Musings for Wednesday, June 24, 2020
Well, it’s midafternoon here in my tranquil corner of Florida on this, the 24th day of June 2020. It is hot and sunny outside, with temperatures in the neighborhood of 95˚ F but with a heat index of 100˚ or more.
Now, I know what you’re going to say: “It’s summer, and you live in Florida. Of course it’s going to be hot. It’s the subtropics!”
Yes, it is summer here in the Sunshine State, and yes, I know that this is not exactly the Arctic Circle. But aside from a six-year stay in Colombia between the ages of three and nine and a three-month-long study abroad stint in Seville Spain almost 32 years ago, I’ve lived in Florida all of my life. I’ve experienced all sorts of weather events – from the day it snowed in Miami (January 20, 1977) to a long chain of hurricanes, tropical storms, and even no-name storms – and I can honestly say: until the mid-2000s, it didn’t get this hot so early in the season.
Highs in the 90s (with heat indexes of 100+ degrees) are common in late July all the way to mid-September. Or at least they used to be. My late mother, in the last years of her life, even commented that she used to hold off turning on the air conditioning till mid-June up until 2003 or so.
Incidentally, I used to dread the coming of summer between 2010 and 2015; Mom was mostly confined to a hospital-type bed in what used to be the guest room in our small townhouse in the Fountainbleau Park area of Miami-Dade County after having back surgery in June of 2010. As her primary caregiver, I fretted about such things as power outages, heat waves, and hurricanes, not so much for the house or even for my own survival, but because Mom insisted that she would rather die at home rather than be evacuated or – worse – go to my half-sister’s apartment.
Indeed, there was one day – I can’t remember the year, but it must have been either in 2013 or 2014 – when we had a power outage shortly after noon on a hot July day. I had help that day; one of the respite aides from Easter Seals was there when the lights, the TV in Mom’s room, my laptop (I was writing a piece for Examiner), and the air conditioning went out, and later my half-sister Victoria dropped by as well.
But my mother’s room had a large window that faced due west, and even though we had some shade from the lychee tree my grandmother planted in the backyard in 1979, sunlight still streamed in starting around one o’clock in the afternoon and didn’t let up till after seven or so in the evening. So that room was unbearably hot in the summertime, and even though Florida Power & Light (FP&L) sent out a repair team as soon as they could, Mom was drenched in sweat and her room felt as hot as an oven.
Vicky and the Easter Seals respite worker did their best to coax Mom into drinking cool liquids, and eventually the power was restored and, with it, the fan in her bedroom and the house’s air conditioner. Mom took it like a trouper on that occasion and didn’t complain much, but there would be other occasions when we’d have what FP&L called “main line power outages” or a transformer would literally explode, and the power would be out for half the day and well into the night. I could cope with the heat by going out for brief walks while the home health aide or my half-sister watched over my mother. Mom, who was bedridden because she’d lost the will to walk sometime in the summer of 2012, could not.
A short time before she died in July of 2015, even though her memory was not terribly reliable due to the effects of dementia, Mom remarked, “Is it me, or are summers getting hotter?”
Odds and Ends
I had hoped to write a review today, but I stayed up too late trying to watch a movie out in our Florida room. I had to wait until somebody else finished watching America’s Got Talent – a talent show that I don’t care for, to be honest – so I could use the TV and the Blu-ray player. I had a hard time choosing what to watch, so rather than doing the wise thing – reading a book might have been a better idea – I ended up watching Star Wars (aka Star Wars Episode IV: A New Hope) for the nth time.
I tried watching it with the “archival audio commentary track” on the Blu-ray disc from the “international region-free” Star Wars: The Skywalker Saga box set I bought for “regular use” so that I don’t have to handle the more expensive Best Buy Exclusive set with the 4K UHD discs, at least not until we can finish the protracted process of setting up the UHD TV set and its Blu-ray player. I’ve listened to the other audio commentary tracks for the Original Trilogy films in the 2004 DVD set and the 2011 Blu-ray set many times over the past 16 years, but I can’t say the same about the “archival” audio tracks, which are edited from various sources, including 1970s era interviews by the late Charles Lippincott – Lucasfilm’s first vice president for public relations – and the audio track from Kevin Burns’ Empire of Dreams: The Making of the Star Wars Trilogy.
I think I managed to watch about half of A New Hope before I finally got sleepy, ejected the disc, put it in its storage compartment, turned off the TV and Blu-ray player, and shuffled quietly to bed. I’m not sure what time it was when I went to sleep, but it must have been past one in the morning. I managed to wake up early, but I didn’t have it in me to think of something to review or write something topical.
Oh, and speaking of 4K UHD Blu-rays and Star Wars: I had Rewards Points in my Best Buy account, but they were due to expire on July 4, so I had to choose between using them or losing them. I’d earned lots of points when I ordered the Star Wars: The Skywalker Saga box set In March and a couple of other things in April, but I had let most of them lapse. I only had a $5 certificate left in my Best Buy account, but I wasn’t going to let that lapse, too.
So, Dear Reader, I decided to get the 4K UHD discs of Rogue One: A Star Wars Story and Solo: A Star Wars Story. I really wanted the steel book ones, but I think Target, not Best Buy, sells those. And rather than let my hard-earned $5 credit go to waste, I applied it to my order. If all goes well – and in these COVID-19 times, there’s always a chance that something may not go well – I’ll have my 12th and 13th 4K UHD Blu-rays in my collection by Monday of next week.
Well, that’s all I have to report today. So, until next time, Dear Reader, stay safe, stay healthy, and I’ll catch you on the sunny side of things.