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Thursday night, I had dinner at my folks with old family friends, a lady and her two daughters.  The oldest daughter is older than I am, the younger is only a year or two younger than I am.  We have known each other since all of us were young children, and have taken memorable family vacations together, sometimes with just their family, sometimes with a third family.  Their mother has heart problems, congestive heart failure the most serious of them, uses a walker and is on continuous oxygen.  Conversation was punctuated by the soft pffft! of the oxygen bottle as it delivered its precious contents.  The older daughter has two sons, and grandchildren.  The younger one, who lives in another state, had three daughters, one of which was tragically killed in a car crash years ago.  She also has grandchildren.  We spent a delightful evening seeing pictures and finding out who was doing what where.

After they left, I help mom with the washing up, and she made me a “care package” — my share of the leftovers (especially some of the chocolate cake!)–we’d had chicken spaghetti, a casserole recipe my mom got from her oldest sister.  I’ve got the recipe somewhere, I think.  If not I’ll get my mom to email it and I’ll post it.  She makes them two at a time and freezes them.  We also had green beans — known in the family as “geen beans” which is what I called them as a child.  As I was gathering up my things to leave, it occurred to me that I hadn’t brought my cellphone with me. (Just as well, as it happens.  It badly needed to be recharged.)  I actually felt a little flash of fear at the thought of being out without it — understandable when I’m driving a 25-year-old car home at 10 o’clock at night.

When I unlocked the door and walked inside, the house was noticeably warmer than outside.  Downright hot, in fact.  I got the little MagLight flashlight out of my night stand drawer* so I could read the LED on the thermostat — tricky even in the daytime because of where it’s located with regard to light sources.  It read 79F/26C! — Right then, I changed the thermostat over from “heat” to “cold.”  So on 03/29/2012, my house finally got warm enough to officially change over from heating to cooling.  No more using the clothes dryer from now on until I have to switch back to “heat.”  The rest of the ceiling fans get turned on, and they all get put on “medium” speed.  Hot weather has officially started.   The predicted high for today and tomorrow is 92F/33C.

I think I’ll wait until Monday to get out in the yard.  A cold front is evidently coming through then as the high is only supposed to be around 70F/21C, and there’s a “thundershower” icon for Tuesday — (I’ll believe that when I see it!)  Sunday night, I’ll have to deep water that back bed in preparation for planting my Siberian irises.  I’ll put up the hose hanger, and then deep water the other two beds Monday night after I’ve mulched the front bed.  Hopefully the two bags of mulch that are still in the trunk/boot of my car will be enough.  I’ll need to change out the yard lights, too, salvage the ones that are salvageable and put new rechargeable batteries in them.  Monday.   Once I see how far a bag of mulch goes, I may end up mulching that back bed, too.

* I keep MagLight flashlights in every room in the house — little ones in my office, the living room, and in the drawer of my nightstand, a bigger MagLight in the kitchen — to keep the groping about in a pitch-dark house during a power outage to the bare minimum. I also have one on my key ring, which does come in handy.  I think I’ve had that particular one for probably 15 years (I have had to  replace the bulb two or three times).  There are other brands out there besides MagLight, but I keep going back to them not just because they’re made in America, but because they’ve consistently been rugged and dependable.