Heat wave coming

Yesterday morning I got up and, as is my custom, prepared my breakfast and read a book while eating before getting dressed for the day. After a leisurely start to my day, when I did get dressed, I was aware that my feet were cold. the sensation surprised me a little bit. I checked, and it wasn’t very cold in the house, above 60 degrees Fahrenheit. I got dressed and pulled on my socks and quickly forgot about the sensation. I have noticed that I don’t remember the feeling of being hot or cold for long periods of time. It seems to me that it would be useful to be able to remember the sensation of being too hot when winter chills return. Likewise remembering the shivering mornings of winter would be a good feeling on summer’s hottest days.

As it is, I’m a bit more of a winter person than a summer person. I’ve learned to live with cold weather. I know how to dress for cold weather. When it is cold, you can always add a layer to keep yourself warm. When it is hot, however, there isn’t much you can do about it but endure until cooler temperatures return. I know that there are plenty of people who disagree with me about this. Some people thrive with hot weather.

At any rate, the day began a bit gray and cloudy yesterday, which was a contrast with the previous few days when it was clear, bright and sunny, with highs in the 80s. The clouds dissipated by early afternoon and temperatures rose into the seventies and it was a pleasant day.

We’ve spent quite a bit of time here in the Pacific Northwest during previous summers, coming for our vacation. In general, we have found it to be quite comfortable, with highs in the seventies and overnight lows in the fifties. It is easy to take the warm temperature when you know it will be cool for sleeping at night.

We are, however, new to the area and have much to learn about what it is like to live here.

Forecasters are calling for record high temperatures in our area over the weekend and into early next week. This isn’t the southwest, so record high temperatures means highs in the 90’s with the possibility of daytime highs reaching 100 degrees for one or two days. Overnight temperatures could remain in the high sixties or low seventies during that time.

Over the years, we have learned to live with a few hot days each summer. A story from our past, however, reveals a bit about our lack of experience with hot climates. On the day of our graduation from theological seminary in 1978, as we were preparing to attend the ceremony, workers in our apartment building began to cut through the walls of our apartment to install air conditioning. I was quick to register a complaint with the building manager. We were set to have our apartment inspected to determine whether or not we would have our deposit refunded as we moved out the next day and workers were literally filling our apartment with brick dust as they cut through the wall. The workers were diverted to another apartment and we got through the graduation ceremony and the move out inspection with another hitch.

That was as close as we have ever come to living in a home with central air conditioning. In South Dakota we did have window air conditioning units in the upstairs bedrooms, but we’ve never had central air conditioning. We’ve never felt a need for it. We have learned to open up our house in the evening and allow the cool temperatures to enter, then close the windows and the curtains in the morning to keep the house cool through the day. The routines of managing the temperature in the house keep us from suffering from excessive solar heating. Even in rooms that have a lot of windows, we are generally able to keep the temperature below the outside temperature during the heat of the day.

On occasion, as happened yesterday, we get a bit carried away and the house gets a little chilly. A good pair of socks, however, cures cold feet.

We’re not doing much to prepare for the record heat. Our church is having a parking lot service on Sunday and we’ll be there with some floppy hats and a water bottle. We may find our way to a swimming pool in the afternoon if things get too hot, but that is about it. Our cars have air conditioning that works well and we don’t expect to suffer. If our house is a bit warm at bedtime, we have a good fan that we can use to keep the air moving in the bedroom.

Despite the fancy colors on the weather charts on the Internet, the actual temperatures here won’t be anywhere near the temperatures predicted for southern California, Nevada and Arizona. The thermometer won’t top 110 in this part of the country. And we sill will have significant cooling overnight to help us maintain comfort in our home. If it gets particularly hot, we may take a bit shorter walks on one or more days, but we don’t anticipate any significant disruption in our lifestyle.

Still, it probably makes sense to pay attention to the warnings from the National Weather Service. Their warnings and watches about severe thunderstorms were worth noting when we lived in South Dakota. Their warnings about heat probably should not be ignored, either.

If I was still a working preacher, I would have to be prepared for the jokes about the temperatures being caused by all of the hot air coming from the preacher, but I’m not the one to make that kind of joke about Sunday’s parking lot service. I’m just glad to see the inauguration of hybrid worship in our church after months of Internet worship. I thrive on in-person worship and I’ve missed it.

Around here when people say “rain or shine” they really mean that an outdoor event won’t be cancelled due to rain. I’m pretty sure they mean the same for a hot day, but so far we haven’t experienced temperatures high enough to cancel an event. I’m not expecting that kind of heat for this weekend, either.

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