Staying Cool by Deborah in the UP

Posted on: May 24, 2010


By Deborah in the UP

As I sit here, on May 25, 2010, in the Upper Peninsula of Michigan, it’s 89* outside at noon. It’s 80* inside, with the humidity at 70%. Unusually warm for this time of year, way up here, in an area with a reputation of being cooler than everyone else. It’s HOT.

I went out to the barn an hour ago, and got the window a/c unit. I don’t like too much heat, which is why I live here, and don’t like high humidity at all. As long as I can take the edge off, I’m fine. But it got me to thinking…

….how are we going to keep cool after the sh*t hit’s the fan???

Our grandparents didn’t have air conditioning, at least mine didn‘t. In fact, my parents didn’t have a/c either. So.. How did they stay cool?

I remember very clearly growing up in Detroit during the hot summer months. I would come in and the house was cooler than outside… and dark. The windows were all closed, the drapes drawn tight after the shades had been pulled down. (no room darkening shades then.. hadn’t been invented yet.) Mother would keep everything closed to the heat of the day, and after the sun went down, would open everything up again to let in the cooler air. It worked. Of course, I tended to spend more time in the cool basement anyway.

People would sit outside, in the shade, a cool drink in hand, and just relax. Now there’s a novel idea! We are such a rush, rush society now, that we are always on the go, when we would be better off slowing down, especially in the heat. I need to get more of the garden in, but not in this heat, so I’m planning things for INside. Learning from my childhood, all the windows are now closed, and my thermal window blinds are dropped in place, especially on the south side, east in the morning, west in the evening. It’s not cool in here, but it’s cooler than outside, and that’s the point.

What else can we do? Wear light colored, loose clothing. It would surprise most to find out how cool long full skirts are! That’s where the gals have the advantage, but then men can go shirtless, so I guess it’s a trade off. Hats.. Wide brimmed hats will keep the sun off your scalp, face, neck, and that’s important. I’m lucky to live in an area with lakes and rivers, so going for a dip is always an option too. It’s very important to keep hydrated!! Drink lots of water. Which also makes me think of cooking.. Last night in the cooler evening, I made a large pasta salad, now chilled, that will be my lunch today and dinner tonight.. Or I might grill something to keep the heat outside instead of heating up the kitchen.

Please remember that staying cool in the heat also helps you to keep your temper in check when others are losing theirs, and that will very important indeed. There ARE ways to stay cool, you just have to think outside the modern box.

Enjoy the a/c while you can… I fear it’s going to be a long hot summer……..

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