Well, I’m back from a brief blogging absence. Every year Derby is worse than Christmas: tons of hype and fun and things to do (and eat and drink) leading up to the big day, then POOF! it’s all over and in the vacuum you’re left wondering, what am I supposed to do for the rest of the summer?

In our case, what we are going to do is finish our living/dining room arrangement (no! really! i mean it!) and have our front porch renovated. As we continue to wail and gnash our teeth over our kitchen indecision, we’ve decided that we may as well tackle one of the other non-DIY-able projects on our list. For some reason our porch floor has deteriorated rapidly over the last year (actually, why be so magnanimous? the reason is that the previous owners installed it improperly and maintained it poorly, just like everything else. harumph) and it’s starting to feel a little… dangerous. So we’re having the old porch floor torn out… which means the columns have to be removed… which means some structure has to be built to support the roof… which is why this is totally not a DIY affair. But that’s not to say we aren’t helping… Tony and I will prime the new tongue-and-groove wood flooring before it is installed and paint it after the contractor is finished. We’ll probably paint our shutters and trim as well…. who wants to help us pick a color?

But back to Derby for a second. It’s widely known that Derby weekend is the greatest holiday of the year, involving a tremendous amount of anticipation and planning. It is also generally the first major outdoor event of the year for most people, although falling as it does in early spring–in the Ohio Valley–conditions¬† can range from snowfall to thunderstorms to 95-degree heat stroke. Needless to say, accurate weather forecasts are crucial on Derby weekend. One must balance the need to look fabulous with the demands of the weather, not to mention staying comfortable trackside for eight hours or so. Take last year, for instance: for Friday’s Oaks, the meteorologists predicted rain throughout the day, so we dressed down, wore appropriate shoes and rain gear, and had a damply wonderful time. This year, however, I am very sorry to report, was an undeniable DISASTER. After wildly ranging forecasts throughout the week, we woke up Friday to a forecast of partly sunny, no rain until after dark, possible storms overnight. Oh no! Derby may be rainy, but at least I won’t have to wear a parka! Yay me! So we eschewed parkas and sneakers for airy ruffles, linen and sandals. This is what it looked like outside early on Oaks day:

Rosie, sporting a Derby hat of her own creation.

This is what it looked like when we got to the racetrack three hours later:

Perplexing! This is partly sunny? Oh well, after a few rounds of mint juleps it didn’t seem so bad, and I figured, at least I won’t get sunburned. And then the skies opened up and the wind started to blow. A quick call home revealed that we were under a thunderstorm warning, a tornado warning, and, yeah, possible hail. SAY WHAT? How do you whiff on a thunderstorm warning, Mr. Weatherman? On the most important weather-related holiday weekend of the year?? So we took our sodden ruffles and soaked linen and wet feet under cover, staked out a friendly corner and resumed our Oaks day. I don’t have any pictures of that part of our day, because for the next six hours I was standing with a racing program in one hand and a drink in the other. When the Oaks went off, amid 40-mph winds and muddy mess, this was the view:

Dreadful. They lied! Jerks. The next day, Derby day, was lovely, of course. But I’m still a leeetle bitter about the way Oaks worked out. So if you ever see me in the headlines, “Woman Punches Weatherman in the Mouth,” now you know why.