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Eight days of summer.   —   Family

My mother's visit last week just so happened to coincide with the hottest record-breaking heatwave Portland has seen in decades. It made for a novel week and while she hated the heat, I rather enjoyed the weirdness of it all. On her first day here Portland reached 105 degrees. By her third day we were at 112 degrees. And for the rest of her stay it only dipped below 100 degrees once, and that was on the day she left. We gave our air conditioner away when we moved out of NYC. Adam and I enjoy the heat and we only splurged on an air conditioner in the first place because NYC tends to get week long heat waves of epic cement melting proportions and during those times I felt bad for my cats. But upon moving to Portland we thought, why would we need an air conditioner in overcast, rainy Portland? A city whose summers are generally 70's-80's and whose summer nights are in the 50's and 60's? We hate the fake chilly air those machines produce anyways, so, here - someone please take this off of our hands so we don't have to pay for the weight in moving expenses. So, back to last week, I spent about an hour calling every damn store in a 50 mile radius trying to hunt down an air conditioner and every single store was sold out for days. Hell, fans were even impossible to find and if not for my decision to purchase a second fan the day before the heat wave broke out, we would have all surely died.

But as it were, none of us perished. Instead, we sweated off a few pounds, got some color from the sun, and discovered new and interesting methods of torturing cats by way of the bathtub. And while the apartment remained stifling hot even as the evening temperatures fell into the 80's, we did not hide ourselves away in movie theaters or shopping malls, but instead spent most of our time outside, roasting in the sun as we shopped and explored. Over the course of her eight day visit we hit just about every thrift store and antique shop in the area. We experienced Last Thursday, something I've meant to do for years, and it was awesome. We spent our Saturday morning and afternoon shopping Saturday Market and then I brought her into Swahili, the shop that I manage, where she proceeded to experience a shopper's euphoria and went a little spendy nuts. We went to the Oaks Park Wildlife Refuge where we walked through the quiet and spooky windy trail in the woods and saw only spiders and bees. We went to Cannon Beach on the coast and were disappointed in its high-end, charmless, yuppiedom, and upon taking an alternative route home, Route 202, we were met with baffling windy roads, steep drop-offs, deep and haunting woods, an Elk refuge, and silly ramblings on our imminent deaths at every round. We walked through Washington Park and explored The Japanese Garden, The Rose Garden, and the Oregon Zoo. We ate out with friends. Had a lovely brunch at Mother's. Watched a few movies. Swapped jewelry. And overall just had a fantastic time with loads of laughter. And while our days were packed full, spending most of them out walking and leaving us sufficiently exhausted by each night, there was still a million things I didn't get to show her, places we didn't go. Her eight days here flew by and I started to miss her before she even left.

I hate that she's so far from me. In some ways I feel as though there's been a death. A death of a life that was once before, and every few years and for but brief glimpses in time I get to experience that life once again, in a fashion, but then it's through and I'm left mourning it all over again. There was a moment while she was here that we were out shopping and one of my braids became loose. There was no mirror and so my mother gently undid the braid and proceeded to re-braid it. It struck me so fiercely. She hasn't braided my hair in fifteen years. It's so tragic that every time I think of that moment I want to cry. Life is full of these small deaths, and catching them while they're happening is the hardest part of all.

Posted 8.9.2009 5:27:59 PM

Carl wrote:
Sounds like some good times. Now excuse me, I need to go call my mother...
Posted 8/9/2009 5:47:53 PM
Sarah wrote:
so beautifully described. . . . small deaths.
Posted 8/14/2009 9:42:48 AM
Dad wrote:
A life full of love is what mothers give so freely. You are blessed to have such a mother. The apple and the tree.
Posted 8/15/2009 3:10:16 PM
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