This is not what we meant by ‘chill out’


Let us all take a moment to remember Summer 2014. That was a great day.

I don’t have hard meteorologic data in front of me (and I suspect they are making that all up anyway), but I think those of us in the Buckeye State can attest to the fact that it’s been cold and/or wet for most of the summer.

When we say we like to “chill out,” this is not what we meant. At all.

There may be a few who have enjoyed the breezy, mild temps and downright chilly days. Those people are crazy. That is not summer.

Give me the Coppertone

Summer should be mid-80’s, blazing heat, and rain that comes only after dark and burns off in a hazy steam early the next day. Summer should be SPF 30 and towels stiff with chlorine and lake water in equal measure. It is cold drinks with condensation dripping down the sides, hot campfires and flip flops and shorts.

Summer is not having to keep a sweater handy every day and wearing out umbrellas due to high winds and driving rains.

Blanket statement

This summer has seen the rise of an object that should never exist: the boating blanket. We are people who are, by golly, going to ENJOY SUMMER IF IT KILLS US.

This means that we routinely herd family and friends onto the boat and out onto the lake even if it is barely hitting 72 degrees. With wind chill, it will be much colder. This explains why nearly every photo taken onboard this summer features blue-lipped, goose-pimply people huddled together for warmth.

In a bid to make a statement, Girl Wonder and Cute Boyfriend posed with a blanket completely covering both of them from head to toe. They were the Ghosts of Summers Past, I guess.

Our Canadian friends took some of the blame for bringing the abominable weather with them. Unfortunately they forgot to take it back.

GirlWonder’s Cute Boyfriend proved he was nothing if not a team player when twice in three days he agreed to go boating in what would turn out to be torrential storms. At this point the sky is grey and windy every day of the summer. How are we to know when Mother Nature is serious and not just blowing smoke-colored clouds?

This is not a drill

On the upside, we have all gotten really good at gathering gear, stowing belongings and trailering a boat in driving rain. No one can evacuate a lake and abandon ship with quite the speed of the Seabolts.

It’s kind of an elaborate hazing ritual to take people out on a boat, get them caught in a storm, and force them to prove their mettle via boat handling and dock management. If you aren’t willing to wade into a rolling surf to crank a heaving boat onto a trailer, you probably can’t hang with us. Boyfriend, girlfriend or guest, everyone has a job to do. Team Seabolt rolls tough.

Meanwhile back home, we outfitted the swimming pool with a basketball hoop, new deck chairs and tiki torches. We proceeded to have exactly three days where it was almost warm enough to use it. Snapshots from one swim party show the kids smiling bravely through chattering teeth.

I replaced towels with blankets and used up a lot of firewood and torch oil just trying to provide warmth. Isn’t this fun? Meanwhile at the county fair, icy glasses of sweet tea were replaced with steaming mugs of hot cocoa, hats and gloves.

Am I to blame?

Is this messed up weather my fault for using too much Aqua Net in the ’80s? Dear Ozone Layer: I apologize.

I realize that there is cancer, famine, war and so many deeper problems than not being able to use up even one bottle of sunscreen this summer. I realize that owning a boat and a swimming pool and complaining that it is too cold to enjoy either is the very definition of a “First World Problem.” That doesn’t mean, however, that I’m going to stop doing either.

In the meantime, we are going to put another log on the campfire, another sweater on over the bathing suits, pile another blanket on the boat and smile big through chattering teeth for the camera.

Summer 2014 is when the weather might disappoint me, but the memories won’t.


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Warm, witty and just a wee bit warped, Kymberly Foster Seabolt is a native of Kent, Ohio, who survived childhood exposure to disco and grew up to marry and move to the country. Her column weaves her special brand of humor with poignant, entertaining, and honest portrayals of parenting, marriage, and real life. She currently lives in northeastern Ohio with her husband, two children, two dogs, two cats, and numerous dust bunnies who wish to remain nameless.



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