Archive for heat

Heat related

Posted in Me with tags , , , on July 31, 2011 by redswandiaries

It’s been thundering for more than an hour, yet no rain. With each rumbling in the distance, my anxiety grows. The windows in my car are slightly open and the charcoal briquets are on the deck, but I’m afraid if I rush outside to close the windows or bring the charcoal inside the storm will dissipate and the rain won’t come.

This is what it’s come to, superstitious behavior and feeling like I’m on the precipice of weeping for days. Whenever I hear someone, usually someone older, talk about the summer they’ll never forget “when the heat was so bad birds were dropping from the sky,” I smile and think to myself how it couldn’t have been that bad, everyone likes to embellish a story or two. Not anymore.

I know for a fact I will remember this summer and how the sound of the crunching brown grass beneath my feet as I walk to the community mailbox almost makes me sick to my stomach. Or how I’ve added to my prayers each night an ardent praise for allowing our AC  to make it through another day and each morning consider rushing outside to bless the struggling unit with holy water. Or how each evening I fill my watering can and douse the diehard few flowers still vibrant in their pots on the deck, refusing to allow the Kansas drought to wither them to yellowed stems, thinking if I let them die I might wither away along with them.

I’ve now created playlists on my iPod of songs with “rain” or “storm” in the title, almost 4.5 hours of rain summoning music I keep on repeat. I watch the skies, urging any tiny cluster of clouds to blossom into thunderheads and drench the earth. On Friday, when a small shower moved over SW Wichita and passed too quickly over campus, I ran outside and stood in the parking lot, letting the warm droplets splatter my clothes, skin and frizz my hair. It was the best four minutes out of the entire day.

Until today, I’d yet to let the heat win. I”ve continued to be busy going to concerts, riding my bicycle on Friday through Old Town, sitting on the patio in the humid evenings, and venturing out in the hottest part of the day. But this morning, I didn’t feel like fighting. I chose to hide inside, blinds drawn, AC chugging, fans whirling, and read a book. I picked it from the pile of summer reads I’d intended to rally through before Labor Day weekend. I’d only read one from the stack of seven before selecting a book today by Alice Hoffman, Fortune’s Daughter. In spite of the heat, I brewed a cup of tea, sat in my favorite reading chair and opened to the first page…

“…As the temperatures hovered near one hundred degrees the days melted together until it was no longer possible to tell the difference between a Thursday and a Friday…(coyotes) followed the scent of chlorine into backyards, and some of them drowned in swimming pools edged with blue Italian tiles…tap water bubbled as it came out of the faucets; ice cubes dissolved in the palm of your hand…for miles in every direction people just snapped, lovers quarreled in bedrooms and parking lots, money was stolen, knives were pulled, friendships that had lasted a lifetime were destroyed with one harsh word. Those few people who were able to sleep were haunted by nightmares; those with insomnia drank cups of coffee and swore they smelled something sweet burning, as if a torch had been put to a grove of lemon trees sometime in the night.”

Even in books, my one true means of total escape, the Kansas heat finds me. On the opening page, I am reminded I will never forget these long days of superstition, silent prayers, awkward rain dances, and a heat worn like an itchy serape, reddening my chest and sending slow caterpillars of sweat down my back. Many years from now I’ll recall burning my fingers repeatedly on the car door at lunch and sleepless nights spent pondering a move to Colorado or Washington.

I”m just waiting for those poor birds to begin dropping from the sky.


If this is what hell feels like, I better get to church

Posted in Me with tags , , , on July 22, 2011 by redswandiaries

If one more person says “the devil called, he wants his weather back,” I’m going to scream. And scream. Or maybe cry. As a person who loathes summer, this has been absolute torture for me. I don’t like heat. I don’t like sweat. I don’t like exposed feet. I don’t like exposed body parts, especially those that should under no circumstance be allowed to see the burning light of day. Please keep your jiggling bellies, cottage cheese thighs, and pimpled, hairy backs to yourself. I beg of you.

It’s so hot, I’ve no energy to write. The creative juices have dried up, leaving large cracks and dust where imagination used to reside in pools of ambition. It’s 104 with a heat index of 107. I have a strange, dull headache that has lingered at the base of my skull for a week. I’m buying Gatorade by the cart-loads and drinking so much water throughout the day I swear I can hear sloshing in my sleep. I know it’s hot when relief comes in the form of a floaty that resembles a large diaphragm. As long as it keeps me bobbing in warm pool waters, I don’t care if  it looks like birth control for Andre the Giant’s sister.

Just how hot is it? This is from the National Weather Service:

Wichita, Kan.
  • 100-degree days through July 13: 20
  • Sunday’s high reached an incredible 111 degrees. This was the hottest day since 1980!
  • Annual average is 14 days with 100-degree heat.
  • This is already a year’s worth of 100s, with the rest of July and August still ahead!
  • Most 100-degree days in a year: 50 in 1936

Today is July 22, so add an additional nine days and we have 29 days of 100+ temperatures. Someone kill me now.

And the forecast is suicidal:

Weekly forecast

Good thing I don’t own any firearms.

As for sports, who can find any relief or relaxation watching baseball on television? The other day when Roy Halladay doubled over due to heat exhaustion, and it was a reported 112 heat index at Wrigley Field, I found no comfort in watching baseball. None. Who wants to see red-faced fans holding those pathetic plastic fans in front of their faces or players with water-soaked towels on their heads, or listen to the guys in the booth talk non-stop about the heat index and the humidity on the field?  Not me. I don’t want to be reminded of what’s just  outside my door. I knew I should’ve DVR’d the Winter X-games.

So until the temps cool to a mild 95, I won’t be doing much writing or anything else for that matter. And while I realize it is redundant, my new mantra is “It’s too damn hot.”  I’ll continue to drink too much water, keep my fridge stocked in Gatorade and keep the cooler filled with ice and beer (after all, it takes 8-24 gallons of water to brew that one pint of beer).

See you in 64 days. That would be the first day of fall.

Blame it on the heat

Posted in Me with tags , , on August 3, 2010 by redswandiaries

That’s my excuse and I’m sticking to it. I’m blaming it all on the heat.

Feeling a little cranky (It’s the heat).

Not motivated to blog  (Too dang hot).

Can’t get into the writing groove ( It’s a million degrees outside, what do you expect?).

Not really up to going anywhere (In this heat, I’ll sweat to death before I reach my car).

Hating my clothes (When it’s hot, who wants to wear clothes. They just get all sweaty).

Don’t want to cook dinner (Who feels like eating when you’re pretty sure you’re dying of heat stroke).

There’s nothing good on television (it’s too hot out AND it’s baseball season. Ick on both counts).

I’ve been drinking way too much beer lately (a person can only drink so much water or Gatorade when the heat index surpasses 100 degrees).

And so it goes. August in Kansas. Not a pretty thing.