I wake up as a tremendous ball of heat engulfs me. Throwing off the covers I wonder. Did Kim Jong-un launch his first nuclear missile and chose the north Chicago suburbs as his target? Has Trump launched a pre-emptive strike and gotten the launch code parameters wrong? Maybe the decommissioned nuclear power plant up in Zion has gone rogue and had a core meltdown? While the grandfather clock in the hall strikes four, I realize the heat is far more localized, and presumably, less destructive.
First a word about that clock. It is a family heirloom, passed down from Barb's parents and we treasure it. The wooden cabinet has survived three or four moves and multiple months in storage. To provide a proper place of honor for it in the new house we even modified our construction plans, eliminating a closet and replacing it with an enlarged powder room and a special clock alcove.
I treat the clock tenderly. Under my care, each pendulum swing measures exactly one second. The Westminster chimes ring out the quarter hours in exact synchrony with the time on my iPhone. The walls of its little cubby cause harmonic vibrations, and many times I have woken up to what sounds like an angelic heavenly choir. Only our house sitter hates the chimes, turning them off when staying in our home during our infrequent travels.
So with the reverberating notes filling my ears, I looked to my left at Barb, peacefully sleeping next to me, and knew she was the source of the Level IV heat wave. It is a malady we both suffer from, as we pass these warming trends back and forth faster than the charging frontal boundaries on a Tom Skilling weather map.
Their appearance is unpredictable, though mine seem to come during the day, usually with a cup of tea in my hands. My face flushes as the beads of sweat pop from my forehead.
Barb suffers more at night in bed; a myriad of "head-cooling" pillows all receiving a big thumbs-down. Some mornings at 3 a.m. a dive in the pond feels like it might be the only salvation.
Yes, both our doctors know about these attacks and have each provided a bit of testing and a just bit of help. But the improvement has been minimal. Just as global warming marches on, our local heat trend is up, up, up. Football gamblers may tell you "the trend is your friend," but in this case, it is no friend to us. The clock keeps on ticking, while the heat goes on.
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photo credit: peretzp <a href="http://www.flickr.com/photos/68877611@N00/7238289476">Salem and Hope Creek Nuclear Reactors</a> via <a href="http://photopin.com">photopin</a> <a href="https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/2.0/">(license)</a>
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