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 27, 2021

Coping with the heat wave

Front porch flowers

My front porch flowers don't get full sun all day long, just until around noon each day at this time of the year. Under the ray of sun in the middle of the picture to the right of the beam, you can see a teeny little bit of Mt. Baker, but for me it is the beautiful flower colors that give me so much pleasure. I tend these flowers a little bit each day, and talk to them about how much I appreciate them.

We are in the midst of an unprecedented heat wave here in the Pacific Northwest. A huge dome of high pressure is bringing us heat like we've not experienced since records have been taken here in Whatcom County. And it's not over yet. It made it all the way to 95°F here yesterday, and tomorrow is supposed to reach 100°F. It has never before been this hot in Bellingham, at any time of the year. We are just a quarter mile or so from the bay, so we tend to get cooling temperatures from the water, but not today. Or tomorrow. Until this heat wave breaks, there is no respite from the heat unless you have air conditioning, which we do not.

It usually falls in the evening and during the night to the fifties or low sixties, but last night's low temperature was 69, and tonight it will be a few degrees warmer than that, since nothing is having a chance to cool down before the sun bakes us even more. Fortunately this should pass by midweek, even though we will still be more than 20 degrees warmer than normal. I sure didn't sleep well last night, as the temperature in our apartment only fell to 81°F, even with all the fans going. And it's not even July! We laugh about the fact that our summer doesn't usually start until after July 4th, but this year, we have two months ahead of possible heat waves like this to endure.

I know it doesn't seem all that hot to many of you, but remember we don't quite know how to cope with extreme heat in these parts. Hardly anybody has a/c around here. Bellingham is opening cooling centers, and I'll bet the mall will be crowded with people trying to cool off inside. I might even be one of them. Certainly there will be no hikes and outdoor activities of any sort. Yesterday we walked in mostly shaded trees on the Interurban trail, but it was still hotter than I felt comfortable exercising in. I have to remind myself that I am one of those elderly people who just doesn't do well in the heat.

In other news, looking for some lighter fare to raise my spirits, I ordered myself a new Paperwhite Kindle during last week's Amazon prime day sale. Up to now, I've been using my Kindle Fire for reading books online, but I decided to pitch it out and go to a reader that is used for one thing: books. So far, I like it very much. I am actually quite surprised at how long the battery lasts, as I've been using it for hours every day and it's only lost 10% of its battery life. They advertise that you only need to charge it once a week, and it seems to be at least that good. 

I'm reading a new book by an author I've enjoyed for years: Lisa Genova. Her newest book is Every Note Played, a story about a pianist who develops ALS. All of her books cover something like this, since her debut novel Still Alice, which she self-published in 2009. It became a bestseller about a professor who got early-onset Alzheimer's, and she's written many other books since then. I'm enjoying this one as I get accustomed to my new Paperwhite. ALS is a terrible disease; I've known one person who died of it. It's also called Lou Gehrig's Disease, since that what he died of. I've already learned many new facts about the disease, and I'm not even halfway done with the story. If it follows the path of her other books, I'll be sniffling, maybe even crying, before it's all done. But it will hopefully be a good cry.

Everything seems a little off today, since SG is already up out of bed, and we couldn't sleep as long as usual because of the heat. The sun has just come up, and instead of looking forward to the brilliant sunshine, I'm cowering in fear of what the day will bring us. I'll definitely head to the coffee shop as usual, but I'll be drinking iced coffee instead of my usual latte. And I do have to admit that my mind is not working as efficiently as I'm accustomed to, as I keep getting distracted by the warm temperature. I'm doing everything I can to stay hydrated, and even forcing myself to eat, since I have little appetite when it gets so hot. A smoothie would be nice.

I will need to go out to the garden today to water my plot, and to help myself to the quickly ripening raspberries. If I wear a big sun hat and lots of light clothing, I'll be fine for awhile anyway. And I can always get in my car and drive somewhere with the a/c blasting if I just can't stand it any longer. I don't think Bellingham has ever experienced triple digit heat before; I know I am not alone in my suffering.

Just sitting here tapping on the keys has caused me to start sweating. It's already getting hot, and it's not even 6:00am yet. This just seems incongruous: it will be hotter here than in Florida today! And I can't seem to think of much else to talk about, unless I want to talk about what's on the news. Nope, I'll skip that. That is only likely to make me feel worse. I'd like to think of positive stuff to fill my mind with, rather than doom and gloom. Somewhere inside my head there's a safe place that will make me feel better, I just know there is. What do you do when you want to feel better about things? 

I think it's okay (I give myself permission) to cut this post a little short, since I do need to get up and get moving while the weather is still decent. I don't have any tea to finish, no sweet partner next to me (he's already up), and no words of comfort to offer to my readers, other than what I keep telling myself: this too shall pass.

Dear friends, I hope when we talk again next week that things will be looking up. It's inevitable! Until then, I hope you will give your loved ones a big hug and remind them that life is good. And in the immortal words of Yogi Berra, I leave you with this:
It ain't the heat, it's the humility. —Yogi Berra


Rian said...

DJan, I really hope your heat wave is short. It is hard to imagine not having AC... even though we didn't have it in N.O. when I was growing up (and we survived somehow). But I would recommend going to the mall if it gets too hot. That's what is worrying me about this summer and the problems with our Texas grid. It's more than likely going to fail in the upcoming heat (we get triple digits every summer) as it did with the Arctic freeze. Nothing has been done as far as I know... just talk.
Your kindle paperwhite kindle sounds great. I use my iPhone to read kindle books at bedtime. And recently I ordered a essential oil diffuser which mists out lavender spray to use at night. So far I like it. Well, stay safe and out of the heat!

Boud said...

So sorry for your unexpected heat. Ours is normally in that range about now, with one big difference: most people have home air conditioning. That makes such a difference. Do take it easy. Heat is very tiring.

Anvilcloud said...

That is very hot indeed. On top of that you're not equipped. That's not good. It seems to go to reasonable temperatures at night, but in your case in doesn't seem to be cooling the inside. I hope you manage through the next few days.

Elephant's Child said...

I have been watching your temperatures (and those of some of my other blogging friends) in horror. My heart goes out to you.
I hope that the heat breaks soon.

Linda Reeder said...

Well, yes, the heat! We reached 102 yesterday. When we arrived home from the island the house felt good at 75. We had set the AC to be on as the heat arrived. Tom went out to rescue some plants that were stressed. But the in the evening the AC developed problems, and is now struggling to maintain 78, which is better than nothing. we have a service man coming tomorrow but tonight will be too warm for good sleeping again.
We went grocery shopping this morning and were in no hurry to leave the air conditioned store. It was 90 when we left at 10:00!Since then it has been heating up slowly, 93 now just before noon. We can only hope that the forecast or 105 today, 110 tomorrow, is wrong.
Even so, we are fortunate to be comfortable enough. Hopefully the AC keeps plugging away.

Gigi said...

Heat like that is debilitating no matter what - and dealing with it sans AC is awful. I do hope it breaks for you soon.

Arkansas Patti said...

I have been thinking about you and this dreadful heat wave hitting your area. I know most of you don't have A/C, besides your bodies aren't acclimated to such extremes. The only way I got through one summer in Florida without A/C was at night to turn a large fan directly on me all night. It did help. If you can, you and SG need your own fans. Don't hesitate using the A/C's in businesses or like you said, the car. Hope the coffee shop has A/C. Also, I have two 02 Cool misting water bottles full with fresh batteries in case the power goes out here. They really help.
So hope this heat wave is shorter lived than the weather men say.
Stay safe and as cool as possible.

Betsy said...

As you know we just moved from Spokane to Nebraska a month or so ago. Our friends in Spokane are expecting 112F this week and many, many of them also do not have AC. Record breaking temperatures indeed. We're having difficulty adjusting to the high humidity and I find myself just staying indoor unless I'm walking next door to my MIL's house or I'm in the car. We've had a few 102-104 days here in the past couple of weeks, coupled with the humidity and I'm done with it.
Take care of yourself. You know the drill. Lots of water, lots of shade, lots of rest.
I'll be praying for all of my friends in the PNW.

Red said...

I'm with you. Heat really messes up my routine .It's interesting that you had to put in another ending toddy as Smart Guy was already up. Keep col. We have the same intense heat.

John's Island said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
William Kendall said...

We're used to hot, humid summers- today is like that- but it is a weather type I dislike.

Far Side of Fifty said...

I heard about the heat dome. It doesn't sound like any fun at all. Try wetting a cotton scarf and put it around your neck...or wet your shirt...evaporation helps cool you off. Hope that your normal weather comes back soon. :)

Marie Smith said...

Yogi is always good for a chuckle. So appropriate for today!

The humidity is the worst. Traditionally we get about two weeks of it every summer. It started early this year…we had two days so far. It’s headed this way again and we aren’t prepared for much of it. Like you, many here don’t have air conditioners. It may be a miserable summer.

Stay cool!

Glenda Beall said...

The first thing I thought when I saw this heatwave in your area was I hope DJan has AC. I can't take the heat at all now although I grew up in south Georgia USA where it gets very hot and humid all summer. We did not have AC when I was a child, but I can't live without it now.
Be careful and take good care of you and SG until this weather breaks.

Veronica Lee said...

It's always hot and humid all year round in my corner of the world. I am cool (don't mind the pun!) with this type of weather though.

Rita said...

We hit 100+ a bit ago in Fargo. Yes, highly unusual to have it be this hot this early in the year. I don't know how you will handle it without AC. Hang in there.

ApacheDug said...

DJan, I've been thinking of you (and Margaret, another blogger from your part of Washington) since news of this heat wave hitting you both first broke. I was surprised to hear that most people in your part of the country don't have AC, I guess cooler temps there really are the norm. (I recently read that most citizens in the UK also have no ac, they don't even have screens in their windows--can't imagine.) Anyway, I sure hope you & SG are doing your best to stay cool, this isn't anything to be taken lightly. I wonder how long this will last for you guys? I am sending good thoughts your way, cooler ones too. PS. That book sounds good.

Buz said...

Regarding the news, there's a quote from Ivan Nuru, "If it's out of your hands, it deserves freedom from your mind too." I might actually flip that around: Instead of "it deserves freedom from your mind," you could say "your mind deserves freedom from it" (i.e., whatever it is that's out of your hands).

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