For me, the end of summer and beginning of fall always arrives in three quick steps.
1. The start of school.
2. The first high school football games.
3. Labor Day weekend.
The start of school is kind of like a slap in the face, letting you know those lazy, hazy crazy days of June, July and most of August are over.
Those first high school football games trumpet the change of seasons. No, not summer and fall, but baseball and football.
And Labor Day weekend? That's the final nail in the good-weather coffin. We all know that when the Tuesday after Labor Day weekend arrives, it's all downhill. Our mood, along with the weather, will soon begin to change.
Instead of waking up each morning looking forward to another sunny day and evening of warm-weather activities, we know the reality of rising each morning starting the Tuesday after Labor Day weekend: The days of shorts, T-shirts and flip-flops have -- or will soon be -- replaced by sweaters, hoodies and hot chocolate.
In a few days, I will start looking at the trees that populate my front and back yards, or more specifically their leaves. I know it's only a matter of time until they start falling, and there are few things I detest more than having to rake leaves.
There are two reasons I hate raking leaves so much. First and foremost, I'm lazy and hate that kind of thing. There are so many other ways I could be spending my time other than raking leaves -- namely watching some sort of sporting event, eating some sort of snack or taking some sort of well-deserved nap.
The other reason I loathe raking leaves is because my wife insists we do it twice. Not once, but twice. We can never wait until all the leaves fall and then rake. We have to do it in two stages, usually about two weeks apart.
"Why again do we do this?" I ask her each year.
"Because it is easier this way," she will always say.
No, it would be a lot of easier if someone else did it.
Many people like to romanticize the arrival of fall, the chill in the air and all that malarkey. Not me, which brings me to the other reason Labor Day weekend is always one of the saddest periods of any calendar year.
Probably even worse than the falling leaves thing is the pending arrival of cold weather. Not chilly weather, the brutally cold stuff.
I have never understood those who complain about those 90-degree days and high humidity. OK, those conditions may not be ideal, but I would rather sweat a little more any day of the week than worry about being hit in the face by skin-peeling winds and trying to navigate streets covered in ice.
And then there is the shoveling of snow, a task that is even worse than raking leaves. At least when you rake leaves and put them in those big brown paper bags you know they will soon be gone. That's not true with snow. All you do is move it from point A to point B and wait until it melts sometime in April or May.
And just think, it all starts the Tuesday after Labor Day weekend. Cooler temperatures, the leaves and eventually the snow. Yech.
I hate Labor Day weekend.