Wednesday, July 11, 2007

Heat Wave

I just checked the thermostat. It’s registering 80 degrees, but that’s inside. Outside the scales have hit 101. I know my thermostat runs a bit high because it’s under on the porch, up under the eaves, but that doesn’t change the fact that it’s just plain hot.

I am aware there are people in this world who relish in the hot weather. My mother is one of them. However, it’s my belief the majority of those people live in places where it is routinely hot. Places like Phoenix, San Diego, Las Vegas or even at the equator. People certainly do not choose to live in North Idaho because they are searching for hot weather.

Relatively speaking, North Idaho is not hot. We haven’t reached the 120's like the Southwest. I don’t think we have officially topped 100 this year. And yes, our hot weather will only last a few weeks of the year, but that doesn’t change the fact that it is too hot.

When I was a kid, I would spend a month each summer at my grandparents’ ranch in north central Washington. Even though the ranch was up in the mountains, it was in the rain shadow of the Cascades which created an arid climate. It was routinely hot and dry. Fireworks were never present on the Fourth of July because the fire danger was always high. Despite the heat, we spent nearly all of each day outside. The fact that it was near 100 degrees didn’t change the fact that we wore jeans with tennis shoes or cowboy boots while we traipsed through the sage brush, rattle snake infested landscape.

As a kid, it never occurred to me that it could be too hot. As an adult, I just can’t seem to tolerate the heat. I don’t like to be cold. I don’t particularly enjoy extended time in overly air conditioned buildings. In the middle of winter, I’m dreaming about summer days, but at this minute, I’m dreaming about snow covered roads. Snowmen in the yard. Frosty, ice covered windows. Wind chill.

The thing about cold weather is it’s easier to correct than hot. It’s easy to put on a sweater or a pair of socks. It’s easy to turn up the furnace or put another blanket on the bed. But hot weather, that’s harder to fix. You can only take off so many layers before you are not deemed fit for public viewing. You can only take so many layers off your bed before your just sleeping on a mattress. You can't even turn on the stove or do laundry without making it worse. And, for people without air conditioning (me), you can only depend on good old mother nature to cool you down at night.

I never thought I would need air conditioning until I moved to Post Falls. The former grass field where our house stands is void of shade producing trees. We were acutely aware of this and had trees waiting to be planted before we bought our house. I figure it will only be 10 or 15 years before we fully benefit from their shade potential. We actually spent an hour at Del Taco last night enjoying their Tuesday special (3 tacos for $.99) and soaking up the AC while Munchkin played on the toys.

We are better off than last summer. Our last house was less efficient and we bore the brunt of large, southern exposure windows. We had full sun in the front all day, then full sun in at the back of the house in the late afternoon and evening. Our new house is designed better so the sun exposure isn’t so direct. Our new vinyl fence and the house next door help cast shade over the back yard in the evening. The best cooling feature of the new house is windows upstairs. They are large and create a cross breeze in both directions when opened. It also helps that we aren’t right next to the train tracks so we can actually sleep with the windows open.

Tonight’s plan to deal with the heat is a picnic dinner at the lake. It always comes back to the lake, the main reason I love where we live so much. A couple of miles by car, and we’ll be soaking in the cool, refreshing water. I wonder if anyone would notice if I just camped out there until the heat wave ends?

1 comment:

Ethridge Family said...

I heard it was 100 on 4th of July, that we beat a heat record set years ago.

You must be pretty near me - we are on the Prairie too in a newer development