Posted tagged ‘heat’

“What dreadful hot weather we have! It keeps one in a continual state of inelegance.”

September 1, 2018

Today is again glorious, cool and dry. The sun is strong. The sky is blue and unmarred by clouds. I’m going to sit on the deck and take it all in because by Sunday the ugly humidity will be back.

Today is the meteorological end of summer, and Labor Day is the unofficial end but none of that matters to Mother Nature. She will continue to blast us with heat and humidity until fall can finally work its way past her. I’m hoping it will be soon. Fall is my favorite season.

In Ghana we had the dry season and the rainy season. I lived where the dry season was hotter than any other place in Ghana, but now it is the rainy season there so the temperature in Bolga, my other home town, is the lowest it will be all year. It has been in the high 70’s and the mid 80’s there, and rain has fallen just about every day. It is odd to see it cooler in West Africa than it is here.

During my early Peace Corps days, I missed fall, the snow at Christmas and the freshness of spring. I missed flowers. But the longer I lived there, the more I came to love the changes in Ghana’s weather. The rains came intermittently in September. The fields and grasses began to turn brown. Every day seemed hotter than the previous one. By the end of September, it was the high 80’s. In October it was the high 90’s. The worst months, February through April, usually reached 100˚ or more. My favorite month was December. The days were hot, but the nights were cold in comparison. I needed a blanket. It was Bolga’s snow at Christmas. In May the rains started. The grasses turned green. The fields were filled with the young shoots of millet, maize and sorghum. The trees were green with leaves. It was spring, Ghanaian style. The market was overloaded with fresh fruits and vegetables. The tomatoes were luscious.

It has been a long, long while since I lived in Ghana so I have forgotten the horrific heat, those days over 100˚.  Back then I seldom complained. I took my cold shower late, jumped into bed and fell asleep. Now I complain and moan and turn on the air conditioner.

That’s the way it was there, and now that’s the way it is here.

“If you saw a heat wave, would you wave back?”

August 30, 2018

The heat is still horrific. This is the worst it’s been in my memory. My friend Bill wondered if it is hotter here than in Bolgatanga, Ghana where we both lived. Some days I believe it is.

This is the rainy season in Ghana, but it isn’t the rainy season here. We haven’t seen rain in a while, especially that drenching rain I remember in Ghana. Luckily my irrigation system has kept the lawn and garden green. The plants in the deck pots have to be watered almost every day or they wilt. I understand wilting. I wilt every time I go outside. It is not a pretty sight.

When I was younger, I could tolerate the heat here in the house far better. I didn’t even have a fan. I used to sleep downstairs on the couch, and I kept the back door open all night. That was enough. Now, it would never be enough.

When I was a kid, I slept through the hottest nights because I was exhausted, because the swelter of every summer day didn’t matter, didn’t slow me down, didn’t stop me from having fun. I rode my bike, played softball, walked to the pool and hung around outside with friends. I was a kid so being sweaty and dirty was no never mind. The sprinkler was my summer shower. That it was cold water was the best part.

My mother always had a pitcher of ZaRex in the fridge. It was cheaper than making lemonade and tasted better than Kool-Aid. The pitcher she used the most was blue aluminum. The glasses were also aluminum but were a variety of colors. She had a couple of glass pitchers, one smaller than the other. I found their duplicates in an antique store and bought them both. I’m heavy into nostalgia.

My mother didn’t use her stove or oven a whole lot in the summer because the small kitchen held the heat. Sandwiches were acceptable supper food. My dad barbecued on weekends but my mother never did during the week. Everyone knew barbecuing was a man’s job. That my father sometimes set himself on fire was just an acceptable risk.

I have a doctor’s appointment in Hyannis today. I’m not happy with going outside. That my car has AC doesn’t matter. It’s just the idea of it.

“God, it was hot! Forget about frying an egg on the sidewalk; this kind of heat would fry an egg inside the chicken.”

August 28, 2018

The air conditioner is a must. The heat is stifling. The little breeze has no effect. Getting my morning papers took a bit of effort. The one good thing was I noticed some buds of the clematis covering my fence have started to bloom. Soon enough the fence will be covered in a crown of white. Also, the white anemones in the garden next to the house are blooming. I started with one plant and now the flowers have spread across that whole side of the front garden. The other side doesn’t grow as quickly. Even the bushes on that side are shorter than the bushes on the other side. It’s all the sun’s fault.

Yesterday I bought some plants to replace the dead ones in some of the deck pots. The plants were on sale. I bought mostly lavender for the deck, and I bought some perennials  for a bare spot in the big garden. Those flowers will remain nameless because I can’t remember their name. By the time I got home, sweat was dripping down the sides of my face. I. was not a pleasant sight.

The heat has gotten to me. I am watching a really bad movie, even bad for me: Piranha 3DD. Gary Busey, David Hasselhoff and Ving Rhames are in it which might give you an idea of how really bad it is. The owner of a water park saved money by filling his pools with water from a deep lake in the ocean, a deep lake filled with piranha. They are eating their fill.

I finished my laundry, a huge accomplishment; however, it still sits in a basket in the living room. Getting it upstairs is a two step process. I’m still working on step two.

When small things go wrong, I am driven crazy. Right now it is the back screen door handle. It doesn’t shut tightly. That started yesterday. I have to take off the handle then go to the aluminum door store to get the right part. Henry goes out the dog door but wants me to let him in. That now stops. It took a while, but I got the screen door to shut. Henry will just after to understand.

My to do list is empty today. I have a good book, some leftover salsa and chips and a few catalogues to look through with an eye to Christmas. My most trying efforts today will be turning the pages and dipping the chips into salsa. I may need a nap.

“The past beats inside me like a second heart.”

August 6, 2018

Help!! I am a prisoner in my house. Going outside could mean certain death. Okay, I admit to an exaggeration here but not by much. It is so hot and humid it took my breath away when I went to get the papers. I didn’t even stop to admire the garden. I am now safe and comfortable in my cool house. I will admire the sun from the inside out.

When I was a kid, I don’t think we even had fans in the house. My mother kept the shades down. The living room did feel a touch cooler but not by much. Sometimes we’d go through the sprinkler, get cool and wet then go to bed. I used the same trick in Ghana. I’d take my shower, a cold shower as I had no hot water, just before bed then go to bed still wet. I was air cooled and could fall asleep.

Heat never really bothered me that much when I was a kid. I was out every day all summer, even when it rained. In Ghana, in Bolga, it was always hot, even in the rainy season, but that’s just the way it was and life went on.

I have a great memory of Ghana. One of my friends was terminating (Peace Corps argot for finishing service) earlier than the rest of us were. His school was on strike so there was nothing for him to do. During Easter holiday a few of us met up in Accra by happenstance as we always stayed at the Peace Corps hostel. We decided to go out for drinks and toast our departing friend. We went to a hotel, one of the grand old hotels. We sat in the bar. There were chairs and couches with flowered cushions, not uncommon furniture in Ghana. Fans were on the ceiling and were stirring the air a bit. There was a bank of open windows behind us and outside those windows was a garden of ferns, eucalyptus and frangipani. I had been whisked back in time to a colonial hotel, like in some old movie of long ago times and places. I was living in old Accra for just a little while. Even now I can close my eyes and see the fan, the windows and me sitting on the couch, drink in hand. It is an amazing memory.

“I’ve just been bitten on the neck by a vampire… mosquito. Does that mean that when the night comes I will rise and be annoying?”

November 5, 2017

Outside is dark, damp and cloudy. A wind blows every now and then and adds to the misery of the day. My heat went on during the night. It must have been really cold as the thermostat is set at 65˚. Before I had pets, I used to keep it set at 62˚ at night, but that’s too cold for Gracie and Maddie. I found that out when I patted them. Their ears and their body fur were cold. That’s why the heat is higher.

Last night, Gracie was panting so much I kept waking up. I did the food, treat, water thing, and she still was panting and moving around. I finally fell asleep around four. When I woke up, Gracie was in the middle of the couch lying right beside me, and my legs were bent to accommodate her. It was another bad back this morning. She, of course, is now sleeping soundly. I am tempted to keep waking her up, but that’s a human response she wouldn’t understand. Besides, she’d just go to her crate and sleep, probably snore too just to drive me crazy.

Even though all the stores are now opened on Sunday just like every other day, I still have a bit of solemnity for the day probably leftover from when I was a kid. I don’t big time shop on Sundays, and I tend to stay close to home. I watch a little TV, usually football, and I often nap. I honor Sunday as a day of rest.

I was browsing through youtube the other night looking for something to watch. I noticed the film choice of Thousand Plane Raid. Seeing that zoomed me right back to Africa but to Niamey, Niger this time, not Ghana. It was Christmas vacation, and I was traveling with a couple of friends. The trip didn’t go as planned, but trips seldom do in Africa. The bus broke down twice. Each time, we had to wait for the driver’s assistant to hitch back to Ougadougou for parts. That put us way behind time so we had to stop for the night at a post office for which the bus carried mail. The night was freezing. It was harmattan time and we were closer to the desert than in Ghana. I had only a piece of cloth to keep me warm, and it didn’t. Anyway, by the time we got to Niamey, I had defrosted. We stayed at the Peace Corps hostel. In those days U.S. embassies showed movies on Saturday nights. We found out where and went to the screening. Yup, it was Thousand Plane Raid. You don’t need to know any more about the movie. The title is the whole plot. That night was the worst. The movie was shown in an open room of sorts with 4 low concrete walls and no screens.  I was eaten alive by mosquitos bigger than my hand. They mimicked the movie and dive bombed in groups to attack me. I think I left before the end of the movie, but I was so woozy from loss of blood my memories just blurred. I only remember the name of the move and the hordes of mosquitos.

“Never fire a laser at a mirror.”

October 17, 2017

Last night was seasonably cold. When I woke up, the house was down to 64˚, too cold for me. I grabbed my sweatshirt and turned on the heat to warm the house. Coffee helped to warm me.

The day is beautiful with a bright, squint your eyes sort of sun and deep blue skies. A few thin branches high in the oak trees are swaying. Dead leaves are falling, some slowly, some far more quickly to the ground. The bird feeders need my attention. I also need to fill the suet feeders.

I took my time this morning. Usually I am quick to get my papers and to take Miss Gracie out to the back yard. Instead, I sat inside for while finishing a book. When I finally did go out, I met my friend Tony walking Darcie, his westie. We chatted, and he helped me empty my trunk of seeds and canned animal food. I saw a dead rabbit in the space between my house and my neighbor’s house. Sadly, I think it is rabbit I came to know. It visited my yard all summer. Tony offered to bag the rabbit so I could take it to the dump, but I knew I’d have trouble doing that so I thanked him and said I’d bury it or have my neighbor bury it. I’m going to miss my rabbit.

YouTube is on. I’ve been watching those black and white science fiction movies from the 50’s all morning. The Giant Claw is my favorite so far. It was awful, even laughable, but that’s its best feature. The giant claw belongs to a giant bird with eyes which never move. It eats planes, trains, cars and people. It scooped parachutists from the sky with its mouth. The movie has all the best elements: a hero, his new found love, a scientist of sorts, city crowd scenes where men wearing overcoats and fedoras run along side women wearing dresses, hats and heels, all trying to escape the falling buildings destroyed by the bird. I loved this movie.

I have nothing planned for today, and that’s just fine with me.

“I told myself that I was going to live the rest of my life as if it were Saturday.”

September 30, 2017

During the night, I grabbed the afghan as my house had gotten so cold. This morning it was 66˚. I admit I turned on the heat for a while until the house was warmer. Putting on a sweatshirt also helped. The sun was out when Gracie and I got the papers. Now the sky is cloudy, and rain is predicted for this afternoon and evening. I have nowhere I have to be today, and I’m glad.

Saturday has always been my favorite day. When I was a kid, I had the whole day to do what I wanted. Breakfast and favorite programs were first then I was out the door. Mostly I rode my bike so I could explore more. No part of town was out of riding reach. The best end of town was the zoo. It didn’t cost anything in those days. Sometimes we’d ride to the next town over and bike around Lake Quannapowitt. Other times we had no destination. We just rode around town and checked out our favorite places like the house of the newspaper and rag man which had a huge porch and an out-building, both filled with papers. We’d check out the town barn and the horses. On warm days, the firemen sat outside the station in front of the engine bays, and we’d stop to talk with them. They’d let us go check out the fire engines. We’d ride down the hilly driveway to the schoolyard then skid in the sand along the sides of the yard just for the fun of it. I don’t remember ever being bored, even in winter we found stuff to do.

When I was in Ghana, I’d go into town on a Saturday and roam the market hoping to find something unexpected. When I’d finished, I’d sit and have a cold Coke at the one place which had a fridge. It was the last store in a line of stores on the main street. It had a few tables and chairs outside. It was there an American guy stopped to talk to me. He wanted to know where the bare-breasted women were. I was angry and horrified. I told him so. He quickly left. I never ran into him again.

When I was working, I wanted one free day to do whatever I wanted. Saturday was the perfect choice, the historical choice. Once in a while I’d grocery shop on Saturday and once a month I’d dust and vacuum, but mostly Saturday was for fun.

Now I always say every day is Saturday.

 

“Autumn is the time of picturesque tranquility.”

September 22, 2017

Last night the wind sounded like a freight train. I know it’s a cliche, but it perfectly describes what I was hearing. The wind blew in gales. In between the gales it was quiet if only by comparison. I think it was the wildest wind since the start of the storm. This is day four of the remnants of Jose. Earlier this morning it was raining loudly enough to hear. At other times the rain has been misty, quiet. The wind is still raging.

My deck and yard are filled with fallen leaves and smaller branches. Every time I go out, a few leaves are blown inside the house. All of them are shriveled and dead.

The birds are at the feeders in such numbers the sunflower and thistle feeders need to be refilled. I’ll just have to brave the rain. I don’t want to disappoint all those birds.

I did finish my errands yesterday. At the doctor’s they had snacks to thank us for getting our flu shots. I had a chocolate chip cookie and a mini-cupcake. Last night the spot where I got the shot itched a bit, and the spot hurts a little today. I’ll just have to be brave.

Last night I was cold so I grabbed a light blanket and snuggled a bit under it. This morning when I woke up the house was at 67˚. Since then, the temperature has risen a couple of degrees but not enough as I’m still a bit chilly, but I refuse to turn on the heat this early in the season. I’m still taken aback by having to use the AC the last couple of days because of the humidity. It is late for the AC and too early for the heat. Weather has gone amok.

Today is the autumn equinox, a beginning and an end: the end of summer and the beginning of fall, autumn. The nights will now be longer than the days.

When I was a kid, I loved when the leaves were falling. On our way to school, we would walk in the gutters kicking leaves and watching them fly. I remember yellow the most.

The only things on my to do list are to order groceries and finally get the laundry finished, or rather get it started. It is still upstairs. I have no ambition whatsoever, but I guess I could scare up enough energy to order groceries on line.

Rain is predicted for tomorrow as are wind gusts up to 45 MPH. Sunday, Monday and Tuesday are supposed to be sunny and in the low 70’s. I’ll believe it when I see it. All this rain has made me gloomy and skeptical.

“Summer has set in with its usual severity.”

July 2, 2017

Every Sunday, at 10 am, I call my sister in Colorado. Today that call lasted until 12:41. We discussed the family, politics, MSNBC, our gardens and lawns and her grandchildren. She and I are political clones of each other. Actually, all my siblings and I agree politically. I think it has to do with us growing up through the 60’s.

Next door is empty. The car I saw must have been the cleaners getting the place ready for renters. There were workers there for a few days last week putting on shingles and doing some work inside which necessitated the hammers and saws I heard. There was also an exterminator. That made me laugh. I figured my mice have packed their bags and moved next door; however, I did catch another mouse in my trap in the kitchen which makes it  3 mice caught who lived in the cabinet. That sounds like a children’s book title: Three Mice Caught Who lived in the Cabinet. I can envision the book cover with the mice sitting in their living room while mama mouse is in her rocker knitting. I just hope number 3 is the last. Just in case, though, I’ll again bait the trap this week with peanut butter. Number 3 was let go a couple of miles from here. I wished him Bon Voyage.

The humidity surprised me this morning at 7 when Gracie woke me up to take her outside. It had rained during the night as the road was wet, but I don’t think it was all that much rain. Gracie was quick to finish so we both came inside and went back to sleep. I slept another 2 hours. I just took her out again, and it is hot. I’m thinking staying inside with the air conditioner blasting sounds the best way to spend the day. Fresh air is overrated.

“I happen to love coconut, particularly for that sweet and crunchy texture it adds to any dish.”

May 22, 2017

The rain is back. It starts and stops. The tops of the trees are blowing. Going outside is uninviting. The house was a bit cool when I woke up. A little blast of heat was it needed. I needed coffee.

The morning has gone quickly. I read the papers, but Monday is a scant news day. Sunday papers use all the news to fill the extra pages.

Last night around 11:30, I took Gracie out. Every house was dark. There are no streetlights so I couldn’t even see the brown house on the corner. The dogs usually bark from inside that house, but this time they were quiet. Gracie was quick.

I had coconut ice cream with hot fudge sauce, whipped cream and jimmies for dessert last night. The ice cream was filled with coconut pieces and was scrumptious. The first palm tree I ever saw was in Ghana. Coconuts hung from its leafy top. They were still green. I stood under the tree a while looking up, amazed I was actually seeing a palm tree. It had jumped from the pages of my geography book to real life.

I haven’t any ambition for the day. My plants need watering, and the cat litter needs changing. I figure that’s about all I’ll do. I also figure that’s enough.

Knee socks were popular when I was in high school. I had several pairs in all different colors. I wore them even after the elastic around the tops had broken. They became really thick ankle socks.

My TV watching has been a bit strange of late. I watched all the episodes of The Keepers about pedophilic priests and a nun who was murdered and how the two cases may have intersected. I also binged watch all of Anne with an E, that would be Anne of Green Gables. It was quite a change.

I’m going to get cozy and read. I think it a perfect day to do both.