Think snow. Think lots and lots of snow. (OK, this is Covington, so think 1-2 inches of snow.) Think trees bowed down with ice, bending toward the ground. Think icy, impassable streets. Think about snow-covered hillocks and the shrieks of kids barreling down the inclines on cardboard slides. Do not, repeat: do not, think of crackling fires, being bundled up like Ralphie or hot toddies.
Think anything but ninety-nine degrees in the shade which is where we find ourselves these days. It’s only mid-July, and around here — in case you’re new to town — our hot weather usually doesn’t subside until along about October. Only then can we look forward to cool, crisp mornings and sweaters. That’s when we’ll be able to pat ourselves on the back for having made it through another insufferable summer.
Is anyone feeling a little stir-crazy these days? Is anyone experiencing a little cabin fever for being hemmed up inside due to intolerable temperatures outdoors? Stir crazy and cabin-feverish would certainly describe how it’s going over here. Togetherness is a great thing, but too much can be a bit wearing. (Can anybody say ‘amen?’) It’s definitely too hot to snuggle or even sit next to each other on the couch. "In the heat of the night," we cling to our separate sides of the bed, hoping not to touch and set off a heat wave. Hot meals are out of the question. And what to do to pass the time, when you don’t necessarily have to leave the house and it’s just the two of you?
If you’ve got kids, you don’t face these particular challenges because kids just have to be at the pool, at art lessons, at baseball or soccer, cheerleading or football camp. You are sentenced to trips about town and to hopping out of a cool car into the hot sun. That’s actually harder to bear, according to my brother, who’s worked for years out-of-doors. Better he says to stay in the heat than pop in and out of the cool. You become acclimated, he says. I’ll leave that to him. I don’t want to become acclimated to heat like this.
Boredom takes over when you don’t or can’t leave the house (Understand that there are only so many ways to rearrange the sock drawer or the kitchen utensils’ drawer). Let’s see what else there might be.
Take a "stay-cation," as it’s called. For a week, forget the usual household duties. Enjoy your books or music. Pick up a paintbrush or investigate a new craft. Bone up on the history of our town and region and make plans for day adventures when the heat retreats. Stay in your most comfortable clothes. Think of where you’d really rather be and try a recipe or two from, say, a tropical locale. Sleep late — unless you’ve got a dog that’s used to regular wake-ups, playtime and meals. Try bird-watching. (Call David Waller.) Start a daily journal and use the time to assess where you are in life. Try a few moments of meditation more than once a day. If you despair of gardening in the heat, try pressing flowers. Start a bucket list. This could make for some good discussion instead of the grumpy grunts as you pass in the hall. Practice present moment awareness and really "be" where you are at the moment, not projecting yourself toward some point or something that must be done in the future .
Pardon me, but blah blah blah. Those are great suggestions culled from various sources. I might even try one or too. However, I’m still aggravated as all get out due to the heat and being cooped up inside while trying my best not to take it out on my spouse or any loved one in the near vicinity. I just have to believe that this too shall pass, and before we know it, we’ll be sitting in the football stands on a chilly night cheering a local football team on to victory. And then there’s Thanksgiving and then there’s Christmas … .
Barbara Morgan is a resident of Covington with a background in newspaper journalism, state government and politics Her column appears on Fridays.