I stepped from Plank to Plank
A slow and cautious way
The Stars about my Head I felt
About my feet the Sea.

I knew not but the next
Would be my final inch -
This gave me that precarious Gait
Some call Experience.

Emily Dickinson, c. 1864

Sunday, June 30, 2013

Pacific Northwest is hot, too

From lower-than-normal temperatures for weeks now to hotter-than-normal is what's happening right here in my area of the country. I've been reading about all the hot weather across the country. Pretty normal for summer (maybe hotter than usual), but we don't usually get any really warm weather around here until after the 4th of July. In the past, I've had to wear a sweater and carry a raincoat at this time of the year. But not now. It's getting pretty darn hot. Yesterday Bellingham reached 80 deg F. That may not seem warm to some of my readers, but trust me: we really feel it, not being used to warm humid air.

I spent the day yesterday at Snohomish, making four skydives and having a really good time with my friends. But as I was packing up my parachute after each jump, drops of sweat fell from my forehead onto the container. The dew point is also higher than usual, meaning that the humidity is high. After the fourth jump, I decided to bring it home unpacked and asked Smart Guy to pack it for me. He agreed, but it's just a pile of nylon sitting in the living room right now.

And it's just going to get hotter for the next few days. I read that several places in northern California broke temperature records yesterday. We don't have air conditioning in most of our homes here, because there are so few days when we really need it. We had the fan going all night, and that will probably be the situation for the next week or so. The only good part is that my garden will be happy, as long as I keep it watered (which I will).

I remember the second summer we were here, there was another heat wave. It got really really hot, and I was acclimatized after over a year when we didn't experience anything over 80 degrees. We broke lots of records here in the Pacific Northwest in late July 2009. We are not likely to break too many this time, since it's supposed to be short-lived and much worse on the east side of the Cascades. But that doesn't mean we won't complain mightily. Today I'll spend some time in a movie theater with my friend Judy, where it'll be cool and comfortable.

I am not looking forward to the upcoming holiday. I don't know what it is about fireworks that attracts so many people to set them off for days. Although the Fourth isn't until Thursday, I suspect that we will have to endure nights of hot weather along with bursts of rocket fire. With the windows open, the sounds are even worse. Plus the buses won't be running, and the Y will be closed for the holiday. In retirement, the holidays are my least favorite times. My entire routine is disrupted. When I was working, I appreciated having the time off to enjoy myself, but now it's just the opposite. I'll get my bike off the front porch and go for a spin, maybe take a bit longer ride than usual, find some new bike routes. Just got to get a little creative.

Well, I just read over what I've written so far and realize I sound really grumpy! I guess I am a little, since I didn't sleep well last night, tossing and turning and never cooling off sufficiently. I just looked to see what the temperature was yesterday in Boulder, my old home town, and it was 91. I would have been grumpy there, too. Is it getting hotter everywhere, or is it just my imagination? Many of my blogging friends have been complaining about hotter-than-usual weather lately, with plenty of damaging storms. I should count my blessings instead of concentrating on the downside of my current situation, don't you think? I could be living in Texas, where most of my family lives, sweltering in really hot conditions.

Is it part of the human condition that I compare my life to others to make myself feel better? There is a woman that I see on the bus every now and then who is in a wheelchair and must be paralyzed from the neck down. She uses one of those mouth controls that gives her amazing agility. I watch her drive her chair up the bus ramp and turn 180 degrees and back into the space where the bus driver then straps her chair in. I just looked up the way it's controlled, and it's called a "sip-and-puff" system. Inhaling and exhaling to control the movement. She also has another person with her at all times, but he doesn't seem to do anything to assist her and seems to be there just in case. As I've thought many times, there but for the grace of God...

I hope if I am ever disabled that I will get out and enjoy life to the best of my ability. I've had my share of accidents and have screws and pins that are permanent parts of my body, but it works just fine, with only a twinge of discomfort now and then. Heck, most people when they get to seventy have aches and pains, so I will concentrate on the good parts. I feel gratitude for being ambulatory and still able to jump out of airplanes just for the fun of it.

Well, now that I've given myself that attitude adjustment, finished my morning tea and am now looking forward to the day, it's almost time to get out of bed, dress, and water the garden before it gets hot. I hope wherever you are today, you will take care of yourself and look for the blessings that may be hiding in unexpected places.


Linda Reeder said...

I'm reading your post "hot off the press" this morning, as I woke up much too early and decided to get up rather than toss and turn. Where you are an early riser, I am not. I didn't turn off my reading lamp until 12:20 last night.
It seems we do a lot of complaining about the weather here. It's usually to cold or too wet or too gray, but it doesn't take much of a temperature rise before we are "too hot", myself included. We have a rule here at our house, that when it hits 80, we stop all work and play resort. After working on hedge pruning until 1:00 yesterday, we did a lot of sitting and reading in the afternoon. Our downstairs stays pretty cool, but we use fans and cross ventilation to cool the upstairs bedrooms for sleeping. It works pretty well because it usually cools down at night. We have air conditioning along with our heat pump, but it hardly ever gets hot enough downstairs for it to come on when it is set at 75, and it doesn't work very well upstairs. You would have to set the downstairs to 55 for it to cool the upstairs.
I remember that heat wave in 2009. we were at the Whidbey cabin, and we just couldn't find a cool place anywhere, and finally gave up and came home, where we have trees and green grass and a cooler house. As it works out, we are headed to Whidbey in the morning for an overnight, to work in the yard there. We'll have to do the work in the cool of the morning, and if it really hits 90 it will be too hot to walk on the beach or the dike or the road. We may have to go into Langley for iced coffee. Too bad.
I know what you mean about holidays, but it helps to have family nearby to celebrate with. I hope you find some fun for your Fourth.

Far Side of Fifty said...

It is warm here too and humid..not too hot yet. We have had the AC on a couple of nights..I cannot sleep if I am too hot and since I cannot nap the day away the AC comes on.
I get cranky when it is hot too...there is no AC at the museum.
The fireworks started here last night, people on the lake..Chance hides in the bathroom.
I will enjoy the Holiday because it is a day off:)

Anonymous said...

You really have nothing to complain about, DJan. Believe me, there are people who are worse off, and they even blog about it.

Jackie said...

I think I've been with your blog long enough to say with assurance, that if you are ever disabled, you would slow up very little. I imagine that you would amaze and astound those who didn't know you before...while those of us who follow you or know you wouldn't be surprised at all to see that you would make the very best of any disability...and you would be encouraging others along the way. Just my thought about that.
Regarding temperature...Yes, it is unusually hot. I think we all share that sentiment. The humidity here (South Georgia) would be something that would drive those from the north out of this region. Breathing hot wet air constantly is something I'm accustomed to...but that doesn't make it pleasant. Thank goodness for air conditioning.

Buz said...

I wouldn't say that we are "sweltering in really hot conditions." For one thing, it's not even very hot yet (by Texas standards), and even if it was, all of the homes and buildings and vehicles are air-conditioned. And there are swimming pools and lakes and water parks out the gazoo.

Rian said...

Yes, it is HOT here in Texas already, 96 yesterday and 106 in Bulverde (down by San Antonio). But it's a tiny bit cooler here today (Dallas) and thanks to some rain a lot cooler around Bulverde (according to my daughter).But it's strange... I see people out jogging between 1 and 3 and wonder why they're not worried about heat stroke...??

Nancy/BLissed-Out Grandma said...

As we like to say in Minnesota, "It's not the heat, it's the humidity." (Clever, aren't we?) We just had a week of really high dew points, and now we are enjoying near-perfect weather, around 80 degrees with low humidity, and cool breezes at night. I love reading your attitude adjustments as they take place, right there onscreen. You never let yourself be grumpy for long!

amanda said...

We don't have air conditioning either, for similar reasons. There are really only a small handful of days in a year when we might use it if we did.
But OH - those days! We had a few of them this past week, still & sticky nights with no breeze. We sleep with the fan on, I toss & turn & I think it makes me grumpy, too. I like the crisp night air coming in the window.
I was so relieved when I read that you don't look forward to the 4th of July week.. I'm not alone! I really DON'T look forward to it. I think it's my least favorite day of the year. And I don't mean that in any un-patriotic way at all.. I just find it to be hot, noisy, often smutty (we find our nearby town's celebrations to not be very family friendly).. too much traffic from city people swarming our direction. I can't wait until it's over. And I don't even care if I sound grumpy!! :)
We lay low, try to do our own thing.. last year when all of local civilization was in the busy town on the busy lake for fireworks, street dances, and more, we cashed in on the situation by heading to our favorite undeveloped lake.. sure enough - NOT A SOUL THERE! It was nice.
Stay cool, and stay smiling, DJan! :)

Gigi said...

This made me smile for a few reasons. One, the way you turned your attitude right around - love that about you. And your comment about how you could be living in Texas! This is what I always remind myself when I find myself complaining about the heat. Although - here and in Texas I've always had a/c - couldn't live without it. Or, more accurately, I probably could - but those nearest and dearest to me couldn't bear to live with me anymore! ;-)

Red said...

I really don't like the heat ,but I'll try not to belly ache about it. I'm lucky that I'm one who sees the glass half full and i have rose colored glasses. We are fortunate.

Rita said...

I'm glad I have my wall AC unit. It may have been warm this last week and we had storms, but the storms were usually later at night or during the night and, therefore, we had a lot of sunshine for most of the days. I always heard the adults in my family say--"Could be worse." And I have always found that to be true--LOL! So always glad things are as good as they are. Have a wonderful week and I hope you can sleep if it's warm at night. :)

Trish and Rob MacGregor said...

Welcome to my summer world, 90 plus degrees and humidity to boot. But w are graced every afternoon by intense summer rains that cool things down and the plants and garden love it.

Linda Starr said...

Skydiving, you are braver than me, omg not in a million years. it's been cool here and we're getting more rain.

Dee said...

Dear DJan, one of the "blessings hidden in an unexpected place" for me today was the fortune cookie box. The cookie I opened said 'Your health is your fortune." In my youth I just took good health for granted, but now that I've experienced months and months of being not-so-healthy, I am aware of what a wonderful gift good health is. And I really am feeling so well. When I read Rita's posting I always find myself so admiring her attitude toward physical ills. And yes, I compare and find myself being so grateful for the health I find myself in right now. Life is good. Peace.

Tamara said...

If it makes you feel better, I just read that the record for Death Valley, 136 degrees, has held for over 100 years. This recent weekend temps only got up to 129 there, so no, it doesn't appear that things are getting hotter . . . not quite yet anyway!

Mel said...

I hope it has cooled down for you. I grumble about fireworks too. I don't mind a professional show, but the cheap ones have been booming away in the neighborhood all week scaring the dog and making me edgy.

I play the relativity game all the time, it helps me to be more grateful when I'm not feeling as grateful as I should.

I hope you find some fun on your fourth too. We have been invited to a pool party barbecue, and it's been a long time since we socialized on the fourth. I need to brush off my social skills a little and squish into my swimsuit!

Hope you have a lovely week.