Taking the Heat

Looking out my window as I write, I can see a haze has started to fall over Vancouver.  It’s reached that peak in the current heat wave where, although the sky is still technically cloudless, it’s no longer exactly clear.  It’s turned a milky blue.  I think that means the pollution is beginning to build up and hover?  Smog? Is that what you Torontonians would call it?  This is a rare feat for Vancouver – we rarely sustain these temperatures for long.  And when I say “these temperatures” let me be clear that I am in no way saying that it’s hot in general – I’m saying it’s hot for Vancouver.  We’re still not breaking 30° in the shade, more like, say 27°, but still, for Vancouver that’s pretty warm.

We’ve got our apartment shut tight against the sun.  We live in what turned out to be basically a big greenhouse when it’s sunny  – one side of our apartment is entirely windows from floor to ceiling.  Only three tiny squares of all that glass actually open to let in air, with the exception of our balcony doors.  So we’ve got the shades all drawn, the lights off, and an upright air conditioner (kindly provided by our landlord after last summer’s experience) chugging away to keep the temperature in here from rising above 27°.  Without this set up, Piper and I might literally cook in here.  As it is, we spent an hour and  a half playing in the creek near our place yesterday, because I figured a wet dog would be happier when I returned to work in the afternoon and expected her to sleep for the rest of the day.

The creek has been one of our major keep cool strategies this week, and talking to other dog owners with similar ideas at the park has been refreshing too.  I’ve been so impressed with how little people are complaining about this heat wave.  Because this is the first significant warmth we’ve had this year, it’s like we all made an unwritten vow not to besmirch its good name.  I even heard a radio announcer say the other day, “Man I am just sweating buckets in this heat – but I’m not complaining!”  This is huge, because there’s nothing Vancouverites like more than to complain about extremes in weather.

Instead, there’s been a nice sort of refocus on ways to live in harmony with the heat.  Short of standing in front of the refrigerator a smidge too long when getting out the milk, here are some ideas we’ve been putting into practice this week:

1. Popsicles and Ice Cream

Duh.  USE THE EXCUSE.  For the goody-two-shoes among us, grab frozen yogurt – in tub or bar form – fruit puree popsicles with no fat or reduced sugar.  For the rest of us, Rocky Mountain Chocolate makes really nice pistachio ice cream, President’s Choice is a solid grocery store choice, and hey – remember creamsicles? Yeah.  Also, Dairy Queen – don’t try to fight it.  Rumour has it that the best Blizzard combo is Reese peanut butter cups and Skor.

Recipe tip: If you’ve got a popsicle mold, try mixing plain yogurt with pink lemonade concentrate (to taste – don’t make it too sweet) and freezing the mixture into popsicles.  This was my mom’s secret weapon in the summer – unlike home made apple juice popsicles, when you suck on them you don’t remove all the flavour.

2. Watermelon

Or melon of any kind, whatever.  On Monday the Superstore near us was giving away watermelons for free with your purchase.  I know – awesome right?  The only requirement I have for this one is a location of some elevation from which you can spit the seeds.  This is an obvious must.

3. Don’t turn on your stove

A tuna salad sandwich is a perfectly acceptable dinner option – even for an entire family.  Skip the added heat, especially if you live in a small space like we do.  Yesterday I made a giant batch of pulled pork in our slow cooker, so tonight, and possibly tomorrow as well, we won’t be doing any cooking – and that’s not just a break from the heat!

4. Rub a dub dub

Don’t forget your tub.  It’s your very own cool, clothing-optional plunge pool.  Embrace it.  Fun fact about my dog? She is equally happy if I take her all the way down to the creek, or run her a bath.  She will splish-splash either way.  Admittedly this is a little more do-able if you’ve got two bathrooms.

5. Keep the blinds closed and only open the windows at night

Let the cool night air in, keep the warm daytime air out, and if you can, create a cross-breeze by opening windows/doors at the opposite sides of your home.  A less effective cross breeze can be created by leaving your bathroom fan on.  Anything to keep the air moving.

6. Take in a show

Even if you don’t have air conditioning, you know the movie theatre does!  Escape into the cool dark recesses of the cinema for an hour when your internal engine overheats.

Any other cool ideas? I’d love to hear’em.

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One Comment

  1. zhazha
    Posted July 11, 2010 at 6:24 am | Permalink

    aaah the heat. i escaped the insane* heat of delhi by absconding to a museum!
    *42 degrees centigrade

One Trackback

  1. By Lee on July 31, 2014 at 2:00 am

    scarce@carsten.contemptible” rel=”nofollow”>.…

    ñýíêñ çà èíôó!…

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