Well, it has been hot here. So hot that the patio scorches the pads on my beautiful feet. Trips outside are only for necessities. This morning I thought I would have a little grass to refresh my palate, but it was dry and lifeless. Ugh! I did a half-hearted morning patrol, but as the story says, “Nothing was stirring, not even a mouse”—or a bird or a lizard.
So I went inside and stared at the rock-hard dental kibble and full-fat cottage cheese in my bowl and decided I would give it a pass. I know what you are thinking: Poor Marcy Mary, with her lovely figure, can’t afford to lose an ounce. ButI just couldn’t bring myself to eat the sad-looking mess in my bowl.
An early siesta was in order. When I reached my Tommy Bahama bed with matching peach blanket, I decided that, while fashionable, it had to go. So I pulled it out of my bed, hopped in, and decided the only position to assume was on my back with all limbs splayed out.
Grandma Bella, who was crunching away on her rock-hard mini kibbles with blueberries and blue nonfat milk, said, “Smart dog. It is definitely too hot for a blanket.” Turning to Mom, who was drinking coffee and staring listlessly into the distance, she said, “After looking at Marcy, I would say it is definitely the ‘dog days of summer,’ Lee.”
That got my attention. I actually lifted my head—not an easy thing for a canine to do when supine, but my abs were up to it. Swiveling her eyes toward Grandma, Mom asked, “What exactly does that mean? I mean, if you look at Marcy, it doesn’t seem like she’s enjoying the heat. She didn’t even eat her breakfast. Not that she can’t afford to skip a few meals.”
I attributed that snide remark to the heat, so I ignored it and tuned into what Grandma Bella was saying. “It has nothing to do with actual dogs, dear, but the prominence of the dog star, Sirius. It is the brightest star in the summer night sky and coincides with the hottest days of the year.”
Well, that was new information. A dog star named Sirius. I wondered if there was a star named after me? But all these ponderings were exhausting. The house seemed as hot as the backyard.
“Lee, dear.” Grandma put her hand on Mom’s and looked at her closely. “I don’t mean to pry, but why don’t you have air conditioning?”
Mom seemed to awaken and looked fully into Grandma’s bright-blue eyes, but before Mom could answer: “It’s George, isn’t it dear? Is it finances?”
Mom sighed. “Yes and no. He just doesn’t see the need. The heat doesn’t bother him, and yes, it would be expensive, but we can easily afford it.”
“Just like his father—impervious to the heat.” Grandma paused, then said, “Well, we will see about that,” and she looked at me meaningfully.
As if on cue, Dad waltzed into the kitchen with a newspaper in hand, looking fresh and rested. “Morning, everyone. Hope you slept well, Mom.”
“No, George, I did not. It was stifling upstairs. For goodness’ sake, why don’t you—” And with that, Grandma stood up and started swaying. During one particularly creative arc, I saw her wink at Mom as Dad leapt forward and put his arm around her waist to steady her.
“Are you alright?” he asked as he lowered her to her chair. I was sure she was alright, but I think Dad was in for some major manipulation.
“She’s probably a little dehydrated from the heat. I’ll get her some water. Bell, try putting your head between your knees.”
Grandma obeyed, sending me another one of her piercing looks as she bent as far as she could.
Message received. I dredged up one of my most piteous moans, attracting everyone’s attention, then rolled out of my bed, landing neatly on my feet, and started panting rapidly. “George, get some wet washcloths and put them on Marcy while I attend to Bella. Really, this heat is unbearable for man and beast.”
After the faux heat prostration demonstration (the damp washcloths were actually refreshing), Dad sat down at the dining room table. He put his hand to his brow and found beads of sweat. “You know, Lee, this heat is awful. We need to do something. It will be expensive, but I think it’s worth it.”
Mom said, “I know, George. It will be costly, but let’s do it.”
“I’m so glad you agree, Lee. A swimming pool is just what we need.”
Suddenly alert, Grandma said, “George,” in the same tone Mom uses on Joey when he says something outrageous.
With a little smile, Dad looked fondly at Grandma Bella. “Mom, I saw you wink at Lee. And remember I lived with you and Dad for twenty-four years. But when I saw Marcy panting, trying to cool down, I realized it is time for air conditioning. I know you agree, Lee.”
“Oh, I agree, and a swimming pool is also a welcome addition. Good idea, George.”
Joey came into the room at this point. Dancing and jumping around, he chanted, “We’re getting a swimming pool!”
I looked at Grandma, who lifted one eyebrow, and we exchanged a visual high five.
Dog days of summer, indeed!