Hot Times!

So we’re having a heat wave in Maryland, with heat indexes nudging over 120F in Baltimore. We rarely go a summer without some triple digit days, so this is not all that unheard of, but it is uncomfortable. I rode my lesson horse on Thursday morning, got off, and realized I had exceeded my heat tolerance.

I know what to do when that happens, so I did it–sponge baths, cool clothes, AC, lots and lots of room temperature water in steady sips rather than chug-a-lugs–and respect for the residual fatigue. As I sat right in front of my fan that evening, revising a scene, I was aware of how much pleasure and contentment I got out of the very simplest comforts.

A breeze. Cool water. Soft, lightweight play clothes… when the night cooled off enough I turned off the AC and fans, and oh… the quiet. The absolute, lovely, calm quiet (and the symphony of cicadas, crickets, and other bugs enjoying the quiet with me). Early Friday morning I raided my yard for those high summer favorites, dahlias and gladiolus. They are so bright and cheery, and if it’s too hot to go outside, I can bring some outside into my kitchen.

Winter has the same effect, of elevating mundane comforts to the sublime–warmth becomes precious. A cup of hot tea a benediction. A soft woven scarf becomes the most prized accessory. A shoveled walk is a thing of beauty and safety. A  calm, sunny day is a reason to rejoice, even if it is frigid.

A heat wave is a bad thing. It causes suffering and even death, but in my case, it also caused me to stop running around, to sit quietly and be glad I had the privilege of indulging my limitations. For much of my life, I have been a soldier-on-no-matter-what single working mom, and that is no way to get through a heat wave or a cold snap.

What stops you from excessive busyness? Illness? Weather? Migraines? Family? Is there a time of year when you are more likely to overdo or slow down? To one commenter, I’ll send a signed ARC of Forever and a Duke!

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14 comments on “Hot Times!

  1. 1
    Brenda U.K says:

    Summer is so welcome in my life,I need sunshine to boost my energy after coming out of long gloomy dark cold winter time.Spring pulls me out of the winter blues,gives me a perked up view of what is coming and I love it.Like you Grace I enjoy Spring the most but as it slides into Summer I have to be careful of the power of the sun.If I don’t take precautions e.g hat water shade I could end up collapsing in the street like last year and spending the day in hospital.So while the sun reboots me I have to respect it.Everything looks brighter,the sea bluer,the sky so many shades of blue and the days longer.To me it’s like a carnival,and while I enjoy a good carnival I know it is only for a short time.Seasons bring out the best and worse of me but it’s what keeps the world turning.Keep it simple.

    • 1.1

      I have never collapsed due to heat, but I did suffer a bout of heat exhaustion once–took weeks to recover. I learned my lesson. I hope this summer continues to be pleasant for you Brenda–don’t overdo!

  2. 2
    Susan Gorman says:

    June is my busy month. My dog clubs Specialty show takes place in June & work tends to ramp up as well.
    I enjoy my work at the show – but realized I was doing was too much & not enjoying it. I stepped down from Ways and Means ( ordering/selling club merchandise)- just knowing that I won’t have to lift 6 or 7 empty boxes is a huge relief.

    We are having a heat wave here in Massachusetts. I have had to drive to 2 meetings this month. Both trips have been about 3 hours each way. I bought 2 of Marie Forces Green Mt audios & loved listening to the stories which take place in Vermont in the Winter with the A/c blasting Mmm shoveling or heat… which is better!

    Enjoying quiet time with the corgis on the back deck before it gets to hot. The sisters like their special time & it’s peaceful. The corgis do not like the heat.

    I have extra water, ice tea and lemonade in the fridge this time of year as well. I think keeping hydrated is key to dealing with the heat.

    Take care- yesterday’s audio was the Heir. I left Anna and Westhaven @ Willowbend.

    • 2.1

      I feel so sorry for the four-legged friends in weather like this. Those hair coats protect from sunburn, but they also trap heat. The horses actually start growing winter coats as soon as we pass the solstice, so on the muggy days of August and September, they can also be dealing with some fuzzy hair coat. Not fun.
      When I managed horse shows, the sheer schlepping of Stuff was half the battle. You spend the whole set-up day wrangling boxes and equipment, and by the time the competitors start showing up, you’re already exhausted. Good on ya for cutting back!

  3. 3
    Teenie Marie says:

    Yes, yes, yes and yes to all of your questions! 🙂 Weather, here in the Midwest, stops and forces us to say *yep, Mother Nature’s in charge*. We’ve had 2 HOT days in a row–sauna heat and humidity, hot enough to buckle pavement–but today is pleasant and I am grateful. During January, 20 below zero will stop you in your tracks, with no redemption to be had for days!

    I rarely am sick, other than allergies, but know enough when to take to bed and it’s always all hands on deck for Family Issues.

    My life has a rhythm–intense busyness for three months,then not as busy, then repeat. During those down times, I do stuff for the house or edit my columns or re-lax for a spell (really all three). The vacation from the busyness helps me cope when it’s busy again. I have two down times–summer until late August and just after Thanksgiving until the beginning of March–and it works wonderfully. Those times I’m busy, I’M REALLY BUSY so having a built in break is needed.

    Stopping to *smell the roses*–or dahlias and gladiolus–can’t help but be good for us!

    • 3.1

      I like that schedule, kinda like planting and harvest. You always have stuff to do, but then the compression phases come around, and it’s non-stop. Maryland gets the stinkin’ heat, but our winters are nothing like yours. Thanks heavens!

  4. 4
    Sue says:

    I used to stop my excessive business when so exhausted sleep was not optional. I learned to take naps with a timer in order to make it through a full day. That is how I managed to single parent my now grown children. Sadly, that is one of the main things my children remember. Getting home at the end of a long day and me passing out on the couch for 20 minutes before dinner.

    I work in the public school system. This summer I did… nothing. No pick-up work, no continuing education, just wandering through my days, trying to take good care of my 2 half grown puppies and 1 really rotten cat (I’m not kidding). I have been sort of oddly observing myself and my pace (or lack of it). I have accomplished some yucky stuff that needed doing without anxiety, for the first time ever. I am going to try to retire at the end of this school year and see where lack of external demands takes me… and the dogs… and the rotten kittie.

    • 4.1

      Something tells me that rotten kitty deserves a YouTube channel. I wonder how this year will be different for you, as you go through the last first day of school, the last fall report cards, and so on. Will seeing the whole thing with “good-bye eyes” be sweet, sad, a relief?
      I do not miss the courtroom, but adjusting to how expendable I was took a while. The juggernaut rolls on just fine without me, or not just fine. It’s no longer my business, and nobody’s asking my opinion.
      Here’s hoping your last year is wonderful, a fine note to end on.

  5. 5
    Glenda M says:

    The summer heat does keep me from overdoing it outdoors. I know I will not be able to function if I try to do too much. I’ll end up with a migraine – another thing that will put me in my bed for a few hours at the minimum. Migraines are only one way my body makes me slow down. I’ve got a couple of bulging discs and arthritis in my neck. This slows me down for sure while it also encourages me to keep moving so I don’t stiffen up too much. I’ll be taking 2 days off this week so I can get a steroid shot in my spine to help control the pain. I’m not looking forward to it, but I do know I will not be overdoing it those days.

    • 5.1

      Migraines have put many a stout-hearted person out of action, over and over. I got hyper-vigilant about the triggers, which were numerous: Heat, dehydration, stress, lack of sleep, hunger, allergies, hormones… I was really good at attracting migraines. Advancing age, or more self-care, seems to have kicked them to the curb for now. I “outgrew” them… in my fifties.

      • 5.1.1
        Glenda M says:

        I keep hoping I’ll “outgrow” my migraines. Your triggers – Heat, dehydration, stress, lack of sleep, hunger, allergies, hormones – pretty much mirror mine. I’m more likely to have a migraine when I’ve got more than one trigger active. I am incredibly happy that the only food type triggers I have is anything containing artificial sweeteners and added sulfites like wine. Those are pretty easy to avoid.

  6. 6
    Marianne says:

    I learned young to think about what I was doing in terms of physical consequences. Please, don’t play with the kittens, keep Marianne inside the days after the grass is mowed… Alfalfa is kryptonite and that’s a summer thing. Like others I don’t deal with heat well. The list gets longer as I grow older. I don’t think anyone has ever suggested I might have overdone something or been too busy, however.

    I really don’t care for evening obligations and am always happy when something to which I’ve committed in the evening is cancelled. It’s sort of like found time.

    • 6.1

      You might be an introvert if…
      I avoid driving anywhere unfamiliar at night any more. I can see fairly well, but I’m not as quick to process what I see. If it’s not imperative that I be out and about, I’m happy to stay home.
      And yeah, that mowing the grass thing. Who started that? Why can’t we all just get some sheep?

  7. 7
    Lou Anne says:

    This is not a comment in response to your questions, but is purely a “Thank You!” I felt the tension release as I read your descriptions of the summer night and the winter “cozies.” Thank you so much for sharing.