Ways to tell that fall is coming

It’s always sad when summer starts to pack it in, but at the same time, many of us love the next season, too.  
Maybe it’s because fall is so colourful.  Maybe we love it because it’s so short and we savour it’s time-limited character.  Perhaps it’s simply because fall puts off winter’s wrath just a little bit longer.  
    Whatever the reasons, you can tell fall is coming because:
• Hockey conditioning camps for the kids are getting underway and you’re in search of good buys on used equipment or really good buys on new stuff. Every year at this time, parents declare that they can’t believe their kids grew out of last year’s equipment so fast.
• Stores are sending out a million flyers full of boots and parkas and all things wintery. We look at the prices and then get the kids to try on last year’s winter garb hoping that they can squeeze one more winter out of it.  Fat chance. 
These kids are certainly not suffering from stunted growth, are they?
• As you assess the available winter storage space for the bikes in the garage, you wonder if the kids will have grown out of those by next spring, too.
• You finally got the filter working in the swimming pool.
• Before long we’ll be surprised to see Halloween treats already appearing in the stores. Rushing the season a bit, aren’t they? Do we really need all that stuff so early?
Apparently merchandisers have noticed that, “If they sell it, we will come!”  Halloween treats are sold in two campaigns now. The “early” sale and the “last chance” sale. We buy the stuff early and eat it all immediately, and then we buy more of it about three days before Halloween and hide it until the big night. 
We don’t feel badly about eating all the goodies early, though, do we? Those tiny chocolate bars are almost insignificant and probably don’t even register on the calorie counter. Sure.
• You start wearing a sweater or jacket on the golf course and the tennis court.
• Family conversation is now focussing on school, new clothes and fall activity registration.
• The house windows are not left as wide open as they have been for the last two months.
• Seeing the leaves on the ground will make you reflect that it seems like only the other day that you were raking up the dead leaves of early spring and now, suddenly, it’s leaf-raking  time again.
• It’s time to clean out the furnace humidifier. And what an ugly job that is.  Changing the furnace filter is no picnic either. Cough. Where does all that dust come from?
• You try to get motivated to put up the Christmas lights early. But, alas, you’ll probably be unsuccessful again this year. As usual, you’ll end up with frozen fingers while doing the job at the last possible moment on a bone-chilling day in early December.
It’s a seasonal tradition called, “frost-bite.”
• At this time of year, it seems as if you are constantly trying to give away a million crab apples, tomatoes and zucchini to friends and neighbours. 
• You will rake a few leaves, knowing full well that tons more will fall and many more will blow into the yard before autumn fades into winter. Though you like the changing colour of the leaves, your enthusiasm wanes a little more with each of these raking sessions until eventually you start to really dislike leaves.
• The thought of closing up the cottage for its winter hibernation depresses you as the neighbours at the lake start saying things like, “Hey, it’s only another six months ’til we’ll be out here again!”
• With summer fading, you wish you had filled the season with more swimming and beach time, golf, picnics, jogging, barbecues, travelling, tennis, walking, playing with your kids,  bike riding, volleyball, striding, canoeing, softball, kite-flying, Frisbee tossing and gardening. Although, you won’t miss lawn-cutting and weeding all that much.
• Cleaning up the garden reveals just how badly the flowers did that you were so excited about when you planted the seeds way back in May.
• And, last, but not least, you can tell fall is just around the corner because  your tan is starting to fade.