Friday, September 18, 2009

It’s a Love/Hate Thing

This morning as I walked Master Teddy off the deck to do his business (he’s sometimes a little reluctant!) I noticed that the grass was heavy with dew. I know nothing about weather or seasons but dew on the grass is a reminder to me that fall is here. Fall is by far my favorite season. I love the smoky smell in the air on warm October afternoons. Colorful, crunchy leaves and bright, rotund pumpkins and that first cold night when you realize that your sweatshirt is no longer warm enough. I love wearing sweaters and long pants again after a summer of shorts and tank tops. The first dinner of roasted butternut squash with cinnamon and warm apple crisp. With fall comes the Peanuts Holiday Specials, beginning with It’s the Great Pumpkin, Charlie Brown and trips to the pumpkin patch to dig through the mud for the perfect pumpkin and rush off to the snack cart to buy kettle corn.

While fall is definitely my favorite season it also has many things about it that I very much don’t like. It is truly a love/hate relationship which leaves me exhausted trying to decide if I am happy, or sad at what fall brings along with that first gust of wind.

School. You knew this one was coming. I awoke quite early September 8th to welcome the little darlings with their brand new backpacks and lunchboxes, packed full with sharpened pencils, juice boxes and notebooks covered in Twilight stickers. Nervous kids with their wrinkled schedules peeking anxiously into my classroom, wondering if this was “The Spanish Room”. Girls shrieking, boys swaggering, all trying to prove they’re grown up while making it painfully obvious that they’re still just kids. I love it, and yet I hate it at the same time. I too am nervous. What am I supposed to wear? Will they respect me? Will this be a good batch? That isn’t even the part I dislike so much. What I really dislike is giving up the freedom. Though I didn’t spend entire days on the couch in my pajamas, I could have. Though I didn’t go to Hawaii for some mai tais and snorkeling, I could have. Though I didn’t go on a six-week backpacking tour of the Andes, I COULD HAVE! And now I can’t. The start of school reminds me of all the issues that weren’t resolved in June. The budget crisis still looms like a dark cloud over everything we do. “Don’t make extra copies. Your room only gets cleaned every other day. We'll try to find more chairs for the 36 kids you have in your class. We don’t have this, we don’t have that.” H1N1 lurks around the corner. “Wash your hands, cough into your sleeve, take vitamin C, for God’s sake, DON’T TOUCH ANYTHING!” I already have a cold and it is only the second week.

Football. Football season kicks off (ha ha) in August and the beginning for me is the Ducks’ home opener. Early in the morning, we pack up the car with a cooler of beer and snacks and head off to Eugene to watch the game. No, we head off to Eugene to PREPARE to watch the game. I love cold game days, when we’re huddled around the barbeque drinking hot cocoa and Baileys (actually Carolans for Bill and I since we’re cheap!) and talking. I love the games when we’re winning and cheering and high-fiving and when we’re losing, I love sneaking out a little early and feeling so excited when we beat the rush out of the parking lot.

But. Football season also marks the loss of my husband. Check out this lineup: High school football game on Friday. College Gameday on Saturday and games all day. NFL on Sunday. NFL on Monday. The Fan when we get home on Tuesday. Pardon the Interruption after school. Sports Radio in the car on the way to school. Fantasy Football website to check. Sports Center on Thursday to catch college game predictions. Now, to my husband, that sounds like a whole lot of heaven. I’m glad he enjoys it so much and apparently I’m one of the lucky ones. But I miss my Saturday morning HGTV fix.

Rain. My other love/hate relationship with fall is falling from the sky as I write this post. Now, I mostly love rain. I live in Oregon for a reason! I love the drip, drip, drip of the rain. I love a quiet rain, when it feels good to stay inside with some cocoa and read a book but I also love a pounding, driving rain when you think that surely the gutters are going to come off the house and that soon you’ll see a canoe drifting by in river that has formed by the curb. The morning after a good rain when the air is clean and smells like worms is just so fresh to me. But the rain means I have to locate my umbrella again. The rain means more traffic and dangerous roads. Rain means shorter walks with an already neglected Master Teddy and wet footprints all over my kitchen floor.

Shoes. My feet are terrible. I’ve had bunion surgery on both feet and the only shoes that really feel good are flip flops. I own many pairs of flip flops. The problem with flip flops, and sandals in general, is the state your feet get into when you wear them. They get dry, cracked and uncomfortable. You have to keep your toes painted when you wear flip flips. So I love when fall comes around and I get to pull out the work shoes. Danskos are my favorite and I own three pairs. If I could get away with only wearing the Danskos during the summer, I would. So, so comfy. But they don’t look that good with shorts so I stick with the sandals.

But I also hate fall for the exact same reasons. No one gets to see my pretty toes anymore. I have to come up with a good reason to justify a pedicure! On Tuesday I tried to wear dressier shoes with my skirt and I ended up with blisters on my big toes. I’ve yet to figure out a shoe I can wear with a dress for more than one hour that doesn’t cause me to hobble the next day so fall usually means I end up in pants or jeans, which starts to look frumpy really fast.

Holidays. Yeah, you heard me. The holidays. I love the holiday season! The anticipation is just outstanding. I love watching the store windows and displays and making my list, checking it twice! I’ll bring up Peanuts again because the trio of shows just lightens my mood and makes it feel like the holidays are actually here! In the fall, the anticipation begins with the change in weather. Cool nights, cooler mornings, the fog! Nothing welcomes Halloween more than a gray foggy morning! As each beloved day approaches I get more excited and look forward to all traditions, from carving pumpkins to canned jellied cranberry sauce to exchanging ornaments.

And it all starts in September? Seriously, WHY do stores start displaying holiday decorations MONTHS in advance? I wonder if anyone has ever tracked how sales are affected by how early or late the displays come out. I can’t believe anyone is actually buying Halloween decorations and candy in August so I wonder what the purpose is of putting everything out so early.

Instead of making me want to purchase fake Christmas trees on Mexican Independence Day (that’s September 16th, people) what I really want to scream when I see those displays is “PUT IT AWAY!!” It isn’t time yet!! I haven’t had the last mojito of the season, for crying out loud.

So, dear Readers, I welcome, and cry about, the return of Fall. Beautiful, orange, smoky, chai-flavored Fall. Summer buzz-kill, over zealous, rainy, soggy Fall. Welcome back! What lovely, hazy treat do you have in store for me this year?