In the heat of the plight

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It’s summer time. It was hot, sticky and even a bit stifling over the weekend. These days our windows are wide open at night and fans greedily pull in cool air. During daylight hours we shut the house up tight and close the curtains to block sunlight.

I’ve lived without air conditioning all my life. Hot, sticky nights are as much a part of the summer way of life as lemonade in a Mason jar and fireflies hovering after dark. When I was young, I often joined Grandma on her back porch. Throughout June, July and August she slept on a glider and I’d retire to a sleeping bag on concrete. I suppose it was uncomfortable, but I really don’t remember that part. I do know sleeping outdoors was cool … literally. And on hot, stuffy nights at home my siblings and I would use a washcloth to wipe wetness on arms and legs and faces, and then rest in front of the fan. It was lovely (for a few minutes, at least).

Managing the heat has become a life-long challenge, really. How many windows can we open? Who will be up first to close them all and pull the blinds and shut in the few degrees that make a difference? At what hour of the evening is it better to open the windows and increase airflow? Because you know it doesn’t stay cool all day — there comes a point when it’s hotter inside than out. When it’s really hot, we turn off the dehumidifier in the basement and place a fan on the steps to suck the coolness from sandstone walls.

Oh, we’ve considered purchasing a window air-conditioning unit several times before. Usually we mull it over for a couple of intensely warm days and just when we’ve had enough and we’re ready to bite the bullet the weather changes. A cool breeze comes along and refreshes us. Or a good strong rain makes everything better. And one time last summer I put my feet in a bucket of ice water under my desk while I worked at the computer. Whatever works.

I guess that’s true of many situations.

Do what you need to do to cool off before you blow a gasket. Sweating it out in the heat of the moment is a lot easier to rectify than spontaneously combusting in a fit of heated fury. And while sometimes that’s exactly what the situation calls for … TRUST ME …

Cool off before you overheat. It may not be as satisfying as a soul-cleansing explosion, but it’s ultimately more productive.

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