Every year, during the planning phase of our California trip, I invariably utter the phrase, “I’d really like to get out there as soon as possible after school gets out.” It never happens; the quickest we’ve ever made it was late June, by which time the kids had already been out of school a month. Airline ticket prices and availability, not to mention our schedules here, always conspire against us to push the trip further down the calendar than I’d ever intended. And, as always, I’m just plain glad to be there, never mind what month it is, but I do still cling to the hope that “maybe next year” we’ll do things my way.
This year was no exception to the above. It was July before we got to California; mid-August before we returned home. Now I’m sitting here looking at the ten-day forecast and realizing, “Hey, maybe there are some advantages to a later trip, after all!” – namely that we were gone for most of the godawful Oklahoma summer heat. Yes, it’s been hot since we got home, but we’ve only been home a week-and-a-half. After today we will be dipping down to the low 90s and high 80s here. Heck, I even see one glorious 83 coming up (which is actually still too hot for my taste but compared to 105 it’s nirvana). Now I’m not trying to say fall has arrived or that we won’t have any more bloody hot days. I have a very distinct memory of attending an OU football game on September 2, 2000 at which the temperature was 106 at kickoff – at 6 p.m.! (Try that when you’re 7 months pregnant. It doesn’t go well.) But we are surely on the downhill slide and we missed most of the really unbearable weather – while on California’s central coast which, incidentally, has had an unusually cool summer. We didn’t just trade up slightly, we were flat out spoiled. We were in Atascadero from July 2nd through August 13th and my parents ran the air conditioning maybe ten days the entire time we were there.
Quite characteristically of me the realization that later trips aren’t all bad has come after we’ve already made our plans for next year – plans that include leaving for CA within days of school letting out and returning at the end of June or beginning of July. Yay, me! I get what I’ve always wanted, right? Kids and I will leave CA just as it starts to really heat up and be home early for once….just in time for the hellfire and damnation that is an Oklahoma summer. I won’t be surprised if we find brimstone on the lawn when we get here. And that, dear friends, is a fairly fine example of jumping out of the frying pan and into the fire.