Wednesday, June 17, 2015

Beat the Heat!

When it's a hundred outside, how does this northern girl - a self-professed shade loving mammal - beat the heat?

(Of course we have air conditioning...which I keep at 80 degrees during the summer.   If I'm outside in ├╝ber hot weather, going inside to 80 degrees feels wonderful.  Today I went wild and turned the a/c down to 79, but that's mostly for emotional reasons.

Usually one of the following tricks cools me down enough for me to be comfortable:

First, I get a bandanna wet and then wear it around my neck.  This serves a dual purpose.  It cools me, sure, and that's important. But I'm also in my sixties so any legitimate reason to cover my scary neck is a plus.

Next, I make myself a big glass of ice water, adding thinly sliced cucumbers and mint from the garden.  The floating mint and cukes don't make the water any colder, but the glass sure looks classy.  Presentation is everything!

While I'm in the kitchen, a quick trip to the freezer scores me a handful of frozen grapes.  (I also like frozen mango chunks.  Frozen chocolate covered raspberries are my very favorite, but they disappear immediately after I dip them.  They rarely even make it to the freezer, they are that awesome.)  Of course, ice cream would work too, but that goes without saying, right?

I take these icy snacks down to my basement where it's naturally cooler because it's underground.  Then I set up a box fan to blow air on me.  This is the summer equivalent to a space heater in the winter.  I only care about my immediate environment, not the entire house.   I also have a lovely handheld black feathered fan I can use.  It may be 80 degree air, but air in motion feels cooler to me.  

Usually those couple ideas are enough to make me feel comfortable, but some days when it's really, really humid, I might need to take my game to the next level.  

When this happens, I will plunge my feet into a dishpan that's filled with cool water.   This immediately cools me off.  My friend Elaine, who taught me this trick, calls this a "redneck swimming pool" but I jazz it up a little. By adding Epsom salts to the water, I can pretend I'm at a spa.  

Hydrotherapy also works in the form of a quick cold shower.  Style points to those who keep their hair wet.  Blow drying your hair in summer seems so wrong to me.

If you are not absolutely frigid after trying these suggestions, you can employ my number one secret weapon for beating the heat.  This will work, guaranteed! Drop everything and drive to the library.  Reading a magazine in the cool, cool library is a perfect thing to do in the heat of a Carolina summer day.  

Remember to take a sweater.  Oh, and save a seat for me.

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