It rained again yesterday evening, not regular rain but scary rain, the kind that comes down sideways in thick sheets and made me think that we might be on the front page of a few newspapers in the morning. Are there still newspapers outside of Wisconsin?
I went looking for our emergency flashlight even though I wanted to believe we wouldn’t need it. We didn’t. About three-quarters of an inch of water came raging out of the skies in about twenty minutes, then turned into normal rain that lasted maybe an hour, and then it was over. So instead of hiding in the basement, we played boggle. Much more enjoyable.
It rained! For the first time since, I think, May, it rained! Not much, and not for very long, and all traces of it were dried up and gone about an hour later, but for a while it was pretty magical, so much so that My Darling B went out on the patio and stood in the rain with her arms outstretched, a great, big smile on her face, and let it drench her. Just think! Water falling from the skies!
[ADDED: It’s been raining all morning, too, but somehow My Darling B has resisted the urge to get out of bed and dance through it.]
The air conditioner was running when I got out of bed this morning. That’s how hot it’s been here the last couple of days, and it’s supposed to go on being this hot all week long.
Actually, the airco kept coming on all night long. I know this won’t sound weird at all to people who live with their air conditioners running all the time, but it’s pretty weird for us to have the air conditioning on more than a couple of weeks total in the hottest months of the summer, and running it at night is something we’ve only recently started doing. Not running it means we spend the whole night trying to unstick ourselves from the sheets that we’ve drenched in our own sweat. Very little actual sleeping gets done on nights like that, and we’re people who like to sleep, ergo ipso facto abracadabra we’ve been running the a/c.
I rode my bike to work yesterday morning, so naturally it follows that I rode it home after work later in the day. After spending the whole day in an air-conditioned building and changing into shorts and a t-shirt before leaving, I didn’t think it was all that bad at first, but after riding five blocks in the hundred-degree heat I changed my mind. It wasn’t that bad. It was worse. I rode all the way home with my mouth tightly closed, afraid that if I opened it to huff and puff my way up the bigger hills, my tongue would shrivel up and I’d choke on the remains of my tonsils and uvula after they were fried to a crisp. My lips were so chapped by the time I got home that when I took a big drink of ice water, none of it went down my throat. I absorbed it all through my skin. It was HOT.
Biking home from work in the hundred-degree heat yesterday afternoon, I couldn’t help noticing that the bike path was nearly deserted. There’s a trail that runs behind the office building where I work, and it t-bones the Capital City bike trail, which runs parallel to Willy Street and Atwood Avenue. It’s usually chockablock with bicycle riders in the hour immediately after quitting time, but yesterday I saw maybe a dozen cyclists as I tried to pedal home without breathing. That’s really hard to do, by the way. Not as hard as trying to breathe air hot enough to scald my throat, but almost.
I was puzzled at first by the lack of traffic. I checked the time when I stopped for the light at Willy Street, thinking it was just possible I’d left work too early. I got a pit in my stomach thinking I might have to turn around and go back to the office, but no, it was after four-thirty. I’d left at the same time I always do.
Riding up Atwood Avenue I saw one, maybe two bikers. That was when it got really weird. Bikers in Madison ride when the temps are below freezing. Surely, I thought, the hot weather wasn’t making them return to their cars? But, after riding as far as the Goodman Community Center and seeing maybe two or three more bicyclists, I had to stop calling myself Shirley and face the fact that Madison’s cyclists had met a heat wave that turned them into weather wusses. I was just about the only person out there yesterday.
I made it home in three breaths, by the way.
Hot hot hot hot hot here today. Very hot. Which isn’t usually much of a problem as I work in an air-conditioned building all day long, but I went for a walk on my lunch break to stretch my legs and get some air and Wow! Was that a bad idea. No, really, it was a good idea; I needed to get out of there. But I was sweating like a goat by the time I got back. If goats sweat. Do they? They sure smell like they do.
But then I was back inside and didn’t give it another thought until the day was done and I stood waiting outside for My Darling B to come get me. It was very windy but that didn’t do much to cool it off, or so it seemed. Who knows how much hotter it would have felt if the wind hadn’t been blowing the way it was? So I should have felt grateful, but I just felt hot. Luckily, B picked me up in good time and the air conditioning in the car was on full-blast.
At home again, we cranked up the a/c because the house was like the inside of an overheated gymnasium. And again we lucked out, because our air conditioning works pretty well and the temps came down pretty quickly. We were able to enjoy our breakfast sandwich dinner in cool comfort, and we enjoyed the after-dinner saketinis even more. And that’s all I’ve got to say about today’s weather.
What a gorgeous day! I think I’ll get the bike out of the garage and take a long, slow ride through the early morning coolness as the sun slowly rises until I get to an office building that’s hermetically sealed off from fresh air and sunshine and I’ll sit in a little room for nine hours while I shuffle papers and answer phone calls. Yeah, that sounds like the perfect way to experience this beautiful, beautiful day. I can’t wait to get started!
Here’s how you make it rain: You dig up all the onions in your garden and lay them out to dry in the sun for a day or two.
The amount of rain you get will be inversely proportional to how much tender loving care you have bestown upon your garden. When growing onions in a window box on a lark, you might bring on a brief shower, or perhaps a cloudburst. A decent crop of onions that have received middling care might bring on a day or so of moderate rain. More heartbreak equals more rain.
Bringing down rain in this manner requires some preparation: Plant a garden, spend every spare moment of your free time pulling weeds and squashing bugs, wait until just the right time to pull them up. If you put your heart and soul into raising a bumper crop of several varieties of big, beautiful onions, then the very night that you pull them out of the ground and lay them proudly on a bed of straw to dry out before putting them up in the cellar, that very night you are so very certain to get rain that it would be a guarantee if only someone would issue the certificates.
So remember: If the weather in your part of the country is trending toward drought and you want relief, don’t go looking for a rain man – befriend a gardener instead.
Once again, we thought it would be a good idea to turn off the air conditioning last night, I suppose because it became somewhat less than hot. There was even a slight breeze blowing, deceptively lulling us into believing that the weather might even be cooling off. What a couple of boneheads we were.
For a short time, while the inside of the house was still chilled from the air conditioning running all day long, we were able to sleep but, not long past midnight, we both woke up and after that couldn’t manage anything but fitful semi-sleep, even though I got up and turned the overhead fan on. That only succeeded in mixing up the hot, stuffy air and my brain remained at a boil, preventing me from realizing that I ought to turn the airco back on. All I could manage to do was lay on top of the sheets and sweat.
A light rain came in the morning and really did cool things off, though. I even opened the windows and the front door to let the Merry Little Breezes dance through the house. That lasted until around ten o’clock when the Horrible Smothering Humditty Monster came and I had to kill him by closing all the windows back up again and cranking up the A/C.
I didn’t object when My Darling B decided to turn off the air conditioning last night. What a huge mistake that was. I should have squawked like a cat had just stepped on my tail, but the house was nice and cool and I figured, How hot can it get at night? Well, by four o’clock this morning I had my answer: Plenty frigging hot. And even though eighty doesn’t sound hot, when it’s eighty degrees and eighty percent humidity, that’s a hundred and sixty and that’s enough to make anybody wake up drenched in sweat.
But I didn’t wake up at four o’clock in the morning because I was hot, I woke up because Bonkers was yakking in the hallway. I think he’s going to have to sleep in the bathtub from now on.
We cranked up the airco early yesterday, much earlier than usual. On a typical day it doesn’t get hot until after the lunch hour, but yesterday it was warm and muggy before the sun even came up, and after the sun peeked over the horizon, going outside was not fun at all. B went out to her garden first thing, to do as much as she could before the scorching rays chased her indoors. I was out there helping her for a little while, but I lasted barely thirty minutes.
Once it got started, the airco stayed on all day long, and kept on cranking away after the sun went down. That’s when B started to feel guilty about using so much power. “Maybe we should turn this off for now,” she suggested. “We could always turn it back on.” That’s when I should have sprung out of bed and shoved her away from the thermostat, but I was reading a really good book, and I was sleepy. She caught me when I was slightly distracted and not quite all there.
A thunderstorm passed overhead sometime in the very early, dark hours of the morning, lighting up the house in flashes and making sure the air was extra damp, almost sticky, by the time Bonkers rousted me out of bed by tossing his kibble on the hallway floor. Really, why do we have cats?
Dinner on Thursday night is my job, so it’s been known as guy night for many, many moons here in Our Humble O’Bode. I gave up trying to cook anything that couldn’t be grilled over hot charcoal, and most of the time I take the easy way out and treat My Darling B to dinner at one of our lovely local restaurants, which is how things worked out tonight. Around about three o’clock in the afternoon I thought, We haven’t eaten dinner at Mickey’s in ages, and immediately the thought was stuck in my head for the rest of the afternoon: A hot sandwich, or maybe a pizza, with a cold beer on the patio at Mickey’s. It was a no-brainer.
At about quarter to five I started cleaning off my desk so that, by ten till five, I was marching up the hallway toward the front door, where I would normally wait by the curb for B to come pick me up. Humming a happy tune, still thinking about that sandwich and cold beer on the patio, I hit the front door and stepped out onto the side walk … then turned on my heel and went right back inside to wait in the lobby after I hit the wall of humidity that was waiting for me just outside the door. There was no way they’d have enough beer at Mickey’s to lure me out onto the patio tonight.
We still went there for dinner, though, and sat right under the air conditioner.