When I was a kid, my sainted mother had what, at this far remove, seems like endless patience with us children. All one hundred and five of us. During the summers when she was in graduate school we'd all be home for summer too. We'd have friends over. We'd have fights with those friends. We'd laugh and cry and break things and paint on the walls -- ACCIDENTALLY. We howled and galumphed, shrieked and sang, ran and fell and crashed into things, and through it all Captain Mommypants kept her cool. Though she'd often look up at the ceiling and announce to the heavens, "That's it. I'm changing my name and moving to Australia," we all couldn't help but notice that she never really did change her name. Or move to Australia. Nope, she stayed right there with us in North Carolina, and on the days when we were truly unruly, she simply locked us out of the house with a cooler full of water, a handful of plastic cups, and a roll of toilet paper.
"DO NOT COME BACK IN THIS HOUSE UNTIL I RING THE DINNER BELL, YOU BUNCH OF BANSHEES!" she'd bellow, steam billowing from her ears.
"But Moooooooooom," we'd whine musically, en masse. "What if we get hungry, or get a cut on our knees, or have to go number two?" (Frantic batting of very cute eyelashes, dimpling of plump and pinchable cheeks.)
Mom would take a deep breath and cast about for the frayed remnants of her patience. "If you get a cut, you may come inside to clean it. If you have to go number two, you may come inside to use the toilet. But if you flush before I can verify that you did indeed go number two and weren't trying to pull a fast one on me, you will spend the rest of your life folding laundry. Now GO OUTSIDE AND PLAY." And the door would slam rather emphatically and we'd be stuck outside in 94 degree heat and 80% humidity for the rest of the day. Which, in the end, I'm awfully glad we were. Sure, my knowledge of pop-80s television shows and music is sadly deficient, but we had so much fun playing in the woods that, really, who cares. Plus, I built up a rather nifty and thoroughly useful immunity to the heat.
Did you catch that last bit? The part about the rather nifty and thoroughly useful immunity to the heat. Yes, well. Ahem. About that. (Commence noisy weeping.)
We here in Austin are on our 66th day of over-100-degree heat today. SIXTY-SIX DAYS. That's NINE WEEKS. TWO MONTHS AND A WEEK. We have broken, at this point, every known record for egregious heat conditions on the books for Austin since they first started keeping records back in 1854. Hottest June on record? We killed that record. Hottest July? Mark it down. Hottest August? Already done it, and the month isn't even over. Hottest summer? You betcha. That's 66 days, and that's not even counting the dozens of days where the temperature stayed at 99 or 98, which is still effing hot. And that rather nifty and thoroughly useful immunity to the heat I once possessed? It is currently lying on the ground outside, a badly-beaten quivering pulp of jelly, having offered what turned out to be futile resistance to the overwhelming ass-kicking Mother Nature is handing it this summer.
In my never-ending quest to find an adequate coping mechanism, I've tried just about every trick on the books. I soak a bandana in cold water and drape it around my neck when I walk the dog. I spend inordinate amounts of time at Barton Springs, submerging myself in the perpetually 68 degree water (ooooh, shivers of deliciousness). But you know where the best help has come from? You're never going to guess:
See, told you. I bet you didn't guess Marilyn Monroe. I know, who would've thought it, but it's true! Have you ever seen The Seven Year Itch? Here's a really short scene that captures the ethos of my life this summer: the desperate search for ways to stay cool.
Marilyn offers a few other solutions over the course of that movie, most of which involve traipsing about New York in all of her scantily-clad glory (remember the subway scene?). There is one solution, however, that I've found quite effective, and I'm here to share it with you today, my sweet petunias, so that the next time you're concerned that the blood in your head might boil your brains, you too can try it. Marilyn Monroe recommends keeping your unders in the icebox."(Imagine it: breathy voice, suggestively waggling eyebrows, twitching lips, sultry smile: "Oooh, I keep my unders (pant, pant) in the icebox! (Squeal, giggle.) It's simply delicious!")
Unders in the icebox, I thought, the first time I saw that movie. Why that's preposterous! Whoever would do such a thing? Well I'll tell you who, blog. Me. I finally got hot enough that I thought, hmmm, what was that thing Marilyn Monroe said about keeping your unders in the icebox? Why I think I'll try it!
And it was lovely, blog. Just lovely. For the 3.5 nanoseconds before my body heated them right back up again, those cool unders were amazing. However, I recommend not freezing bras that employ... how shall I say this delicately... gelatinous structural supports for the poorly endowed? They turn kind of lumpy when they freeze. Not that I would have any experience with that, mind you. Pure speculation, that's what that was. Harumph.