Sunday, July 8, 2018

Dealing with Summer Heat

Did you know that there's an etiquette you're supposed to follow during a heatwave? According to the Telegraph, there is...and we'd better get hot (so to speak) and follow it.
     Then again, they're British. (Apologies to my Australian friends, who labor under similar guidelines.)

Although, as Donna Freedman points out, heat is relative. People are griping about it in her neck of Alaska (Fairbanks, I believe), and the temps are barely nudging 80.
     Compared to other states, Colorado isn't that bad off, either. We're hitting the 90s quite regularly, and the breeze is usually hot -- but it's so dry here that we can handle higher temps than many of you more humid state-ers. Like Michigan. I grew up there, and remember many a night gasping for breath upstairs, the fan full-on. Sometimes we would give up and go sleep out on the concrete porch. It may not have been that comfortable, but there was often a breeze and we could watch the fireflies.

We don't have fireflies much here. Just mosquitoes now and then, thanks to the nearby Home Depot's holding pond.

Our struggle is not just the dryness, but the sun -- it beats down through the thinner air unmercifully. (We live at 6250 feet, after all. Daughter #2 and Son #1 live a few thousand feet higher.) It can get pretty nasty around here in the early afternoons. Fortunately, we have a swamp cooler that comes in handy right now. (Noisy, but effective.) Sunset often brings a cooler breeze with it -- enough for us to be able to sleep.
     Then there's iced tea, coffee and lemonade. (Add a touch of maraschino cherry juice to the latter, for a nice 'blushing' effect.)

Pools are nice -- ours are pretty expensive here, though, and hours are limited (Pinterest)

We do a few other things that help:

*Hang damp clothes to dry inside the house. They dry quickly, and cool the air while they're doing it. (I used to hang wet towels on sunny windows when we lived in Ann Arbor, for the same reason.)
     Bonus points:  wear your clothes when they're still slightly damp. This has an incredible cooling effect.

*Keep a cross-breeze going. The deck glass door on the south side of the house stays open in early morning and evening; so does the front door to the north. (Screen doors let us do it.)

*Use the oven only in the mornings -- and/or as little as possible. We are not that bad on salads as a meal, but the Brick enjoys a nice mixed salad on the side. To save energy, it helps to:

*Use your grill -- but cook enough meat for more than one meal. Grilled steak, sliced thin, is wonderful added on a salad, or heated and served with scrambled eggs. Grilled chicken can top all sorts of pasta dishes... or salad or blah blah blah. Bratwurst comes in handy, done the same way -- and so do hotdogs. (They make quick snacks put in a roll, then nuked for a minute.) Don't get me started on grilled shrimp tacos...oh my.

*Tackle the chilly/watery household jobs: scrubbing out the bathtub; washing walls/counters/cupboards; mopping floors; cleaning out the refrigerator and freezer. All that moisture will feel good. (Do it earlier or later -- but not in the middle of the day.)

*Watch a movie. Preferably a snowy one. I'll read books the same way -- lately, it's been the Franklin Expedition, but anything with a winter theme is cooling. Also:

A little creepy...but definitely snowy

*Start to think about what you'll do for Christmas. Now's a good time to look for holiday items in thrift shops and at garage sales. I go back and read posts about it, too -- like this one. 
     The only bad part about this notion is our plan to move into the trailer soon. Packing and getting rid of things does NOT lend itself to stashing away presents for birthdays and Christmas. Ironically, several presents are reappearing that I'd carefully hidden 'in a safe place,' then couldn't find when the time came. I'm flirting with the idea of sending off those gifts now, with explanatory notes. Then when Christmas comes, I'll just mail a card, instead.

Brad's Deals has some excellent budget suggestions on dealing with the heat, too.

     It's easy to start feeling tired, achy and just plain depressed about this kind of grinding heat. Although some deal with it by getting up early and doing a bunch of tasks, that doesn't work too well for us. (For one thing, we stay up far too late. It's almost 1:30 a.m. while I'm typing this.) A few things have helped me, though:

    *Give myself permission to go back to bed and read for a half-hour, while the Brick finishes snoozing
    *Cut a bouquet of fresh flowers or greens -- if fragrant, even better
              (the mint is just going nuts right now) 
    *Water the plants on the deck out back, and the flowerbed out front
    *Write a letter or note. Send a card -- particularly a thank you for kindness done, or hard work recognized
     *See a friend at least once a week (right now, it's coffee Wednesday mornings -- the Brick gets together with his buddies on Friday mornings)
     *Do the best I can. Forgive myself for not being an energy dynamo...and thank God for everything He's done in our lives.
     Which is a lot.


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