Thursday, July 30, 2009

Relativity

No, not the kind Albert Einstein talked about (something I memorized but never really understood). I'm talking about the kind we regular folks experience when we stop to think about our reactions to things.

It's been horrifically hot here in Portland for the past week. We've broken records for high temperatures all over the state, including a high of ONE HUNDRED AND SEVEN DEGREES in Portland yesterday. Portland was hotter than Phoenix, AZ and Las Vegas, NV yesterday. So I'm not being a wimp when I say it was brutal outside. My son referred to it as 'volcanic', and I think he hit the proverbial nail on the head with that description.

We installed a heat pump in our house before we moved in, one that both heats and cools the house. We knew it could only lower the temperature by 20 or 25 degrees in comparison to the outside temps, but since we keep the thermostat set at 74 degrees during the day, we figured that would be just fine. And, until this week, it was.

But the heat pump simply couldn't keep up with the kind of heat we were experiencing, and the thermostat showed an indoor temperature in the high 80s - inside the house - when I gave up and got ready to try and sleep last night.

That might not sound too bad, and probably wouldn't be too bad for most people, but hot weather is deadly for people with Multiple Sclerosis. My symptoms get a lot worse when it's hot; fatigue is unbearable, balance gets even more wobbly, and life is just miserable. So I've been a very unhappy camper for the past few days.

I've been waking very early, and going outside to water the planters on the front and back decks before it got too hot for me to bear being outside. This morning, the air felt cool (even though the thermometer showed a temp in the high 60s), and that's when I thought of relativity: in relation to morning temps in the high 70s, the high 60s actually felt good!

I took a cool shower last night, dragged another fan into the bedroom and pointed it directly on me (David does much better in the heat than I do), and put a spray bottle of water on the night table. Every few minutes, I grabbed the spray bottle and essentially hosed myself down, using the old process of evaporation to cool myself when I started feeling too warm again. So I may not understand E = MC2, but I sure do remember what I learned about evaporation back in high school, and that bit of knowledge saved me last night, for sure.


4 comments:

Revalani said...

Nicely structured essay, Lib; the ending wraps it up neatly. But that's beside the point -- it's still TOO FOOKIN' HOT!

Zack C said...

I'm tired of Volcano World. Frankly, I miss Tundra World; I'd rather put on chains and drive slow than roast in my own home.

Also, whether or not this is worth noting is questionable (meaning it's not worth mentioning, but is funny), but the CAPTCHA I had to fill out to leave this comment was "Aeduc", which I would imagine is pronounced "A duck".

Then I failed and it made me type "zinglop". What the

Libbi said...

I love it. "Zinglop"!

Cam said...

I thought about you guys as I thought about our 3 daughters and their portable a/c...which didn't keep up well either. Our temps stayed below 78, which was warm enough...but the only real remedy is just cooler weather. Like today. Which is wonderful! Now, if there was just a way to bottle this, we could all release our chilly air when it heats up again!