5 ways to stay cool in summer’s heat

Summer heated up sooner than I expected, with 90-plus degree days. We live in a charming old house, built in the 1920s. It doesn’t have air conditioning (or central heat, but we manage with a fireplace, baseboard heaters and micathermic panels). We have invested in a couple of window units, which takes the edge off, especially in the afternoons as the sun beats down on the front of the house.

But who wants to stay inside, sitting at the dining room table in front of the AC unit?

Instead, we’ve come up with these solutions:

1. Go to the coast

Roasting smores at the Oregon coast.We headed out over the July 4th weekend to visit Adam’s Dad near Lincoln City. The coast is 10-20 degrees cooler than Eugene, so it worked out well. It doesn’t, always. We often end up with rainy, windy weather, unable to enjoy the beach without getting chilled. This time, though, it was perfect.

Unfortunately, Duncan was sick the day before (a virus shared by Adam who was ill on Tuesday) and still felt a little puny. Not too puny to roast marshmallows over the fire pit and make smores, though. 🙂

And then he passed it to me.

I began feeling bad Friday morning, before we even left. But I shouldered through the packing and rested on the drive. My illness worsened on Saturday so, while Adam took the kids to the beach, I stayed home and slept. We packed up after breakfast on Sunday and came home to allow all the kids to happily plug back into their computers.

 2. Set up the backyard pool

Backyard poolOur pool is the bane of my existence. It drove me to tears yesterday as I tried–and failed–to locate the leak in the inflatable ring (which, for some terrible design reason is key to the whole thing retaining water).

But it does get the kids outside and moving around.

I set it up originally last week and think I finally have the thing fixed enough to refill it again today. If the white inflatable ring isn’t fully inflated, the sides somehow collapse and the water drains out. Which is sad to find in the morning.

I ordered a bigger, metal frame pool, that will arrive in a week or two and hopefully be more reliable from summer to summer. Now I just have to level out part of the yard…

3. Eat frozen foods

Frozen yogurt timeAfter dragging the kids to the grocery story last week (fortunately we didn’t need to buy anything frozen), we all enjoyed a frozen yogurt treat. They’d earned gift certificates to Yogurt Extreme after participating in their schools Jog-a-thon fundraiser that we hadn’t yet used.

What better time than a hot Monday afternoon?

Frozen yogurt (and chocolate chips, marshmallow, mini-cupcake, fortune cookie, chocolate sauce and whipped cream) consumption was followed by a few rounds of Mario Kart Wii. And then home. Because I had to put the food away sometime.

4. Enjoy the morning hours

Bike riding in the sunTaking advantage of the cool hours of the day to get outside works well. Ever determined to get the kids riding bikes, I loaded up my bikes and theirs and headed back to the bike path.

It was a disaster.

Duncan’s chain kept coming off every few paces. I was coasting more than riding my bike. Why did I think this was going to be a good idea?

Fortunately, a kind man seeing our crisis circled back and figured out what happened. When I put the training wheels on Duncan’s bike, the rear wheel shifted forward, making the chain slack. Also fortunate, I’d had the foresight to bring the wrench with me in the car, so we cycled back for it and I fixed it up.

After that, it went a little better. We rode, we rested, we rode to the playground, we played. The kids decided they wanted lunch at home, rather than free lunch in the park (totally fine, we’ve managed it once this summer), although they did finagle a carton of chocolate milk.

Something I’ve noticed this summer is the kids are becoming more willing to ask other adults for the things they want. Berry wanted a chocolate milk. I didn’t know if she could get just a milk or needed to get a whole lunch. So I sent her off to ask. And she did — she ran across the playground to the table and asked, joined shortly by Duncan (he wanted chocolate milk as well) — and they returned pleased, milk in hand.

It’s like they’re growing up.

The ride back to the car went really well — a relief and pleasure.

5. Hide in the basement

The beauty of basements is that they are built underground. Which means they stay cooler in the summer than the rest of the house. The beauty of our basement is that it’s finished, so you can hang out down there, hidden away from the summer sun.

We haven’t had a lot of basement time, but it’s good to know it’s there if we need it, fully stocked with board games, the Wii and more Netflix movies than we can possibly watch.