It’s not the sign any of us were hoping to see. It had already been a stretch to pile our kids in the car and head to our apartment complex’s pool on a school night. But it had been 90 for five days straight and our firstborn insisted that a swimming pool was one of the necessary materials for his science homework.
Pool Closed was an unwelcome wrench in our plans.
Though the apartment office was closed, our #childlawyer managed to stalk down the management for answers.
“We’re open Memorial Day till Labor Day.” An unsatisfying answer as we dripped with sweat and nearly melted to the pavement in her presence.
There’s no one to blame. It’s Michigan and three weeks ago, our kids played soccer in winter hats and gloves.
This heatwave was late to the party.
We lived a year in Orlando, the center of a perpetual heatwave. One would think this summer reprise was nothing compared to what we’ve experienced.
But a September hot spell is much like a light Florida snow. No one or thing is prepared to deal. Snow means days off school, roads shut down, and businesses with locked doors. The snow removal equipment doesn’t exist, the procedures aren’t like clockwork, and the drivers are not trained.
Well, up here in Michigan, we are equally underprepared for 90 degrees in September. Our public schools don’t have air conditioners — no, not even window units. Our kids don’t know how to hydrate properly (mine came home from his suffocating day of school today with his water bottle untouched). Everyone just slugs around with looks of “will we survive this?”
I’m part of a team of parents who help the school in an unpaid fashion. We’re the good moms of Bad Moms fame. On the first day of horrid heat, we hatched a plan to give a 60-second reprieve to the 550 bodies stuck in that heat box all day: FreezePops. It wouldn’t solve the lack of a/c, but it would at least turn grumpy into grins and sweaty into slurps for a cool minute.
It would be a simple errand and minimal cost.
Except Costco had stopped selling FreezePops and had moved on to winter gloves and 30-foot-tall Teddy Bears.
And no managers were in at the grocery stores to even contemplate a last-minute donation for a good cause.
And Sam’s Club had a surplus, but none in our little circle had membership.
We found a loophole and in the one hour between school Open House and Sam’s closing, we weaseled our way in and purchased 600 FreezePops — the nearly last-of-all FreezePops in town.
The FPs landed in a deep freezer down the street from the school with big plans to surprise a school full of languishing learners the next afternoon.
The cat did leap out of the bag as folks lamented about the day ahead of them and we promised we’d come to the rescue with a cold-treat delivery once picture day ended. (Because, oh yes, it wouldn’t be a steamy September day in an un-air-conditioned school if it wasn’t also picture day. #meltedfaces #sweatsparkle)
It’s just that nobody told us seasoned moms that FreezePops take upwards of a week to freeze in mass quantity. So at one-hour-until-dismissal, when we had planned to unload the sugary ices, we discovered all we had were plastic tubes of lukewarm syrup.
Suddenly our $25 minor expense multiplied itself into a major line item as we cleared the frozen shelves of the nearby store, in true Supermarket Sweep fashion. The FreezePops would wait the weekend and, ideally, make an appearance Monday, when they’d had ample time to freeze and when the school would be post– closed-up-for-the-weekend just-as-hot.
But while Monday brought heat in the 90s, as expected and even FreezePops finally living up to their name, it also brought news of the school’s broken walk-in freezer. They had nowhere to land.
Seems these FreezePops just weren’t meant to be.
We had tried to plan ahead, but our plans got flipped on their head.
And while our kids and their dedicated educators suffer in the school-turned-sauna day after day, we’re looking around the corner at a record-breaking type of winter. Soon we won’t even remember what heat and refreshment mean, once those icicles and negative temps darken the door of our season.
But for now, we sweat. We live out the consequences of a management company that was prepared for September, but not prepared for this September. And we live out the consequences of a parent organization that was prepared to provide, but not prepared to learn the freeze-time of a FreezePop the hard way. And we live out a geographical state that is trying to drop its leaves and fill its beaches all on the same day.
For those with not much choice than to hunker down and do their thing in a building with no airflow, the heat is miserable. For those whose a/c choose this week to kaput, the heat has overstayed its welcome. For those who are expected to do today as any other day, this heat can make even the peppiest among us downright snarly.
It’s been a week of trying to beat the heat. And our flip-turned plans have helped not one bit.
We’ve all got heat in our lives. Stuff we’re unprepared for. Stuff that suffocates and puts the pressure on. Stuff that we can’t escape. Stuff that weighs us down and fogs our brains. We try to dodge it, ignore it, rewire it, soften it, and escape it.
But, sometimes the heat comes, and we just have to grin and bear it, trusting we’ll survive it and come out a bit heartier on the other side.
Grab a tall ice water, an oscillating fan, a cold compress, and some extra deodorant. It’s time to hunker down and wait this thing out.