The backyard thermometer has been inching upward the past couple of weeks, the humidity along with it. I suspect the balmy, breezy days of spring are on the way out. This can only mean…
Summer is upon us.
I recently read that the annual average temperature in the contiguous United States has warmed by 1.2 degrees since 1984, and summers inparticular were 1.6 degrees hotter. (So, it wasn’t just my imagination…)
It’s time to brace myself for the inevitable.
Quick! Trick self into believing things won’t be that bad this summer. Make cheesy list of perennially “cool” summer things. Keep fingers crossed that this will work…
1. Garden hoses.
Never has such a simple household implement consistently delivered so much bang for the buck! Makes me want to thank the inventor. Alas, I cannot, seeing that the fellow who got creative with ox gut lived about 400 B.C. More recently — only 400 years ago — a Dutch dude made hausen out of linen, then later his countrymen switched to leather. Eventually, rubber and then vinyl would be fashioned into the bright green coils. Much better than ox gut… eew!
I loved the garden hose from the moment I could manage the spigot on the side of the house. Because hoses could be attached to sprinklers! And playing in sprinklers is one of the absolute giddiest forms of fun. In addition, quenching summertime thirst from a makeshift water fountain ranks pretty high on the fun-o-meter too. (Garden hoses have been known to occasionally tempt me to surprise attack and terrorize neighborhood boys. Had to be careful with this one, though — paybacks could be intense.
I still enjoy special garden hose moments, but not so much for reasons mentioned above. I mostly prance around the yard watering flowers and herbs and vegetables. Nowadays, I tote my hose on a nifty little wheeled caddy. Once again, a thank you note to an inventor is in order. And from time to time, I might pause to fill a few water balloons. Heh heh.
2. Swimming pools (and other bodies of water). It didn’t matter whether it was a municipal pool, a four-foot inflatable number, or a body of water found in nature — if it accommodated the immersing of oneself while the heat was beating down, it’d do. Spent a lot of time and took a bunch of swim lessons at the city park pool, and had the prune fingers and chlorine split ends to prove it.
Pools are still very cool, but you won’t catch me doing canon balls off the diving board any more. Lolling on inflatable rafts or noodles is more like it… oh, yeah.
3. Sno Cones (and their step-cousins, popsicles). So much refreshment to be gained from these icy colored-sugar-water treats! What can I say? Good to the last chunk of ice.
Admittedly, I haven’t had a snow cone in a while, since I’m more inclined to opt for a fruit smoothie to zap the heat these days. (And where is that wonderful chap who invented the blender…?)
4. Kool-Aid. So many flavors, so many rainbow mustaches. Stirring the Kool-Aid was perhaps the very first meal prep chore entrusted to me. It would be served up in aluminum tumblers, giving the sugary drink even more chill.
Not being into bright food coloring so much any more, I’m more likely to choose fresh-squeezed lemonade over this childhood staple. I even go as far as to chill glass mugs in the freezer beforehand to get that extra frosty effect…
And last*, but not least…
5. Movie theaters. Boy, o boy, how I loved sitting in air-conditioned movie theaters. Many stores and public places back in the day were proud to display their window decals, “Come In — It’s Cool Inside!”. But you could sit for at least an hour or two in a movie theater — an environment as awesome as standing in front of the frig with the door wide open (“Close the frig, young lady — you think money grows on trees?”).
Movie theaters are still calling to me. Not that I go all that often, what with the pricey ticket (I usually try to swing a twilight showing to maximize the old entertainment dollar). After all, who can resist beating the heat while being charmed by little yellow minions, et al.
Well, this has been nice.
Hey, later! I gotta go. I hear Godzilla calling my name…
* A one-time event which hasn’t exactly carried over but is nevertheless worth honorable mention: When I was about 11 there was a Friday night when it didn’t seem to cool off at all, so at 10:00 p.m., it was still probably 90 degrees in our bedrooms. Trying to fall asleep in pools of perspiration was proving utterly futile, when my dad took a notice to drag our mattresses out onto our large balcony style porch, affording us r-e-l-i-e-f. Now that was cool.