June 13, 2010

It's Not The Heat, It's the Humidity

Last night we went to a wedding reception. It was hot. Darn hot. The Weather Channel proclaimed that our area had a weather advisory for high heat index of 105 to 110 and advised caution.

The wedding reception was outdoors. The bride's sister and I were in the house and turned the a/c down from 75 to 68. Yes, I am an evil person, and while I didn't actually touch the thermostat, I was the instigator, like the third grader prodding another child to steal the teacher's pencil. :(

The bride's sister ratted me out, but the bride took it well, and indeed blood is thicker than water.

Despite the heat, my family and I had a wonderful time, and are thrilled for the couple, now living "happily ever after."

However, when it was my in the sun nearly three decades ago, so to speak, I didn't want to be in the sun. Husband and I had an autumn wedding.

I do not "do" heat or outside or especially humidity. This is not something that is a result of menopause, though I cannot say menopause helped.

I am fair (well, pasty) and the sun has always played havoc with me. I burn easily and overheat within minutes of going outside. Adult-onset asthma hasn't helped.

In the late 1960s my family was on vacation, driving in an un-air-conditioned Chevy Impala to California. As we left Las Vegas and drove through Death Valley, my brother and I complained mightily about the dry heat of the desert.

My father was quick to point out all the over-heated cars on the side of the two-lane highway.

"They have air conditioning in their cars, and that's why they are overheating," he said.

Did I buy this baloney? No way. We arrived at the Holiday Inn in Bakersfield none too soon, and Brother and I got in the pool quickly to cool off. But something was terribly wrong, and I was already way too overheated. I had to get out of the pool as I was shivering and vomiting.

My mother put me in a blanket in the hotel room, put the a/c on and sat it out with me. I am certain that I was going into some kind of heat stroke, and was very lucky it wasn't worse.

Since that day I've been overheated many times, and have learned to plan my life around it. I've bought everything known to man to cool off, including this Sharper Image personal cooling device (now I think off the market) that, in theory, you put around your neck and it cools you off. Didn't work for me.I've had the water bottles with fans on them, the frozen "do-rag" around the neck, metal fans, plastic fans, fans with remotes. I've learned to carry water everywhere I go. (I drank a lot of water before going to the wedding Mass in an old church where I knew the high ceilings would stress any air conditioner in this heat.) It's not the heat, it's the humidity.

Our home is a ranch with a walkout, and should have zoned heating and cooling but it doesn't. If you set the temp on what feels right upstairs, it is a meat locker downstairs. So we compromise. This is the little Walgreens $9.99 special I keep on my desk.

If I can keep myself hydrated enough, it isn't as bad. As I'm in and out of the car all day, I frequently drink water. Sodas don't cut it, they just make it worse.

This is a Tornado brand car fan, which clips onto the passenger side visor.

I love this fan, though I suspect it is made for semi-drivers, not some menopausal hot flasher in a Toyota.

As my husband pointed out, it is a little noisy (think Concord jet landing at JFK). Initially it mostly blows hot air around, but again, as my husband pointed out, so do I.