Friday, July 19, 2013

Rain, rain go away, fall again some autumn day — except Nov. 29

Dear Mother Nature of Oregon:

I know we’ve had a love/hate relationship ever since I moved here 17 years ago, but you’ve really gone too far this time.

I thought we had an arrangement: I will put up with the nine-plus months of solid rainfall (not unlike the rain in which Noah built his ark, I might add) if you will deliver three solid months of sunshine in the summer.

We have sustained this relationship these 17 years without a hitch, but something happened this morning and I’m confused. I left the house at 7 a.m. to drive to work and realized I needed to put my headlights on. As I pulled out of the garage I noticed liquid falling from the sky.

Was our roof leaking? I hoped. Maybe one of our sprinkler heads burst and I’m in the direct line of a renegade funnel of water? Did I accidentally hit my windshield wiper fluid?

No, it was RAINING.


Was it something I said? Was it the 145th time I screamed to the skies “I can’t take this rain one more day?” Or the time I shook my fist and yelled, “I hate Oregon weather!” You know that was the lack of Vitamin D talking, right? And the fact that once again as perfectly good hair day was ruined by you and your shenanigans.

I’m not sure what the deal is, but it’s not the deal we settled on.

Yes, Mother Nature, I realize that rain is good for the crops. And I know that the rivers are low and the rain will help with the water flow. But do you even care that I wanted to sunbathe today? I’m starting to realize one of us is only thinking of herself in this relationship.

But wait – I think we can work something out.

Now that you’ve disrupted our agreement, I believe it can be settled amicably. My demand is simple: In lieu of today (which was a gross mistake, I’m sure you’ll admit) I am strongly suggesting that Friday, Nov. 29, be a day of sunshine, warm temperatures and nary a cloud in the sky. I’ve chosen this date strategically, as it is the day after Thanksgiving. It will be the first-ever Turkey Bowl where we can play flag football on solid ground for a change, rather than the rain-soaked mud we’re accustomed to in November. It will give all of us who ate a bit too much stuffing the day before a well-deserved break in the weather to go for a bike ride, run or walk.

And the best part: I don’t have to do any Black Friday shopping because I’ll be sunbathing in the 77 degree sunshine.

Did you get that? Seventy-seven degrees. Not 80, and not 75 – 77. You owe me.

And if you can grab me a Diet Pepsi on ice as I’m sunbathing, I think we can call it good.

Thanks. You’re a peach.



Eileen Burmeister is a freelance writer who lives in Winchester, Ore. She can be reached at or you can follow her on Twitter at EBurmeister.

Saturday, July 6, 2013

Relaxation, Burmeister style

Ah, vacation. Relaxing strolls on the beach, sipping cool drinks by the pool and riding bikes seven miles in 90 degree heat with 99 percent humidity.

What? That’s not your idea of a relaxing vacation?

Well, if you choose a trip to Florida in June, that’s your reality. We went to visit family this summer in Florida and Ohio, and one week of that trip was spent in Florida along the Gulf Coast.

Our condo was air conditioned, but we wanted to get out and see the sites. With one day left of our stay, we decided to go ahead and brave the heat by taking a bike ride to lunch. We didn’t know where we were going, but we spontaneously headed north and figured we’d find a place.

We did. It was called the Lazy Flamingo and we loaded up on fish and chips since we would surely sweat out all those calories on the ride home.

Most families on vacation would opt for a leisurely pace for the ride home, especially given the heat - unless you’re a Burmeister male. Then every activity turns into a feat of strength in which one person wins and lords it over the other for the rest of the day.

Relaxing family bonding time, right?

It began innocently enough. Bellies full, we headed back toward the condo. Craig and Natty took off a little quicker than usual and Lily and I stayed back.

“Why is Dad riding so closely to Natty’s bike?” asked our 11-year-old daughter, Lily.

“Oh, he’s probably just being obnoxious,” I said.

“Yeah, that’s how we show love in this family,” she said.


Next thing I knew Craig sped around Natty’s bike on the grass, and took off ahead of him. Natty, not to be outwitted, got up out of the bike seat and pedaled toward his father at top speed. Mind you, there are families, strollers and dogs on the sidewalk, all trying to have their own relaxing vacation, but that didn’t seem to matter to the Burmeister men.

Natty was clearly ahead and was going to win when he made a major tactical mistake: he turned the wrong way. Craig was gleeful (like a good father) and said, “He sealed it there,” as he rocketed the opposite way toward the condo.

As soon as Natty realized his mistake he turned around and headed back our way. Once Craig realized he was back in the race he picked up the pace so abruptly that his chain popped off. Jumping off of his bike quicker than I’ve seen him move in years, he dropped to his knees and started fixing the chain.

Natty rode by, smirked, and simply said, “Bike problems?”

Can’t you just feel the love?

As I rode past Craig, he was mumbling to himself, “I just HAD to push the envelope. I flew too close to the sun.”

I left Craig on his own and headed back to the condo just in time to see Natty sitting outside the door in the heat.

“Forget your key?” I said, enjoying myself. “Karma stinks, doesn’t it?”

Ten minutes later, Craig came around the corner, looked up at me, Natty and Lily sitting outside the door and said, “Hot enough up there?” And then he laughed, and laughed, and laughed.

When he finally opened the door, Natty was checking his phone for a text and the door shut before he came in, once again locking him out in the heat. He knocked gently and Craig stood on the inside and asked, “Yes? Can I help you?” through the closed door.

And THAT, my friends, is how we Burmeisters have a relaxing family vacation.

Natty 0, Craig 0. The competition rages on.

Eileen Burmeister is a freelance writer who lives in Winchester, Ore. She can be reached at or you can follow her on Twitter at EBurmeister.

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