Wednesday, February 21, 2018

It’s a cruel summer

This has been a cruel (cruel) summer, as the song says. We’ve had several severe storms, and a hot and humid stretch. Then, over the past couple days, parts of the South Island and lower North Island were hit hard by the remnants of tropical cyclone Gita. While the upper North Island, especially Auckland and the Coromandel, were spared this time, we know another severe storm will hit us sooner rather than later. It’s the new normal.

Even when we weren’t in the midst of severe storms, we’ve endured extended rainy periods that hampered any projects I’d like to have worked on, and it kept the humidity high, which made even normal summer temperatures feel much worse than they really were.

I mentioned last month how the hot, humid weather made me stop work on my office reorganisation project, and I haven’t really done much on it since. Since then, though, I made organising the garage the top priority, but in some ways that’s been even worse: Hot and humid and made worse because the rain because that meant I couldn’t open the garage doors to get some air in there. It's been very uncomfortable (frequent trips upstairs to cool off have helped, but taken time).

On top of that, earthworks are being done on a housing development less than 50 metres from our house. They’re laying drain lines, water and sewer lines, paths for streets, and levelling the contour of the land for houses that will be built later this year. I fully support the development—it will bring more people into the area which will benefit local businesses and increase the chances we may one day get bus service in our area, among other benefits. It’ll also provide another area to walk the dogs.

However, the work is noisy. Diggers can be noisy, but the worst is this thing with tank-like treads that drags a grader behind it. I call it the “squeaka-squeaka machine” because of the annoying sound it makes. It’s so bad, you could call it grating (you're welcome).

Be that as it may, the worst thing is that something they do vibrates the house. When it first started, I thought we were having a mild earthquake, until I realised it was machine-made, Since then, there have been times it’s been almost unbearable, and I considered putting the dogs in the car and driving away for a couple hours—but for how long? Working in the garage, that vibration is sometimes so bad I can feel it resonating in the base of my skull, which is rather unpleasant. Much as I welcome the new houses, I’ll be VERY glad when the earthworks are over.

So, add it all up, and this summer has been a real challenge: Rain, strong winds, loud construction noise, heat, humidity, and even illness. I guess it’s not a surprise that I haven’t gotten nearly as much done as I’d like to have accomplished by this point.

Autumn is exactly one week away. Challenges notwithstanding, leaving summer behind is even more cruel.

The title of this post comes, of course, from the Bananarama song “Cruel Summer” from 1983-5 (it was #8 in the UK in 1983, #9 in the USA in 1984, and #32 in both New Zealand and Australia in 1985). The song was written by members of Bananarama as a sort of “anti-summer” song. I had the song on vinyl back in the day.

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