I never thought I’d say this, especially in print, but I kind of miss those excessive heat warnings.
It’s not that I enjoyed walking around in a sober stupor for days on end, my sense of humor evaporating with gallons of sweat.
(Dear citizens: I’d like to take this opportunity to apologize to everyone I scowled, swore or spat at in the last several days. I was not myself. In fact, that was my evil twin, Cranky.)
Nor did I relish the guilt I’d feel every time I’d pull in the driveway to see my formerly lush petunias, barely holding on to dear life, choking in the blazing sun.
I won’t miss my temper tantrums, either.
“This water is supposed to be cold!” I’d scream, trying to pour a glass of refreshment at the sink. “It’s tepid, at best! The faucet says ‘C,’ not ‘T.’ Stupid blankety-blank plumbing…”
Still, the incessant triple-digit heat did provide one invaluable benefit. It was the perfect excuse not to do anything I didn’t want to do.
It was too hot for housecleaning. Too hot for errand running. WAY too hot for laundry. And, that weeding in the garden I was supposed to do back in June? No one in his right mind would expect me to suffer like that, just to avoid neighborhood scorn. Life’s too short.
In the pre-heat wave days, I would dress for dinner. I’d come home from work, maybe pop over to the gym, then shower and change into a nice pair of jeans and a cute, form-fitting top. I’d touch up my make-up, fix the hair and off we’d go to the neighborhood bistro.
Last week, my after-work routine went something like this:
Trudge through door at 5:30 p.m. Go directly to couch. Lay there in a damp, wrinkled heap until husband resuscitates me with cocktail, extra ice.
“Wanna freshen up before we go out?” he’d ask, hopefully.
“Why bother?” I’d snap. “I’ll just be out THERE again.”
After dinner, I wasn’t any better. You know the old “Not tonight, I’ve got a headache” routine? It can’t hold a candle to “The heat index is 112. Are you freaking kidding me?!”
Before the 100-degree temperatures, I was a dedicated ironer. I would iron at the drop of a hat. I would rather have eaten nails than left the house in anything un-pressed.
Lately, all style and grooming bets are off. Crease in the shirt? Who cares? Salad dressing stain on the shorts? What’s it matter? As if any of my fellow zombies on the street are going to notice. They’re way too preoccupied with the sweat dripping down their legs or what possessed them to buy a car with black vinyl seats.
And the diet? Fughettaboutit!
You’d think when it’s 104 degrees outside, one’s appetite would shrink to that of a Chihuahua. You’d imagine someone who was so fatigued from oppressive, relentless mugginess would only be able to choke down a salad, maybe a tomato slice or two.
Not me, people! In the last week, I’ve been chowing down like there’s no tomorrow. Just like in the Christmas blizzard, comfort food is the name of the game. And the key word seems to be “salt”: Salty chips, salty salsa, salty French fries, BLTs with salty bacon. I’m no Dr. Oz, but I believe it’s my body’s way of fighting dehydration by retaining copious amounts of fluids.
“It’s too hot to diet,” I’d cry, as my blood pressure soared. “Besides, in this heat, my metabolism must be in overdrive. I could burn 200 calories just by tying my shoes.”
Alas. The dog days of excessive excuses appear to be over. With fall comes the promise of no more procrastination. I’ll be expected to return to my former energetic, clean and pressed, happy and healthy self.
It will be next summer before I can rationalize lying motionless on the couch for an all-day “Holmes on Homes” marathon.
I’ll have to wait a whole year to hear my husband say, “Please. I beg you. Don’t go to the grocery store. It’ll ruin you for the whole day!”
And, at night, I’ll have to fall back on the old yet effective headache routine.
My days of using the weather as scapegoat have come to an end.
At least, until the first blizzard. Let it snow, let it snow, let it snow ...
— Cathy Hamilton is a 54-year-old empty nester, wife, mother and author. She can be reached at 832-6319.