Celebrate now, mow later


Randy Riley - Contributing columnist



According to the car thermometer, it is currently 90° outside. The big thermometer on our deck says 98°.

I’m comfortably inside in the air conditioning; comfortably sitting on my couch; comfortably trying to decide when I might venture into the heat to mow the lawn.

Some decisions are just too easy to make.

The answer is … later.

Maybe, later his week. Maybe, early some morning before the sun starts scorching the grass. Maybe I’ll mow the next time the temperature dips below 85°.

Hopefully, this is a reprieve from all the rain. A few weeks ago, I posted on the Facebook page for the McDermott Village neighborhood that I wanted to apologize for not mowing my lawn because we had a huge pond in our backyard. Not only did I use standing-water as an excuse, but I told my neighbors that I thought I spotted a large, white shark circling around the yard.

I took my excuse-making to the next level by claiming that a crusty old shark fisherman, with a toothpick in his mouth, told me, “I think you’re gonna need a bigger mower.”

We human beings will joke about almost anything. Sometimes, we laugh at serious topics, but there is usually some undeniable truth in those topics that prompt, or defy, humor.

Seriously, summer can be dangerous.

We have had too much rain this year – way too much. Now, we can hope that our rainy season is behind us, but what is in our future. Will it be hot and dry, hot and wet, or just hot?

The almanac is predicting a hot and dry season out west. What that could mean for wildfires throughout that region is frightening.

Last year, entire towns were consumed by raging fires. Last year, Debbie and I spent a month touring the west. Smoke and ash followed us from Colorado to California and north into Alaska, the Yukon and British Columbia. Thousands of acres were burnt; 2018 was horrible for everyone out west.

This year, the wet weather is predicted to continue throughout the southern states. A worse than normal hurricane season might be in store for the Gulf States and Atlantic coastal regions.

The almanac predicts that the Midwest, including Ohio, will have a mixed bag of weather. It will be almost unpredictable for us. The New England states can expect a fairly good summer, with mostly normal temperatures and rain. As I said, this is all according to the Old Farmer’s Almanac.

What does all of that mean? Absolutely nothing.

I realize that meteorology is a science, but it’s an interesting field of science. If a meteorologist is right in predicting weather over 65-70 percent of the time, they’re considered remarkably accurate.

Most fields of science strive for 100% accuracy – not weather prediction.

In reality, with the innumerable number of variables that combine to produce weather, it’s remarkable that weather prediction is as good as it is.

I’ve heard that some people opt to hang a weather-rock outside of a window to assess the weather. What’s a weather-rock? It’s a flat rock with a hole drilled in the center. You hang it from a tree limb. If the weather-rock moves about wildly, it means it’s windy outside. If it’s wet, it means it’s raining. If it’s white… you guessed it. It is a snowy day.

The only thing we can be sure of is that there will be heat; some of it intense. Every summer, somewhere in the United States there is a major heatwave. Then, there will be a power outage. Air conditioning is lost. Then, newscasters will start reporting death tolls from the heatwave. Sadly, it always happens.

Those who cannot survive the intense heat and power outages are usually those with underlying medical conditions and the elderly. Before the heat and humidity rise to dangerous levels; before our electrical grid is taxed to the point of collapse, get prepared. Have a plan.

When all else fails, fill a tub with lukewarm water, lay down in the tub and enjoy a nice book or magazine. Water transfers heat away from the body more than 25-times faster than air. Also, drink plenty of water. Drink water even if you don’t feel thirsty – stay hydrated.

We may not be able to predict this summer’s weather with great accuracy, but… we know it’s going to get hot. So, have a plan and get prepared.

Until I need to crawl into a tub of water to stay cool, I’m staying in the air conditioning.

I’ll mow later.

Randy Riley is former Mayor of Wilmington, Ohio and former Clinton County Commissioner.

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Randy Riley

Contributing columnist