Tired of heat and humidity

Published 12:00 am Friday, August 26, 2005

I know. It is August, and this is Alabama.

Still, I am just a tiny bit tired of the rain and the heat and the humidity. More than just a tiny bit, actually. The respite at mid-week – if you can call highs in the low 90s with humidity to match a respite -hasn’t altered my mood.

In the spring, when rain seemed a daily event, my friends and I took comfort in our assumption that the rain would pass. We wouldn’t complain about the rain, we said sagely, because in a few months we’d be wishing we could see a rain cloud.

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It has been a couple months now, and I have seen a rain cloud every day. Sometimes the rain and the lightning have passed in the distance; at other times the bottom has opened up right over our house.

When the rain has missed us, the moisture has never been far away. By the time I have walked out to the road to fetch the morning paper, I am soaked. Sometimes I have to change clothes two or three times a day. Soggy clothes and air conditioning don’t mix.

Even with air conditioning, I’m reluctant to toss the soggy things into the dirty clothes basket for fear that they will mildew overnight.

Certainly the mildew on the outside of the house has gotten away from me. There was a brief window of opportunity the other day to make inroads on its blight. I moved the furniture off the screened porch, mixed up the mildew killer (bleach, water and a commercial product that makes the bleach and water stick to the surface of the wood), and got out the sprayer.

The sprayer, though, had packed it in. I was really grubby by then, but I drove off to town anyway in search of a new sprayer. There wasn’t one to be had, but Fay at the feed and seed offered to order one. While I wait, the mildew spreads like kudzu.

The moisture brings more than mildew. When I was doing outdoor cleanup between the spring showers, I found a patch of soft wood in the casing above one of the doors. I ordered something to kill the rot and reinforce the soft wood, but the directions say to use it only when the temperatures are between 50 and 75 degrees and the humidity is less than 75 percent. By the time we achieve those conditions, all of the wood may have rotted.

The hammocks stand rolled up in the closet. There haven’t been any hammock days, and if they were left hanging out for even a day or two, they, too, would be covered with mildew.

There seem to have been fewer boats passing our half hill this summer. Other lake dwellers with whom I’ve talked share that observation, though our evidence is only anecdotal. Heat, humidity, rain and high gasoline prices certainly have cut into our boating. A friend told me that when he was at a relative’s lake home on a recent weekend for the first time in memory no one sat out on the screened porch.

Even the warmth-loving cats have been affected. Hendry, the mostly indoor cat has given up her occasional forays outdoors. The only exceptions have been when small children were in pursuit, and she has come back as soon as the coast was clear. Yellow Cat, the outdoor cat, stretches out on his back on the bench on the side deck, moving only the muscles that are necessary for breathing.

At this time of year, people beyond a certain age recall the days before air conditioning was common and think that we have gotten awfully soft.

I lived through those days, too. I remember children playing outdoors until well after dark and grownups moving chairs out to the lawn and sitting and talking quietly. It was simply too hot to remain indoors. I remember tossing in clammy sheets and constantly turning the pillow in search of a cool spot.

There are some things that I miss.

Summer without air conditioning is not one of them.

Bill Brown can be contacted at 377 Quail Hollow Drive, Dadeville AL 36853 or by e-mail at williambrown1@charter.net

(c)2005 William B. Brown