Playing It Cool

As a kid, I used to love summers. All that freedom, all that wandering in the woods, all that time (when I became a teenager) with my horse, all that reading… Where I grew up in central PA, very few people had air conditioning, and we really didn’t need it. We slept with all the windows open, hearing the crickets and birdies sing, the owls hoot, and the chickens crow…

That was fifty years and two climate zones ago. The freedom from structure that gave summer its sparkly halo is now mine fairly consistently (sweet!). But friends and neighbors, I have had it to the gills with 95F days and high humidity. I do use a window unit air conditioner in my bedroom at night, but other than that, I deal with the weather “organically.” Outdoor activities mostly in the early morning or after dinner. Light clothes and few of them, frequent showers, buckets of cold de-caf iced tea, fans, lights off, and a firm faith that fall will come again.

Riding the noble steed in the heat is hellish, and cooling him out takes a lot longer than the ride itself. Don’t get me started on the flies, skeetos, wasps, ticks, and all my other little buzzing, crawling, flying neighbors and house guests.

My house runs on renewable energy, but I make myself deal with the summer weather by day because I want to be a good global citizen, and other people have much worse climate-related burdens than I do. (Though when you learn that the top earning 5% pf us are creating more than a third of our carbon footprint… kinda frustrating.)

When I woke up yesterday, the thermometer read 55F and I about started doing nip-ups. I’d slept better because it was cool enough to leave the roaring AC unit off. Instead, I could open the windows and hear the cows across the lane munching the tall grass and making happy bovine noises. I’d kept the whole house open to the merry breezes, so when I went downstairs to start morning chores, the air was wonderful.

My daily cup of jasmine green tea was extra delightful because of the cooler air. I could cover up more of me with comfy clothes and for whatever reason, I’m happier that way. The shower is not a mental health coping mechanism saved for right before bed. I can once again contemplate yard work without dread, and–be still my thumpin’ heart–the thirty-day forecast suggests the worst is behind us for the year.

I hadn’t realized how much the crummy weather was stealing my joy and energy. Since the heat broke, I’ve had back to back good writing days, I’m getting Ideas about scrubbing out the fridge, and I want to hire a landscape crew to get after some projects around the property.

It’s like I’m no longer stuck battery-saver mode, just because the temperate dropped out of the 90s. I thought I was doing pretty well dealing with the heat this summer, but now that more reasonable weather is here, I can see the I was losing altitude despite best intentions.

When did you last find yourself in battery-saver mode? What bumps you out of it? I will put two commenters on the ARC list for Yuletide Gems.

PS New cover and lower e-book price for Tremaine’s True Love!



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11 comments on “Playing It Cool

  1. I get burned out when the days are too short and dark. I feel under a cloud when it’s dark by 6 p.m. and so the last time I was feeling bad was in the winter. Even though I don’t go outside much, I need to see and know that the day is bright. I want my blinds open during the summer but it’s too hot here so I have to keep them closed during most of the day. I do insist, however, on having the blinds over the computer open if I’m sitting here, even if it’s 95 degrees out and I’m technically letting the heat in. The light is more important.
    (P.S. I much preferred Jon Paul’s artwork on the original cover for “Tremaine’s True Love.” In fact, if it wasn’t for Jon Paul’s art on “The Traitor,” I might not have picked up my first Grace Burrowes book. And because of your writing, I would have missed a lot in that case. I know I’m in the minority–and maybe it’s a minority of one–but I think the new cover is too much like everybody else’s and does not attract my eye at all. But I’m also a firm believer in “different strokes for different folks.”)

  2. The heatwave broke on Thursday. It is so nice to be able to sit outside comfortably with the dogs. We’ve been fascinated by the hummingbirds visiting our backyard feeder, the cardinal and robins are back and the bunnies have returned . The yard was empty and too quiet during the 100+ days.

    The 100+ days impact my routine- it’s too hot to walk, no dog classes as the building is not a/c, no baking, and It’s too hot to do much of anything.

    I can’t wait for Fall — am tempted to put out my fall pillows and throws in the living room? I think the corgis will approve.

  3. Covid restrictions restructured life as I knew it. I haven’t totally bumped out of it yet. Keeping a log of Covid-related memes helped. A lot of them are already incomprehensible. I forget that fast.

    I have serious pollen-related allergies, react badly to bug bites, etc., hate the heat… Waiting for hard frost!

    Currently “glamping” (trailer with power) in tall cedars. There is a mosquito warning sign on the trail to the beach, so we drove down. 🙂 and did our walking at the lake.

    I liked the old cover better, too, but as I never remember covers anyway… too many of my childhood favorites had been rebound.

  4. I admire you for not using your air conditioner but it is not something I will ever do, as long as it works and the electricity is not down. Your weather sounds like ours in Montgomery, AL. I take my hat off to you. I am sure that when you factor in the humidity, it feels much hotter than the actual temperature.

  5. I really hate that covers change – most of the time I prefer the older ones, but I suppose there are copyright reasons for that.

  6. What puts me into battery saver mode is the dark days of winter. Waking up and seeing that it’s still pitch black outside when my body (and my alarm clock!) is telling me to get a start on the day makes me want to curl up and stay under the covers. Early nightfall also precludes many fun activities as we are of an age when driving in the dark is more of a hazard, especially with the wildlife that surrounds us. So from November on thru at least March, I just grit my teeth and try to take solace in planning for the Thanksgiving and Christmas holidays, but each year I feel it takes a larger toll on my mental health. When the brief but glorious summer arrives here in the northeast, my energy level rebounds and recharges my battery for the long slog of winter ahead. Stay safe. Stay well everyone!

  7. Mmmm, yes, the mornings are not quite as grotesque as usual, as the heat and humidity have decreased a little bit. This means my runs are a little bit better- a little faster split times and I am not as wiped out afterwards. I despise working out in the summer heat!!

  8. Summer. Definitely. I welcome the return of baking and soups in fall! Winter sun is down around 4 here, but I find the 90’s and humid with sun down after nine exhausting. Maybe because reading on a winter evening is perfect, I prefer it.

  9. I am totally with you on the heat Grace. In my part of Texas this year we were in the upper 90s just about every day by the beginning of June. We don’t have the luxury of significantly cooler temps over night either. When it is that hot, I physically can’t be active outside without getting a migraine and being totally exhausted. Once the end of September rolls around we can look forward to cooler temperatures and I can think about going out. On top of that, I’ve got a pinched nerve another other ‘my body hates me’ issues that already made me have to adjust my ‘battery’ usage. It could be worse though

  10. Dear Grace, just as the weather becomes cooler, and I begin to get the energy to dig up overgrown perennials to be given to neighbors, I realize without water the soil is like a hard rock, & digging is next to impossible regardless of cool temps. SO I sit reading a good book (doesn’t really take that much persuasion or guilt)and tell myself, we have a drought in Southeast PA (Royersford), and if I get dirty digging, then I will need a 2nd shower and will be wasting water. Since our sewer company has asked for a 100% increase in sewer rates and the PUC (public authority that regulates rates) made a GRAND (I say sarcastically)point to send a letter saying they denied that request and required them to reduce the increase to half of what they wanted, LOL, now it is 50%. (Also ridiculous). They all think we are stupid. Anyway, I vent because the sewer bill is based on water use, so I must only take one shower for water preservation and now financial perservation. So its a good thing I continue to sit and read, even if I do it with more energy. Please fell free to brighten my day, I promise to read the ARC with energy and enthusiasm!

  11. I grew up a mile from the Pacific Ocean where humidity is not an issue even if heat is. I hate the humidity. I now live in the middle of this hug continent and summer heat is not my friend. I cover the windows during the day, plants are outside, foot baths are a regular while I’m reading. I have fans. I do run my air-conditioning over night while the power is cheaper. I have set up a living space in my basement for the really bad temperatures but the lack of natural light gets to me even with full-spectrum lighting. I couldn’t live where you live. The bugs would get to me.