Monday, August 2, 1999

Freeze Your Grapes

Sweltering and sultry. No Pedro, not my love life, I'm talking about the weather. In this spell of uncomfortable heat and humidity, it is important to find ways to keep your cool. For those of us with no air conditioner (or more accurately, for those of us with air conditioners who are too damn cheap to have them repaired), it is a tricky challenge to beat the heat. One particular fourteen pound fellow I know and have grown quite fond of, is really struggling with the temperature and additionally is further burdened by a fur coat. Between hacking up hair balls nearly every day, he spends most of the time sprawled on the floor looking a tad overheated.

There are those out there who are blessed enough to be able to make the best out of the most pressing situations. Conversely there are those of us who are good at doing quite the opposite- turning any situation into a disaster. I thought then this would be an opportune time to address some summertime issues. Over the years I have managed to pick up a trick or two to handle the dog days of July and August. For example one year I slept naked in my backyard. That was fine until the night a deer came up and bit me on the forehead causing me to undergo a series of painful lyme disease shots. Another year I decided to crank up the heat in my house so that when I went outside it would actually feel cooler. Mr. Max did not buy into the benefits of that brief little experiment.

Many people like to head out to the malls (or better yet to Cheapo) to find a place that does have air conditioning. The problem with that is the heat cranks people's natural crankiness up a notch or two. I was in a grocery store the other night and the usual annoyances of people parking their carts or their carcasses right in the middle of the aisle was more than I could handle. Nothing like going to a central location amongst a bunch of other short tempered, distracted, sweaty souls with an attitude, just to find some relief. It's not so much the heat, it's the humanity!

I also went to a different public place this past week, one that you may not immediately think of to cool down but it worked for me. After a having a bit of an anxiety attack, I went to HealthPartners where they had me take off my shirt for an EKG and a chest x-ray. It was plenty cool in the room and the sweat I broke into was more of the cold variety. The doctor said he saw nothing in the tests confirming what has long been an internal suspicion- I have no heart.

For those looking for a cold public place without a lot of people, there is no better place to go this summer than the Metrodome during a Twins' game. You can be seriously alone there. Also I've heard some have taken to dancing up a storm in the rain conveniently taking advantage of the many ominous thunderstorms that have rolled through our area in recent days. If this is an option you wish to choose it is not recommended that you get into your air conditioned car immediately afterward. People might begin to think you have an illness and you might actually come down with one physically.

Last week too would have been the opportune time to be selected for jury duty. That is unless you are seeking affirmation about the fairness or the inherent goodness of our justice system or human nature in general. Rather it was good timing to be indoors, and either better timing to spend a lunch hour or two calling your local neighborhood neurotic to remind him what he has found so valuable in what is now an all time important nine year friendship. A particular conversation held say, on the afternoon of Friday the 30th of July, cut right through to his heart and showed that despite what was going on in the courtroom itself, there still is much to be said about the beauty of significant human relationships.

Finally, a friend passed on a helpful Martha Stewart like tip that also might be of some help to chill out (did I actually just write "chill out?"). Buy a ton of grapes and freeze them. They make a delectable summertime treat I am told. I have yet to try this, but it sounds intriguing enough that I think I will give it a whirl. It's a good thing.


ADDENDUM: Next week we will focus on how to stay warm when the temperature drops over twenty degrees in one night and the humidity lowers so much that your toilet bowl even stops sweating and it's so cool that when you wake up the next morning you are actually shivering.

Also a special newsletter contest! Winner most closely guesses the context that led up to the following sentence actually being muttered this week to my cat Max: "Because I have to go to work with my pants on!"

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