How do you keep cool during the dog days of summer?
When I asked this question to the hound and other foxes, I figured most of us would be huddled in our air-conditioned homes right about now. Or going to the beach. I remember sweating through August, going outdoors only in the early morning or after dusk, unless I actually needed to be somewhere. But our weather forecast for this week is for relatively mild temperatures, with today being the hottest – at a predicted high of 82 degrees farenheit.
In Michigan, we are never more than six miles from a body of water, and never more than 85 miles from one of the Great Lakes. The water keeps things pretty temperate. And living in the northern part of the contiguous 48 states, we don’t often get the 100-plus temps the weatherman tells us about. But we used to hit 90 degrees regularly and once every few years it would hit 100 in the summer, and to us that was unbearable. But it seems we’re not getting the heat like we used to. In fact, two weeks ago we had one 90-degree day – our first in over two years!
Looking at the extended forecast, it appears the mild weather trend is going to continue. Between now and September 10, high temps will range between 75 and 82. After September 10 we’ll be lucky to hit 70. Our in-ground pool has had one brave swimmer in it since we opened it the week after Memorial Day. Since I like to swim in water that’s nice and warm (like bath water), I probably won’t try it.
So…no dog days here, other than that one day in July when it reached 90 for a few seconds. I guess I’ll have to resort to a “back in the good old days” kind of post.
Back when I was small, my brothers and I would keep cool by running through the sprinklers my dad had set out in the yard. We also had the plastic blow-up wading pools. I remember picnic meals in our back yard under the big maple tree, drinking lots of Kool-Ade and lemonade, and eating popsicles. The ice cream truck would drive through the neighborhood several times a week and we’d usually beg Dad for a couple of dollars to buy a treat.
Later on, I would walk up to the high school (four blocks away) to go swimming. My high school had both an outdoor and indoor pool – we took lessons in the indoor pool and had fun at the outdoor one. There was always a lifeguard on duty, and we looked out for each other, since Mom couldn’t swim. A lot of our friends went to the beach – we’re only twenty-five minutes from Lake Michigan – but my family didn’t do that, so we took advantage of the school facilities.
I went to college way down south in central Illinois. I only spent one full summer there, and it was hot enough to send me back north. My roommate and I kept cool by drinking LOTS of iced tea. Once in a while when it got really hot (for me) I’d take a nap during the hottest part of the day and then get up to do most of my studying at night when it was cool enough to concentrate.
The kids came along and we installed an in-ground pool. The girls both became great swimmers and we put a nice three-season porch on the back of the house so I could watch them from the comfort of the shade. We often get a nice breeze blowing through, so unless it’s really sunny, the porch is a comfortable place to sit. The kids often invited their friends over, and we considered ourselves lucky that we always knew where our kids were.
Nowadays, since both hubby and I are retired, we don’t have to be anywhere during the day. We have central air, and can keep the house as cool as we like. If I was in charge of the controls it probably wouldn’t run so much. But hubby likes it a lot cooler than me, so I normally have to wear long pants and a sweater when I stay home. So my dilemma this summer was not how to keep cool, but rather how to keep warm!
How hot does it get in your neck of the woods? And how do you stay comfortable?