One late afternoon last week, my husband called me.

“We’re on our way home. If the kids want to get buckets of water and soak us when we get out of the truck, they can.”

My husband had been working on my parents’ house all week long in the broiling heat, and this particular day, my son had been helping him, too.

Usually my husband gets semi-sick when he works in hot-hot weather, but my parents were up at the property, too, and my mother spent her days pumping everyone full of liquids—mint tea, iced coffee, juice, water—the end result of which was that my husband didn’t spend his evenings suffering from headaches and nausea and being a bear to live with.

My younger daughter was at camp—her first, week-long camp—so she missed the wet homecoming.

I stayed on the porch where it was safe and dry. And hot.

Always, always hot.

The water party didn’t last for very long. My husband said the water felt good at first, but soon the extreme cold on his extremely hot (eh-hem) body turned from refreshing to painful and he had to call it quits.

Water is amazing. Did you know that:

*even when the house is still 91 degrees (in the cooler parts), a ten-minute soak in a tub of nearly totally cold water provides at least 30 minutes of reprieve, maybe even longer if you are willing to sit motionless in front of a fan.

*swiping your skin with a cool, damp washcloth and then lying under a fan actually gives you goose bumps.

*a watermelon, when properly gorged upon, will fill you up to the brim so that no supper is necessary.

Now that the heat wave has finally broken (and I spent the night shivering!), this post feels out of place and kind of useless.

Then again, August is coming.

Do you have any Staying Cool Tips to share?

This same time, years previous: rain (well now, isn’t that appropriate!)


  • Anonymous

    You'd think, living as far north as we do, we wouldn't get hot weather.
    Our area cools off at night. So the windows help: cross-draft is bliss. (so grateful to the person who invented screens.)
    A damp washcloth on the back of the neck is nice. Better still is a wrung-out washcloth, put in the freezer for a few hours (if you are freezing several, don't stack them or they'll stick together: use plastic lids or something in between). Youngest daughter, living in University Residence during the summer, used her tiny fridge (our family went together to rent her one for the term)and rotated washcloths through.
    A little mist bottle, filled with water, is quite refreshing.
    Evaporative heat loss is always a good thing: even if it's humid out. Try hanging a couple of dampened tea towels, and see if that helps (or if it's just too sticky!)
    Good on your parents for keeping folks hydrated. Makes such a difference. (BTW, I must agree with your exclamation after the adj. 'hot')
    -Carol S-B

  • Beth Brubaker

    I wrote a column a while back in the July 2011 issue of Ruby For Women called What To Do When There's No AC. Why? Because for the first three years of living in this house, we had none! So I speak from experience..lol!

    I used a spray bottle to keep me cool, and LOTS of fans. Condensation is your best friend in the summer. Just put that sucker on Mist, get a tall glass of something with ice to the brim, and enjoy!

    Cold showers worked well mid day and right before bed. Open the sheets to get rid of any stored up heat, letting the fan run.

    Wet your head. Soak your head. Do it a lot and let it drip onto your shirt.

    Do chores in the morning, and early evening. No exertions during high sun.

    Outside shade is cooler than inside shade. Trees are your friends! And it doesn't cost any electric for the breeze to blow either!

    I know the column has more, but that's all I can come up with in my head at the moment. 🙂

  • melodie davis

    What a great dad to ask for a water bath from his kids! My daughters usually get sick headaches when they are out in the heat and sun (like at rock concerts longer ago) … on our recent vacay we went "white watering" in a very low stream and were stuck on the water for nearly 8 hours on a long, slow trip. The rafting company brought 2 bottles of water each for drinking, but we stayed hydrated as the guides did, by dumping river water on our heads every so often (using the safety helmets) and also taking frequent dips in the river. Happy to report no headaches that day. We can hydrate through our skin too — I didn't use to know that.

  • Rachelle

    For almost 8 years, my husband and I lived in an apartment that was sort of half-basement; the windows sat at ground level. We had no AC and I swear being partially underground was the only thing that saved us.

    Now that we've moved to a new city, we got an AC unit and put it in with the computers. They need to stay cool and if we leave the door open, the unit keeps the rest of our town home almost completely humid-free. It's such a lifesaver.

    That being said, a cool shower before bed always did wonders for me in the heat.

  • the domestic fringe

    Love your photos! So fun.

    We put fans in the windows at night and home the outside temps drop to cool us off a bit. We also consume large quantities of ice-pops in the summer. And if we're really desperate, we go to the library. They've got a great AC there.


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