Tuesday, August 9, 2011

Surviving the Summer 2011 Heatwave!!!

I didn't grow up in Texas.
"But I got here as fast as I could!!"

And ever since my husband brought me back to the "promised land"
where he grew up,
I've heard stories {of legendary proportions} of the summer of 1980.
It was the summer that went down in the record books as having the MOST
consecutive days 100+ temperatures {46}, plus the most days of 100+ days in one year {69}.
The #1 hottest summer on record in the state of Texas.

Well, this summer, we're giving that record a run for its money!!
So far, we've had 36 consecutive days of triple digits,
and there is no relief in sight.
In fact, as we get further into August,
the temperatures are only getting higher.
It's quite a novelty for this Yankee!!
I've never experienced a 110+ day yet, and I'm sure we'll see that later this month.

To make things worse, we haven't had any rain in a month-and-a-half or more.

For those of you who live in areas where it's rare to see drought conditions like this combined with temperatures like this, indulge me and allow me to share with you some of the things
that happen in conditions like this.

Our central air conditioning unit {along with so many others around us}
have trouble keeping up with such intense heat.
Our unit is old to begin with, but it's slightly smaller than what we need.
When the temperatures are in the 90's, our house is comfortable most of the day.
But for over a month now, our house is a sweltering 85 degrees with the A/C running.
Which only gets worse if you turn the oven on.
So, we've been enjoying meals that don't require an oven:

Hamburgers {on the large electric griddle}
Hotdogs {also on the griddle}
Fresh fruit {ice cold watermelon and strawberries}
Salads {with rotisserie chicken from Costco}
Crock-pots meals
Tuna-melts {warmed in the microwave oven}
Frosty cold SMOOTHIES!!
No-Bake Cookies

One day, we called an A/C guy to come look at our unit.
He wasn't going to be able to come for a couple days, so he suggested we spray off any
foilage/grass/dirt build-up on the outside unit.
So I tried that...
The house was noticeably cooler the next couple days.
When the house started getting warmer again,
I decided to try that trick again.
While spraying off the unit, I noticed large cracks in the ground and about a 1 inch space between
the ground and the foundation of our house.
So I thought it would be a good idea to "water" the foundation.
I let the water pour into that space all up and down that side of the house.
The next MORNING......
I open my closet door, which happens to be right off that outside wall that I had watered,
and there....
swarming 2 of my T-shirts hanging in that closet.......
were ANTS.
I must have drowned them out, and they came pouring into my closet to escape.

And the more I investigated......
the more I found......
they were on each and every piece of clothing I had hanging there.
So, I had an impromptu morning of fumigating, vacuuming, and laundering!!
Lots of people here are having problems with ants pouring into their homes to get cool and find some water.

Then there's the problem with so many people needing so much electricity to keep their homes cooled.
So we've been warned of possible rolling black-outs to give the power grids a break!!
We've been encouraged to turn out thermostats up, and reduce the number of appliances we use between the hours of 3 and 7 pm.

Because it's so dry and the "grass" looks more like hay, there are burn bans in place.
Many towns around us cancelled their 4th of July fireworks for fear of wildfires.
We haven't had to mow our lawn since May or June because it's basically dead.

Our 5 year old recently ran down the STREET {following his oldest sister} to the neighbors house....
By the time he ran back home, he kept complaining to me that "his feet hurt."
When I realized that he had run.....on the STREET.....bare footed....
I checked the bottom of his feet.
Just as I suspected.
Covering the balls and heels of his feet.
HUGE blisters.
He couldn't walk on them that evening,
and in the morning he was so happy for me to drain the fluid out of them so he could run around again!

Another problem that we {and everyone else} have encountered during this heatwave is.....
It's too hot to go outside to play....just too hot.
So my children are indoors all. day. long.
Thank goodness for VBS and church camp!!

Here are some other ways that we have kept cool and busy this hot, hot summer:

I didn't get 100% participation this year, but 4 of our 6 children completed their summer reading program 
at the library and received a free book, a certificate, and tons of free goodie coupons from local restaurants!
{I think it's significant to notice that neither of my AHDH children are in the above picture!!}

Our local public high school offered free breakfast and lunch to all children under the age of 18 during the months of June and July.
We took advantage of that as many days as we could.
Less mess in my kitchen, a money saver, and it got us out of the house every day!!

Enjoying the fruits of their reading labor!!!

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