Saturday, July 22, 2006

Hot Ideas to Save in the Heat

It's hot in the Pacific Northwest this weekend and a look at the weather map for the entire country looks like the rest of the country is sweltering too. Several other posts have shared ideas and/or links about keeping costs down while surviving the sun's scorching move into Leo today.

I've got a few hot ideas of my own to cope with these 100+ degree days, motivated, I must admit, more by the fact that we don't have central air conditioning, or even a single window air conditioning unit. (We rely on the Pacific marine air to move in and keep the heat down. That isn't happening as a ridge of serious high pressure is stalled out over most of the greater Northwest.)

1. Don't use appliances during the heat of the day. Run the dishwasher (turn off the heat dry option) and washer at night. Forget about the dryer. Hang those shirts on the line. Mine were dry in about 30 minutes and smell delicious.

2. Laptop hot? I've got an ingenious LapCool2 device that fits under the laptop, uses one USB port for power and has two fans to keep my machine cool. Keeps me cool too on my lap right now. Great investment and will help extend the life of my machine.

3. Water, of course. Take a lukewarm bath (not cold, as your body will want to generate heat to keep your body temperature stable.) Pat dry. Wet a clean cotton bandana and drape it over the back of your neck.

4. Freeze a few washcloths. Take one out and spritz with rosewater or aromatic oil (use almond or vanilla extract, lacking the foregoing.) Drape the frosty fragrant thing over your face and relax in the shade.

5. Stay in the shade. Only mad dogs and Oregonians go out in the midday sun.

6. Tired of flat ice water? Add lemon, or better yet add a snippet of freshly cut and crushed mint. Just drink lots of it.

7. Wet hair and wet feet. Keep your hair damp and dip those dogs in the kiddy pool every so often. I twist my bushy mane into knots while it's wet and secure with a couple chopsticks. Then I tie a wet cotton scarf from nape and forehead.

8. Water yourself while you water the plants. Run through the sprinkler, hose down the decks and benefit from evaporation.

9. Cook up a few salad bowls full of pasta salad in the morning while it's still (relatively) cool. Lots of fresh veggies, some cheese, and an olive oil-lemon juice vinaigrette will taste great at suppertime.

10. Keep the shades, windows and doors closed in the heat of the day. We are fortunate that our downstairs is built into the hill and stays fairly mild. The upstairs benefits from the cool evening breezes. We open the windows as the temperature drops and close them in the morning.

11. Don't necessarily run off to find respite in air-conditioned malls, movie theaters or restaurants. You'll spend a boatload of money and you will have short-circuited your body's ability to modulate and adjust to the heat. Go to the public library if you really need a break, or your local art museum.

12. Settle down in the hammock with that novel you've been meaning to read. Keep that bandana damp and the ice water flowing.

Friday, July 21, 2006

Straying from Best Blog Intentions

I find I've strayed from my best blog intentions. I started this blog as a compendium of notes and articles to help my seventeen (now eighteen)-year old son launch his own mission to be independent and self-reliant.

Some posts, as I review them, have furthered that original purpose; others have meandered off onto other tangential paths.

Bo is eighteen now. He's in summer school and, despite summer school being a total of 20 days long, in trouble with biology. He didn't graduate this spring, lacking credits. He still doesn't have a job. The sweet used 95 Camry has been sold. He's biking it.

I'm looking back at my original list of topics in the back of my pocket calendar. It lists the following, in brainstorm order:

Topics - Move Out Boot Camp

  • Taxes
  • Deposits & Downpayments
  • Staples - Pantry
  • Cooking 101
  • Cleaning 101
  • Laundry - Remedial
  • What's a Budget?
  • Banking
  • Insurance & Taxes
  • Credit
  • Utilities & Computers
  • Savings & Investments
  • Roommates
  • Transportation & Travel
  • Shopping
  • Working, Career, Education
  • Pets
  • Health & Safety

I think it's time to go back to this blog's roots and not stray too far from my best blog intentions.