2011.07.20 Keeping cool with grandbaby Caroline

Written by David Green.

By COLLEEN LEDDY

I walked out of the library Monday evening at 6:30 into a blazing hot and steamy wall of heat emanating from the parking lot. It felt hotter than the time we geocached in a weird little patch of trees in Miami and hotter than the days I spent  last summer in New Orleans when I showered and changed my clothes three times every day because I was a constant sweaty mess. It felt even hotter than the blast of furnace air in Phoenix where I really thought I might die from the heat.

“What the heck?!” I almost shouted. “What’s the meaning of this heat?”

I had spent most of the day in the air-conditioned library and was literally shocked at how hot it was when I emerged. And, it’s not like we keep it all that low at the library—when we’re open the thermostat is usually set to 76 degrees; when closed, it’s set on 83.

My very un-air-conditioned house was maybe half a degree cooler than the outdoors Monday evening. Usually, we win the war on summer heat by running a powerful fan out an upstairs window at night, drawing cool air in. But there was no keeping Monday’s hot air out. 

I keep thinking we’re going to have to install an air conditioner since our kids keep moving to places where AC is everywhere and they are now acclimated to its use—as opposed to sweating it out with me and David...and repeatedly uttering, “This, too, shall pass.”

But, heck, we haven’t even bought the extra fans we keep saying we’re going to buy. So, we revert to our trusty homemade form of air-conditioning—a spray bottle of water turned to a mist setting and a fan turned directly on you. Just a few squirts cools you right down...until you have to do it again a few minutes later.

You almost have to brace yourself before spraying because even with room temperature water, it’s a tad shocking when the mist hits your hot face or body. It’s most lovely to spray straight up into the air and anticipate the coolness as the water wafts down and the fan blows your wet skin dry. 

Yes, as David Green always says, “Evaporation is a cooling process.”

I think baby Caroline enjoys it. She, too,  braces herself when I squirt the bottle upward, and then closes her eyes, breathes in, and shudders a little when the water lands on her—before breaking into a big smile.

I admit to less efficient ways of cooling off—standing in front of the open refrigerator pretending to look for something to eat. But, good does come of that when I actually find something to eat. I e-mailed Ben about that and other hot weather-related news Sunday.

“I am so happy to report that I found the yogurt container with just enough cilantro dip to cap off a dinner of open face chicken salad sandwiches with mustard greens. We even had a new bag of chips to dip.

“And earlier today I discovered you left one of those rocket popsicles in the freezer. Cooled me off long enough to get to the air-conditioned library.

“It was 88 degrees at 8:30 tonight...although our positive-thinking thermometer outside the kitchen window insists all day long that it's 76 degrees.”

That’s another way of keeping cool—believe your inaccurate thermometer and trick yourself into believing it’s not really so hot.

Or, there’s a whole new keeping-cool approach I discovered last night when I was dancing in my pants from an incredibly itchy spider bite right at the base of my spine. I put an ice cube between my underwear and my pants, right up against the bite. Not only did it take care of the itch, it cooled me down immensely.

OK, it did leave a gigantic spot as if I had wet my pants, but I was cooled off, the itch was gone, and baby Caroline, who wets her pants on a regular basis, did not care one bit that her grandma was looking prematurely incontinent.

  • Front.batter
    THE DERBY—Tyler “Smallpox” Flakne of Minnesota’s Home Run League All-Stars goes for the fence Friday night during the National Wiffle League Association’s home run derby in Morenci. This year the wiffleball national tournament moved from Dublin, Ohio, to Morenci’s Wakefield Park. During the derby, competitors had two minutes to hit as many home runs as possible. The winner this year finished with 21. See page 6 and 7 for additional photos.
  • Front.green Screen
    OUT OF THIS WORLD—Elizabeth McFadden and Elise Christle pose in front of the green screen as VolunTeen Noah Gilson makes them appear as though they are standing on the Moon. More photos from the Stair District Library’s NASA @ My Library program are on page 12.
  • Front.snake
    Lannis Smith of the Leslie Science and Nature Center in Ann Arbor shows off a python last week at Stair District Library's Summer Reading Program.
  • Front.fireworks
    FIREWORKS erupt Saturday night over Morenci’s Wakefield Park during the waning hours of the Town and Country Festival. Additional festival photos are inside.
  • Pipeline Spread
    LINED UP—Lengths of pipe were put in place last week along the route of the Rover natural gas pipeline that will stretch from Defiance, Ohio, to Ontario, Canada. Topsoil was removed before the pipes were laid out. The 42-inch diameter pipeline is scheduled for completion in November.
  • Front.F.school
    PROGRESS continues on the agriculture classroom addition at Fayette High School. The project will add 2,900 square feet of space and include an overhead door that would allow equipment to be driven inside. The building should be ready for the start of school in August. Work on ball fields and a running track is also underway.
  • Front.rock Study
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