Tom Germond is executive editor of Tampa Bay Newspapers.
Itís September. Life is much better now.
Iím not superstitious. I havenít carried a rabbitís foot in my pocket since I was 10 years old.
But Iíve always been leery of the summer months, especially July and August, because they seem to bring tidings of misery into my life.
Mother Nature is a prime suspect. Sheís always messing with me in the summer. Hurricane Charley, which romped through my neighborhood in Kissimmee in mid-August 2004, made a mess of my property, toppling a 15-foot oak tree and leaving an ever larger one listing badly.
Then came Hurricane Frances. Then came Hurricane Jean. By the time those storms had left the area, I was ready to build a temple in my yard to the god Poseidon.
No can do.
I had to apologize to the great sea deity because the local government wouldnít issue me a permit to build a temple.
Fast forward. Itís dťjŗ vu all over again.
As I write this, a huge oak tree limb lies in the courtyard of my condominium complex, compliments of the windbag Isaac.
Our condo association has to get a permit to have it removed.
Iím so tired of looking at the clump of branches smothering the grass and other plantings, Iím about to take matters into my own hands. Think Paul Bunyan.
ďYou tree killer, you,Ē my friend Jim said, surveying the damage.
Iím not a tree killer. I happen to like oak trees, even though they give me year-round allergies, drop crud all over the condo property and are home to an assortment of inconsiderate animals that violate the noise ordinance.
Any day now the tree will be removed, Iím told. OK, Iíll be patient. But if the god of the sea sends another storm our way, Iím going to be all over that tree like the NCAA on Penn State.
It wonít be pretty. Remember the ďThe Chainsaw Massacre?Ē
Did I tell you I hate summer?
Isaac played tricks on us. Concerned about potential flood damage, our association president and myself implemented this ingenious plan to dig small trenches in the ground underneath where water runs off our roofs. At the time of this writing, we still hadnít heard from the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers on whether we needed a permit.
Nearly threw my back out moving sandbags around. By the way, you can always spot the rookies at the sand piles. Besides having stupid looks on their faces, they come empty-handed. That would be me Ė shovel less at the sand pile.
Note to self: Buy a shovel.
All Isaac did, besides blowing down a tree limb, was leave some puddles. Poseidon, Mother Nature or whoever is in charge, must like a good laugh now and then.
About the time Isaac was bearing down on New Orleans, summer continued to haunt me.
I came home one evening to find foul-smelling debris in my sink. So I called my plumber and told him that my sink is clogged upon imagination.
ďWhat are putting down your sink, a opossum?Ē he asked.
My plumber performed a colonoscopy on the sinkís drain line and gave me a discount because Iím a valued member in good standing with the I-need-a-plumber-now program.
Did I tell you my dishwasher also broke? The new one cost $400. I donít know if it actually cleans dishes, but it does have one redeeming quality: the noise it makes drowns out the sound of car stereos coming from my street Ė and the DNC and RNC on my TV.
OK, I sound like a pathetic whiner. Time to recite the wisdom of one of my favorite writers, the late American novelist, Sinclair Lewis: ďIt has not yet been recorded that any human has gained a very large or permanent contentment from meditation upon the fact that he is better off than others.Ē
Iím certainly better off than Sinclair Lewis; Iím still above ground.