Sorry I asked

It was one week ago today. My wife and I were walking our dog at around 9:30 in the morning. It was a gray, cloudy, windy day and it was around 51°F. I said to my wife, “It’s June, for crissake. When is it going to start feeling like summer?” Now I’m sorry I asked.

You may be aware that San Francisco is known for its cool summers. In fact, Mark Twain once asserted, “The coldest winter I ever spent was a summer in San Francisco.” It’s a damn shame Twain never actually said that, but that’s beside the point.

So what is my point? My point is that San Francisco is going through one of its rare, highly unusual heat waves. The forecast calls for temperatures to exceed 90 today. The headline on the local paper app on my iPhone informed me that:7C723919-EFDF-4C13-910F-5B32112782B5Isn’t that special? Then I looked at the weather app on my iPhone and saw this.CF6F97D2-94F7-418F-9010-D47B69370FA3Yikes! Damn you, climate change!

Like most San Francisco city dwellers, our house doesn’t have air conditioning. Why would we? San Francisco high temperatures rarely get out of the 70s even at the height of summer. So when temperatures get into the 90s, things can get uncomfortable. We do have some ceiling fans and one large portable fan, but all they do is circulate hot air.

I know. I’ll pretend I live almost anywhere else on the globe, where people use Celsius rather than Fahrenheit to measure the ambient temperatures. Perhaps if I just think in terms of Celsius, where 91°F equates to 32.8°C, it will seem cooler…or at least sound cooler.

V is for Vacant


I’ll be honest with you. I was having trouble coming up with a V-word for today’s A to Z Challenge post. I was going to use “vote” because I really think that the only way we’re going to get rid of Donald Trump is to vote him out of office next year. But I figured a whole host of people would have that same thought and would use the word “vote” today.

But then yesterday afternoon when I was walking my dog, I noticed that a house on my block that has been vacant for about two years continues to remain vacant. And then I remembered reading a headline from a few weeks ago in the local newspaper, which claimed that “an estimated 100,000 homes are sitting empty in the San Francisco Bay area.”

I also saw another statistic saying that there are more 30,000 vacant homes in the city of San Francisco alone. And that’s not just in the shitty parts of the city, either. There are around three or four properties that have been sitting vacant within blocks of where my wife and I live.

That’s when I decided that “vacant” would be my V-word.

Another article I recently read estimated that there are between 7,500 and 8,000 homeless people living in the city.

So I thought that if there are 30,000 vacant homes, some percentage of which must be fit for human habitation, and only around 8,000 homeless people, couldn’t we make a big dent in the city’s homelessness problem by housing many of the homeless in habitable, currently vacant houses?

Well, just a thought.

Previous A to Z Challenge 2019 posts:

Body Heat

4C3009FF-8542-444F-A8F6-95EF89511A19San Francisco has been unusually cool and wet this month. Daily high temperatures have sometimes not even reached the 50s and lows have occasionally dipped down to the upper 30s.

Yeah, yeah, I know. You folks in the Midwest and Northeast, with your polar vortexes and nor’easters and blizzards, are probably thinking I have a lot of nerve complaining about temperatures in the 40s and 50s. Fair enough. I get it. Please don’t hate me, okay?

One of the great things about living in San Francisco is the climate. It rarely gets into the 80s during the summer. In fact, we don’t even have air conditioning in our house. And in the winter, it almost never drops into the 30s. We do have a furnace, but hardly ever have to turn it on. If there’s a chill in the house, we fire up the gas fireplace for a little while to make it toasty.

Last night, when I went to bed, our bedroom felt a bit chillier than usual. I have this little ambient temperature gauge on the chest of drawers, and when I looked at it last night, it read 59.5°F.34A2E4F7-2E2F-40A4-87CC-28F3427F9358My wife was already in bed, so I joined her, pulled the quilt snuggly up to my neck, and went to sleep.

Now as everyone knows, temperatures usually reach their lowest just before dawn. That’s science. So I was kind of surprised when, at 6:30 this morning, I glanced at that temperature thingie and saw this:605BAD5B-BA95-47AE-A86D-A3326D3C6A8FThe ambient temperature in the bedroom was five degrees warmer than it was when I got in bed last night!

My wife was already in the kitchen when I joined her a few minutes later and I remarked that I was surprised at how much warmer our room was this morning than it was when I came to bed last night.

She looked at me and said, “Your body puts off a lot of heat at night and you sweat a lot. That’s why the sheets on your side of the bed are sort of yellowish.”

“Really?” I said.

“Yeah,” she said. “It’s your body heat. Either that or you’re incontinent.”

Unhealthy Air

Wildfires continue to rage in both Northern and Southern California. The Camp Fire in Butte County had grown to 105,000 acres, or 164 square miles, by Saturday evening and fire officials warned that weather conditions were changing for the worse, with high winds through Monday morning fanning the blaze and making firefighting even more difficult.

Even my iPhone weather app warns of unhealthy air quality in this city, which is 140 miles south southwest of the fire.FFE88000-CFD9-4F41-994E-14AA93AB2558 But in an even better example of unhealthy — and unhelpful — air, I present you with this:3600B921-B681-4644-9878-95C378079068

FTS — The Open Road, Part 2

D73C408B-B838-481A-8051-7B9B8C2491AATeresa, the Haunted Wordsmith, tagged me to write part 2 of her latest Finish The Story challenge, titled “The Open Road.”

Here’s how Teresa started the story:

It was Spring 1962. Mick, Harry, and Jefferson just graduated from Lincoln High School. The VW bus was stocked with a few changes of clothes, and enough food and 8-track tapes to last for days. It was just them, their future, and the open road.

“Man, this will be great,” Mick said, leaning back in the driver’s seat. He pulled his draft card from his shirt pocket and threw it out the window.

Harry and Jefferson laughed. They burned theirs the night before. No one was going to tell them where they were going to die, or that they had to kill others in the process.

“Nevada, Colorado, then Canada,” Jefferson said, sweeping his long, stringy blond hair out of his eyes.

Harry looked at him through his light brown vail and laughed. “Failed geography, huh.”

Mick laughed. “So did you.”

“Ah, who cares!”

As they drove down the highway past the redwoods and toward the open desert, the Beach Boys blared through the open windows, and the wind blew their concerns away with it.

After a few hours of driving, they saw a little red car pulled off to the side of the road with a very distressed young woman standing near it.

“What do we know about cars?” Harry asked as Mick pulled over.

“Less than we know about pretty girls,” Mick quipped.

“Need some help?” Harry asked through the passenger window.

And here is part 2:

Sally was trouble. She knew it and she used it. Her long, dirty-blonde hair, her large blue eyes, and her extraordinary body were her tools that enabled her to get pretty much anything she wanted.

She was standing there by the side of the road, next to her stranded, somewhat beat-up MG-TD roadster. Wearing a loose halter top, tight bell-bottomed jeans, leather sandals, and a dazzling smile, she was like an apparition to these three eighteen-year-old boys.

“Oh thank God,” she responded to Harry’s question. “Stupid me, I ran out of gas out here in the desert, of all places. I was beginning to lose hope and then you boys came along to save me.” Sally batted her eyelashes and said, “I’m so terribly thirsty.”

Jefferson, carrying a canteen of water, was the first out of the old VW bus. He handed it to her and was joined shortly by Mick and Harry. “What’s you name and where are you headed?” Mick asked.

“Sally,” she said, “and I am hoping to get to San Francisco.”

Jefferson looked at his two companions and then back at the girl. “You are in luck, young lady,” he said. “My friends and I are heading to Canada by way of San Francisco.”

Harry started to object, but Mick poked him in his side with his elbow.

To continue this journey into the great wide open, I am tagging Keith over at Keith’s Ramblings. I hope he’ll pick it up and run with it.


    1. Copy the story as it appears when you receive it (and the rules please)
    2. Add to the story in which ever style and length you choose
    3. Be sure to pingback or comment on the original post (here) please
    4. Tag only 1 person to continue the story
    5. Have fun!

I also snuck in my Fandango’s One-Word Challenge (extraordinary) into this post.