We’ve said it before and we’ll say it again: when it comes to weather, Minnesota is an irrationally bipolar state. So far we’ve been experiencing an insanely mild winter (thank you baby Jesus), which is no doubt in direct response to this summer’s incredible humidity. The day Kat and I moved into the slub house the temperature registered around 100°. The stifling heat made hauling box after box of “necessities” (read: crap) and my ridiculously fluffy mattress up a flight of stairs an indescribable joy.
Despite the fact that it was 103° on June 7th (not including the heat index), I will maintain that summers are generally wonderful in Minnesota. After all, the average temperature from June to August in Hennepin County is somewhere between 68-70°F. Absolutely perfect!
So when the slubs moved to Uptown at the beginning of last July, we had a whole stretch of Minnesota summer in which to enjoy our new home. And we definitely took advantage of the vitamin D.
Today is Valentine’s Day, and despite your personal feelings regarding this most Hallmark-ey of holidays, all the love floating around the world for the next 24 hours has to make even the hardest of winter hearts warm just a little bit. Yes, the view outside my office window today is a relatively depressing steel-grey panorama of clouds and skyscrapers. And yes, I know for a fact that the sun is going to peace out around 5:40 tonight – after I leave Thrivent – so that’s pretty sad too. But Valentine’s Day has me feeling warm fuzzies at the moment, and those warm fuzzies have me thinking about other warm things – like summer.
On this day of love and sweet thoughts, let us rise up in solidarity and dream of the top 10 things we have to look forward to in 3½ more-or-less short Minnesota months!
1. Outdoor exercise. This is number one for a reason. Anna, Kat, Laura, Nora and I used to take walks around Lake of the Isles (were Minnie lived for a while) on the regular. All in all, it took us roughly an hour to make it there and back. Given that the sun happily hangs around a lot longer during the summer months, a brisk jaunt around the lake after work or on a weekend morning was the perfect recipe for a great bit of exercise. Some of the slubs were even motivated enough to run around the lake. Others (ahem) were too lazy.
Besides burning off those cupcake- and queso-induced calories, here’s something else the slubs thoroughly delight in doing outside during the summer…
2. Picnicking. Close your eyes briefly and picture with me: Toes in the grass. Food spread out on a blanket. Sun warming your face. A smoking grill. Friendly conversation. (Keep imagining with me.)
You reach for a cool glass of…
3. White wine. It’s crisp and clean with a smooth finish. You’ve spent the winter savoring deep and full-bodied reds. But you’ve been anticipating the bright taste of this white wine for months and you’re not at all disappointed. (Maybe you even purchased your bottle of white wine from Cannon River Winery after passing a day in the vineyard hand-picking green and red grapes with the slubs!)
It’s the picture perfect summer picnic. And it’s best enjoyed on…
4. Independence Day. I love celebrating America all the time, but most especially on July 4th. The fireworks! The billowing American flags! The cheesy Bruce Springsteen songs! The Jello salads! Independence Day is one of the best holidays, and as such deserves to be appreciated during the best season. Thank God the Declaration of Independence wasn’t approved by Congress in the middle of January. Even I would be too seasonally depressed to fully appreciate the parades (if there were any), and that’s saying quite a bit.
Instead of bundling up, during the summer we’re free as Americans to celebrate our independence decked in…
5. Summer clothing. In a particularly memorable scene from the movie A Christmas Carol, little Randy Parker experiences a significant amount of distress one day when his mother over-dresses him for winter. He has way too many layers of clothing on. In fact, he can’t even put his arms down. I feel like Randy Parker during the winter and I don’t like it. Don’t get me wrong, I’m not encouraging people to streak as soon as June 1sthits. But I much prefer sun dresses, sandals and short-sleeved shirts to my static-inducing Michelin Man winter coat.
There are moments, however, when simply wearing lighter clothing during the summer doesn’t help you escape the Minnesota humidity. And that’s when we look forward to…
6. Opening the windows. Here’s a tragic story: many days during this past winter, Kat and I have come to the sad realization that the frost on our windows is actually built up on the inside facing panes. Scratching ice from your window while standing in your bedroom is not good for the soul. So I can’t wait for the day when we can fling our windows open wide and not worry so much about the freezing consequences. Trust me – there are few things more glorious than lounging in the sun room of our house in a bright pool of sunlight, cooled by the breeze wafting in from the bay of open windows. Just thinking about it makes me want to take a nap.
Although, truth be told, instead of lounging in our sunroom I’d rather be lounging about on a Northwoods beach while relishing the pleasures of…
7. Cabining. If you live north of the Mason Dixon, you probably understand the immense joy of traveling to the cabin for a few delicious summer days (or even weeks). My family doesn’t even own a cabin and I somehow mooch my way to one at least once a summer. If you live south of this historic line and have never been to a cabin in the woods, you are missing out and nothing I can say in this post will paint a decent enough visual for you.
To get to most cabins, however, you must drive. This reality is slightly out of line with another of the slubs’ favorite parts of summer…
8. Ditching our cars. We moved to Uptown for a reason. We wanted to live close to everything. We wanted to walk. And in the summer, when it’s not below freezing, walk we do! Everywhere!
We even walk after the sun has finally gone down to better enjoy the…
9. Summer nights. With the exception of Christmas Eve, most Minnesota winter nights are pretty depressing events. On December 21st, 2011, the sun was shining for a whopping 8 hours, 46 minutes and 8 seconds – from about 7:48 AM to 4:34 PM. SAD. However, on June 21st, 2011, the sun stuck around for a full 15 hours, 36 minutes and 54 seconds – from 5:26 AM to 9:03 PM. WIN.
This means many things: (1) Coming home from work and enjoying the rest of your night is possible when it’s summertime, mostly because the slubs currently feel an automatic need to go to sleep once they leave their respective offices and it’s already pitch-black. (2) It is recommended by the slubs to eat dinner out on the porch and then sit around chatting until 10 o’clock because the sun won’t go away and the night gets tantalizingly cool. (3) Walking to Sebastian Joe’s for a late-night treat is akin to winning the lottery.
And on our after-hours adventure to get frozen desserts, we have plenty of time to appreciate nature’s ultimate wonder of summer…
10. Colors. This is what a garden looks like during the winter:
And this is what a garden looks like during the summer:
And that is why I get so excited to see the colors come out again once summer rolls around.
So on this holiday, hug someone you love – and imagine how wonderful it will be to spend a beautiful (Minnesota) summer with him or her, windows open, reveling in the vibrant green and blue and yellow hues of the sun-soaked day!