Thursday, July 30, 2009

Our 2 days in triple digit heat

1. We took Mommy/my dear wife to the airport. Though I don't like to drive around for its own sake, the air conditioning in our vehicle is an alluring intoxicant.

2. On the way home we stopped at the mall to get some physical play for the girls on a mall playground. I also don't like going to the mall for its own sake; shopping as an avocation puzzles me on many levels, a new level created after watching TLC's Clean Sweep a few times.

3. We laid low for the afternoon, trying to move as little as possible. I set up a fan triangle of sort on the downstairs level of our townhouse as a marginal oasis. We don't have a thermostat in the house but I'm guessing the temperature inside was somewhere in the 90's. I didn't want to leave because I'm concerned about our geriatric chocolate lab of fragile health. He's never been in this kind of heat. I didn't want to leave for more that 2 hours or so.

4. I hit a wall in heat toleration around 6pm. Though I don't like to take the girls to our pool alone, I thought we needed to get in the pool to cool off. Getting a 6 and 2 year old ready for the pool is a project. My dear wife usually handles hair and general corralling. We finally walked up to the pool at 7pm, only to discover our pool was closed. This was absolute cruelty. I thought we still had some time to travel to a spray park about 30 minutes away before it shut down for the evening. The girls love this place, and we arrived just minutes after it shut down. The girls were crestfallen, and I was getting a bit crazy. All was made better with the promise of ice cream. Walking through the frozen food section at WinCo Foods provided nirvana.

5. We all took cool showers and baths and called it a night over the 1990 full length movie The Jetsons.

All over the world, people deal with high temperatures. For many people in this world, cultural patterns make adjustments for the heat reality. I remember an article about how air conditioning has developed into a middle-class boundary in India. If I was in the air conditioning business, forget the United States, I'd set up shop in India.

Extremes in unexpected places produce stories, as I have witness many local conversations about the "Blizzard Of (insert year)" or the "Drought of (insert year)." An old episode of the Vicar of Dibley satirizes this conversation well. In Cascadia, stories will be prefaced by the Summer of '09. Though Cascadia residents are given to hyperbole in weather extremes, there's some science behind this outlier. I recently found the blog of University of Washington Professor of Atmospheric Science Cliff Mass. This triple digit weather is not merely a point of interest for us weather drama queens, but scientists as well. This map Mass posted of temps southern Thurston County and Lewis County yesterday show some truly crazy temperatures. He even wondered if 114 could have been a realistic reading.

Today we're going to my grandmother's and her air conditioning, but I'm still not going to leave the dog alone at home too long.

Stay cool, Cascadia, the slow descent into relief starts late tonight.

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