Staying Cool

I know there are places more uncomfortable than the Ohio Valley in the summertime, but most of them are tourist destinations in the spring and fall and everyone goes somewhere else for August. The heat, humidity, and allergens would make a saint grumpy.

I started having hot flashes many years ago, but my OB/GYN insisted it was just stress. She worked at the same hospital I did and heard my name paged overhead 24/7. Once the hot flashes finally ended I had gastric sleeve surgery, and the rapid weight loss put my hormones into a tizzy and I ended up with teenage acne and hot flashes at the same time. SO unfair!

A woman having a hot flash using a fan to cool off.

I will be fifty later this year, so I didn’t have air-conditioning at home until I got married. I had air conditioning in middle school and high school, but only in about 2/3 of my college classrooms and none of my dorms.

I have multiple chronic spinal issues, and chronic inflammation should always be treated with COLD, not heat, no matter the time of year. So I’m a bit of an expert. Here are my tips on keeping cool:

Evaporation. Don’t dry off after your shower (unless there is a teen in the house who would need therapy after seeing his mother naked). And for the love of God don’t blow-dry or heat-style your hair. Put in some leave-in product and let it go.

Layers of cotton or “wicking” fabric. All loose, and in light colors. You may hate your upper arms when you start yard-saleing at 8 a.m., but you really won’t care by 10, and your bra will be in the back seat by noon.

Box fans. There’s a reason they still sell these – they work! In fact, they work much better than the high-tech, expensive fans. Buy several.
box fan
Alcohol-based cold packs. I like to combine rubbing alcohol and floral gel beads for an eight-hour cold-pack (no kidding). No matter how many ziplocks or other bags you put it in it’s going to leak eventually, though.

Gel-packs. These don’t stay cold as long, but they freeze back faster, remain flexible, and don’t leak. Great for errands with no AC in the car.

Hair away from the face, neck, and back. You can wear it down and styled when it gets cooler. Right now sweaty hair stuck to your face just makes you look more like a hot mess.
No makeup. Waterproof mascara if you feel the need, but anything else is just going to get sweated off. But wear some sunscreen, even if it’s overcast.

Cold food. Frozen grapes and bananas, chilled watermelon and cantaloupe, iced coffee, and gazpacho or other cold soups. Stick with plain water unless you’re really sweating like a pig. Then, alternate water with Gatorade or something else with electrolytes. Drink like it’s your job.
Ice water and hand towel. Not in the office or on your way to a job interview, obviously. But if you are working outside fill a small cooler with ice, add water, and soak a hand-towel in it. Wrap it around your neck, wipe your face, wet down your hair. Rinse, repeat. Once the ice has melted take a break and start over.

Take breaks. Make the timer on your phone your friend. I can’t sit, stand, or walk for more than 15 minutes on the best of days without expecting to pay a large price the next couple of days, so my timer is always set for 15 minutes. When it goes off, I go lie down (with water, in front of a box fan) until I feel like getting up again. It may be 15 minutes later, or it may be a couple of hours later. Listen to your body.

There were a lot of great prompts over at Mama Kat’s Writers Workshop this week. Go check them out (Tue post) and link up (Thur post)!

What I’d Rather Be Doing Today

So, nine things I’d rather be doing today? Easy-peasy!

  1. At Work. Yeah, not working sounds great to everyone dragging out of bed at the butt crack o’dawn to work sixty hours a week without taking a break to pee, let alone eat. But try not working because you physically can’t. That also means you can’t clean, cook, do laundry, do yardwork, exercise, take classes, or even follow the plot of a stupid TV show some days. And oh, yeah! You don’t get paid, but all the bills still need to be paid. Not so much fun.
  2. Lying on the beach. My name is Angie and I’m a beach addict. I need soft, white sand and warm seawater periodically, and no anti-depressant can replicate that. Our last vacation was, I think, nine years ago.  No, not getting a vacation isn’t cruel and unusual punishment by far, and things could be SO much worse. I’m just writing about the nine places I’d rather be, and “the beach” is one of them.
  3. Austin, TX. I’d love to visit my son, daughter-in-law, and grand-dog and see their new house! I’d love to help them paint the rooms and landscape their new yard. I’d love to have them take us on a tour of their workplaces, Tabby’s doggy daycare, their favorite dog park, and all their favorite hotspots. I particularly want to see that bats come out, because that’s one place I could be assured I wouldn’t get mosquito bites!
  4. Ohio. I’m dying to meet my first grand-niece, Layla. I have pictures and videos, but it’s just not the same. And it’s a 3-hour trip each way, so I can’t do it alone. And since Michael has been working six days a week to keep us afloat for years now I just can’t ask him to drive six hours on his day off. He’d love to see her, too, but his one day off is like recuperation from surgery before another surgery the next week. He needs that day for health reasons.
  5. Hawaii. Yeah, that’s a flight of fancy, right? When I cried in pain all through the flight from Baltimore to Louisville – HA! But in an ideal world Michael and I would have done so well with Nerium that we’d be in Hawaii this week for an all-expense-paid leadership conference. Of course our trip to Cancun (or was it a cruise) wouldn’t have been long ago, so we’d just be doing some quick catch-ups between seminars.
  6. Italy. While John and I were lost on the University of Louisville campus we found a big board with a bin of chalk that said, “Before I die, I want to . . .” My honest answer would have been “find my way back to my car”, but instead I wrote “go to Italy”. No, it’s not a reasonable or attainable goal, but at least three people had written something about creating peace on Earth, which kind of puts mine in perspective.
  7. in IKEA with an unlimited budget. My house needs organization so badly. I need someone pushing me in a wheelchair through IKEA while someone else stays at home for me to call with measurements and another person waits patiently to find out what size U-haul to rent. Louisville does not have an IKEA, so it’s not like I can just go buy a couple of things at a time.
  8. Touring English gardens. Not formal ones with carefully clipped boxwoods, but cottage gardens where the flowers run wild, climb the house, climb fences, burrow under walls and pop up next door! The kind where if you’re thinking of grilling thick slices of pork loin for dinner you pad barefoot out the backdoor and snip some rosemary.
  9. Scuba diving on a coral reef. I’d love to learn to scuba dive, because I could stay underwater for long periods and have no pain. I could do it in the Ohio River, but there are some seriously nasty bacteria in there and nothing much to see unless you’re fond of catfish. I want to see Nemo and Dory and all their friends. Where would you rather be today?

There were a lot of great prompts over at Mama Kat’s Writers Workshop this week. Go check them out (Tue post) and link up (Thur post)!

The Week I Got Lost at UofL


— 1 —

John was scheduled to start a long-awaited 72+ hours at LanWar on the UofL campus last Thursday. I scheduled our group tour of UofL to end just before his check-in. Brilliant, right? Not so much. I had my big tank of a car loaded with two 17-year-olds, each of whom had a CPU, two monitors, keyboard, gaming mouse, nice desk chair, snacks and beverages, and sleeping bag and pillow. I had Adam, John’s best friend, giving me directions to the loading dock. They each filled a warehouse cart, and Adam was kind enough to call another of their friends to come transport John’s stuff in so we could head straight for the tour. The address given on the email didn’t exist, but we finally found the correct place to park. In the ten seconds since she’d given us directions and my car rolled up to the barrier she had forgotten about us, so John had to get out and go remind her to lift the gate so we could enter. Her directions were completely wrong. As in “she doesn’t know left from right” wrong. Thirty minutes after the orientation and tour was to have started John called the number given to reach the admission tour guide, told her we were lost, and asked her to call back to let up know where we could meet them. He still hasn’t head back. Thankfully, I had brought my cane, but it just wasn’t enough. We did find the student center, and John officially checked in for LanWar, but we had no idea how to find my car. We walked a bit further, until we reached a street I recognized, and I insisted we call Michael. He was almost home, but turned around and came downtown to pick us up, help us find my car, and then drop John off at LanWar so I could follow him home. Two days in bed with ice packs for me. All campus tours for us will be private and involve golf carts.

— 2 —

We did see a lot of campus that can’t be seen from a car, and it’s lovely. Beautiful old buildings, mature trees, gorgeous caladiums, and art installations that weren’t too pretentious. Lots of benches and plush grass for lounging between classes, and a ridiculous number of squirrels. One had a paperclip earring and his cheeks so full of food he barely had time to give us a glance. There’s an albino squirrel on campus, which struck me as a good sign since there was an albino squirrel on our street until some speeder flattened him a few years ago.
During LanWar John lit out for a dinner break with a friend, and they found great sushi on-campus. In fact, from a driving tour Michael gave me Tuesday, it looks like a lot of the newer dorms have restaurants and shops on the first floor. Just bop downstairs in your jammies and get Chinese food? Bagels? Ice cream? Getting my Master’s might not be such a bad idea after all! When I dropped John off he was dead-set on living at home and commuting to a college in town. Now he’s thinking dorm life might be the way to go (and I agree!)

— 3 —

John is not a follower, but also refuses to be a leader because he feels responsible for the performance of anyone on his “team”. It’s a battle we’ve fought over and over, but the truth is he has no problem taking the lead and producing a fantastic project with people who are as serious about their work (and play) as he is. He has no patience for those who are no-shows, don’t pull their weight, or aren’t fully committed to an exceptional product. This includes school projects, marching band sectionals, even just-for-fun stuff. So being in a special VIP area during LanWar (near the servers and with a private sleeping area) was pretty exciting for him. Nearly 500 people in the cavern they had created, most of them older than he was (I took a quick peek and saw one man already fully engaged in gaming with white hair down to his waist).

— 4 —

Sadly, the private sleeping area (just floor surrounded by cardboard, but better than under the tables tangled in cords) was a bust. John got tired after about 24 hours, and picked up his pillow and sleeping bag to go take a break. Upon entering the sleeping area (occupied only by a large man in a bathrobe) John said he was hit by “the stench of BO and shame”. He’d previously suspected robe-man of being a weaboo (in the most negative sense of the word) and said he and everyone else in their area slept under tables, on top of huge cables covered by electrical tape.

— 5 —

BTW, if you do not know what a weaboo is please do not look it up on Urban Dictionary. Never go there for anything if you can avoid it. This guy evidently enjoyed anime porn. But here’s what is now seared into my brain from the Home page of Urban Dictionary:

When a person ejalculates while playing the game “Pokemon go.” This usually occurs near spawn points of legendary/rare Pokemon.

Kevin is that Mewtew??

Kevin: *pokemon goos self*

by Swaggyswoog July 28, 2016

— 6 —

I’ve moved up every single doctor’s visit I could move after my husband threatened an “intervention” the night before our thirtieth wedding anniversary. I’d already taken my ten o’clock muscle relaxer, though, so I told him he and John would just have to do it without me unless they were willing to wait until 2 a.m. when the muscle relaxer started to wear off and the back and neck pain woke me up. He backed off. I called the next day and bumped up everything I could. The only thing I couldn’t move was my psych appointment, which is in late September. When you call your psychiatrist’s office and say, “I’m having some issues, and I need to be seen sooner rather than later” that’s one speciality that should work your ass in. Seriously. I saw my primary care doc today, and he added a new blood pressure med and congratulated me for obviously staying out of the sun all season. He’s Indian and has lovely skin. I went straight from his office to the tanning salon and asked for the bed with the newest bulbs they had.

— 7 —

Here’s the latest from John’s theater job: Evidently their largest theater was full of “old, drunk women” watching Bad Moms when the fire alarm started malfunctioning. They had to evacuate everyone until the fire department checked it out, but a couple of rows of women had to be forcibly removed . . . by my son!! He said there were a few husbands there, looking embarrassed as they ordered a dozen wines in Bad Moms cups for the entire row, but it was almost all women. Since he’s seventeen I asked, “When you say ‘old’, do you mean my age or a bit older?”

John replied, “Absolutely not. Think of an elderly tortoise on chemo.” My youngest has a way with words. I like to think that comes from me 🙂

For more Quick Takes, visit This Ain’t The Lyceum!

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Anything worth doing can be done in jammies!