry my air conditioner with me everywhere, like one of those old time boom box stereos, right up next to my ear. Maybe someday they’ll make high powered air conditioners the size of iPads and summer will finally make sense to me.

I’m sure I will end up watching some sports that do not usually interest me at all, out of guilt, the same way I watch Luge during the winter games, because someone worked really hard to get to the Olympics in that sport, and it seems only fair to give them a glance. Though I haven’t yet given in to my curiosity about the boating races. There’s something about watching athletes dodge old couches in the middle of rancid waterways that worries me.

One night, I found myself sitting on the couch, kicking for dear life, willing Michael Phelps to the end of the pool – as if he needed my help! I don’t bounce around the room during the gymnastics events; somehow I feel like I have more control over the outcome in the swimming.

At some point in the evening, inevitably, I have to pause the action on the TV and attach the dogs to their leashes and brave the Sauna that is the out of doors. And of course the dogs meander and sniff and pee multiple times and drag me to the far end of the yard for every possible exciting hint of cat, until I am a puddle of sweat. And then we go back inside, and I sit down next to my air conditioner to watch the gymnastics, and I know in my heart that I have done my share of the work and can now revel in team USA’s success.

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Hershey likes to leave her smell in places the dogs can’t quite reach.

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Cricket can smell that cat, but Butterfly is ready to go back inside, just like me.

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Much better.

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About rachelmankowitz

I am a fiction writer, a writing coach, and an obsessive chronicler of my dogs' lives.

77 responses »

  1. Around here all we have been watching is the PAWlympics on the blogs. 🙂

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  2. Great story. I agree with you about summer I am a fall /winter kinda girl. Nugget has some issues watching the Olympics she doesn’t like the gymnastics, to much bouncing I think & she will be glad when the swimming is over, every time they jump off the platform she barks at the TV.

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  3. Our dog, Rudy, is going out of his mind this summer (constant barking, ripping up books, barking incessantly) from the heat, and the thunderstorms and lightning. Needless to say, we’re going out of our minds, too.

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  4. Since we live in Alabama, we get moisture off the Gulf of Mexico. The only good thing about it is that we do live near the Gulf, and it’s only a 5-6 hour drive to get to the soft, white sandy beach!

    I have seriously cut back on watching stuff about the election bc it makes me so stinkin’ mad!

    I love watching the Olympics, especially the gymnastics. Only thing is–I cringe often, bc I keep thinking they’ll fall when they throw themselves against the horse-thing-a-ma-jig. I exhale when they land safely.

    Love a good doggy story…Keep up the good work. Made me laugh!

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  5. I was interrupted 2 times by my Fur baby wanting me to go outside with her before it got dark. Now bear in mind she has a doggie door. So she does not need me to take her out. Nor does she sit at my feet. As type this she is in the back of the yard looking for lizards. But it is not to brutal out here so I will stay and read some more amazing blogs. Thanks so much for sharing.

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  6. I know that desperate feeling where the humidity sucks the air out of your lungs.

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  7. I’ve been there and you’re in the wrong place. LonggggIsland is cold in winter and humid in summer. Hey Cricket and Butterfly, no fleas or ticks in the Sonoran Desert as a bonus..

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  8. Hubs and I don’t like the heat, and poor Maggie doesn’t know where to put herself. We open all the doors and the windows on the boat, but it can get very stuffy, especially at night. Thankfully it’s cooler today, but we are in for heatwave next week. Yikes. Love the captions on the photos again this week.

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  9. It’s winter here in Sydney, so at present we aren’t dealing with the heat. But when summer comes, we all (including Chicki) seem to cope okay. She still goes for a walk by the river, but we aim for the coolest part of the day. She chooses to spend much of her time in the computer room, which is air-conditioned. She’s a real house dog!

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  10. Rachel I sympathize with Cricket because I’m an outdoor girl too. but I avoid going out now. Even with my dark skin and being an easy tanner I felt the sun seemed more intense the past few years and the numbers back up my instintcs. Humidity makes people uncomfortable but can’t in itself hurt you. The UV indexes are consistently over the top, however.. When people get driven crazy by your protective measures (including Cricket) ask them if they’f like to take a walk around Chernobyl. Radiation is radiation regardless of wavelength and the skin under that white fur has to be as delicate as yours, so you are protecting Butterfly and Cricket from something they can’t see or smell. I have to say we need to find an inventor for your personal portable AC unit, I love the idea!

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    • I saw a picture of a dog wearing a little umbrella hat. I think we should at least be able to add a fan to that invention. Butterfly would be much happier. And then maybe she could be the one taking Cricket out for a walk, and I could stay inside with my air conditioner.

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      • Umbrella a good idea. Sometimes people don’t realize dogs can get sunburned under their fur. Stay cool.

  11. Last night as I was bathing in my sweat on the grand lawn at Tanglewood, I was thinking a solar powered fan or air conditioner wouldn’t be a bad idea, why isn’t it a thing? It’s hard when you aren’t on the same page as your dog. There are times when I think we aren’t even looking at the same book! Lol

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  12. The newfs are slow in the heat. A good swim cools them off but now there’s some algae bloom in the lake and it makes them smell foul. Even in the hot weather they like to walk in the woods though.

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  13. Rachel, thanks so much for this post – it warms my heart (which is already sweating in South Carolina this summer) to think of you and Cricket and Butterfly watching the Olympics with us – it’s like a connection, another bond if you think about it, from our TV room at Casa de Canterbury to your TV room in New York. I smile when I think about it.
    Unfortunately, The Red Man’s coverage will be interrupted, perhaps dropped entirely, this week due to Pretty’s imminent knee replacement surgery. Although she is 14 years younger than the old woman Slow, she played competitive tennis as an amateur for almost twenty years and has the knee to show for it. Poor Pretty.

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    • I played Tennis for a very short time, and injured both shoulders, a hip, both feet, and muscles up and down my back. I think Pretty must have been a much better player to have managed only a bad knee out of the deal. Ideally, the swimming and track and field could have traded places in the schedule; watching the swimming would have been much better imaginary physical therapy for her after the surgery than the harsh impact of the track.

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  14. “One night, I found myself sitting on the couch, kicking for dear life, willing Michael Phelps to the end of the pool – as if he needed my help! I don’t bounce around the room during the gymnastics events; somehow I feel like I have more control over the outcome in the swimming.” — This has been my husband and I for all the swimming, especially Michael LOL!!! Thanks for making me laugh out loud this morning. I feel for you folks in the East right now, especially NY….all those skyscrapers and concrete just trap any air that might try to blow right? We are getting a reprieve for a few hours at least here in N. Texas.

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    • I do not feel jealous of the weather in Texas. Nope. I feel bad for not paying enough attention during the 100 meter Butterfly. I’m pretty sure that’s why Micheal Phelps had to settle for silver in that race.

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  15. Our dogs, Remy and Henry are having a tough time with the heat and humidity as well. Remy is an Anatolian Shepherd (a livestock guardian breed). He has a double coat so the heat really gets to him. Henry (a.k.a. Hank) is a Boxer mix so having short hair helps in summer. But they both are really tired of not being able to go play with their friends at the dog park because of the heat. If they’d swim in the built in pool we’d take them, but they are both big babies about it although they swim in a pond with no trouble. Argh!

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  16. You’re such a great writer Rachel, I loved this story and it helps to hear I a not the only one suffering from the heat. I lived in NY and know it can get pretty bad up there. Can’t wait for winter, haha.

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  17. Very funny! The dog days of summer.

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  18. We can’t take the heat, either, so we feel Cricket’s pain!And we aren’t watching the “Balympics”, so it’s all just booooring here! Aside from the cicadas, of course.

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  19. I watched the trampoline gymnastics out of guilt and really liked it. I don’t usually watch unless there’s an American competing but even though there wasn’t one, I felt sorry for this completion and watched it. Lol

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  20. I have been watching some of the Olympics – not much. This morning I watched the Bike Racing at the Velodrome. Haven’t a clue what it was all about, have no idea how the results were calculated or why people move up and down the track like they do, but it seemed interesting, so I watched it. Have no idea who won, or why. Road Racing I understand but this. It is winter here – the heat is yet to come.

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  21. Loved reading your story.

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  22. The heat this summer has been brutal all over. We share your dilemma turing to keep the 4 legged ‘animals’ sufficiently exercised. Relief is on the way soon, autumn official arrives in 41 days. 🙂

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  23. Me and thee. I can barely manage to walk to the car in this heat.

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  24. Your dog is so cute. Just want to hug him.

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  25. Cricket is such a cutie and your take on the Olympics cracks me up! 🙂 Thanks for sharing.

    xoxo,
    Anna
    LifeandLattes.com

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  26. “Goose Poop Fantasia!” If you don’t write the novel, I just might. 😉

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  27. Cricket is quite the Olympian with Coach Mom reporting for duty! Loved your post! Stay cool! 🙂

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  28. What a cute dog! So fun 🙂 Blessings.

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  29. Rachel, I couldn’t help noticing that you mentioned how you’re allergic to the sun and needing to cover up and thinking about previous posts where you’ve mentioned a possible auto-immune disease. Some of the auto-immune diseases are photo-sensitive and I know that I have troubles with the sun. Just something for you to keep in mind.
    That said, the same way we Australians are allergic to the cold, I do find people in cooler climates struggle with the heat without anything else going on.
    Just thought this was worth mentioning.
    Take care xx Rowena

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  30. Humidity is the absolute worse, but the tropical-esque rainfall that surely follows makes my soul sing. I enjoy humidity in the knowledge that the rain is coming.

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