Tuesday, September 09, 2014

Hot Weather Protocol

It's still regularly above 100 degrees here. Over the years, we've developed our own Hot Weather Protocol for conducting everyday activities in a very hot environment. Most of these are just common sense, once you get used to living in extreme heat 4-5 months out of the year.

Hot Weather Protocol (HWP) includes the following:

- conducting as much errand preparation as possible inside the AC'd house/store/whatever. Gather everything you need, put on all your shoes/hats/sunglasses/whatever, and only THEN exit into the sun. The other day we went shopping. I grabbed the stroller out of the car, Jeremy grabbed Sterling, but we did not stop in the heat to buckle him in until we were inside the store's AC.

- teaching your kids a slightly different way to get help if they're lost. We have taught our kids that if they ever get lost (separated from us) outside, they need to get inside first, and then find someone to help them. It is amazing how fast you can get dangerously overheated and disoriented in high temperatures and direct sunlight.

- walking in the shade, if it's available. Always.

- possibly leaving the car running during quick errands, so the AC keeps things cool in preparation for your return. We actually don't do this one, but a lot of people around here do. Including students, while they're in class.

- if you haven't left the AC running, then that's the first thing that you do when you get back in. You start the car, and you blast the AC. This is the hardest for me when I'm grocery shopping with Sterling. I get back to the car and I have a cart full of groceries and my arms full of baby and the angle to get the keys in the ignition is juuuust out of my reach.

- playing outside at dusk/night. This seems so unwholesome in more temperate climates, but here, it is a necessity. Once the sun goes down, the kids come out.

- sitting outside and sweating like it's no big deal. Your kids are playing, you're out talking with the neighbors, and nobody feels like bringing up the fact that there are rivulets of sweat dripping down their back right this very moment.

- crayons and chocolate are not allowed in the car. Ever.

My favoritest, quirkiest HWP is that we put an ice pack in Sterling's carseat during the three hours the car is parked at church. It's the only regular long block of time that the car is parked outside in an uncovered space, and when you get back in - WOW. It is HOT. The buckles, straps, and cover of his carseat would burn him badly if we didn't cool everything down with one of those re-freezable blue ice packs. We do this every week for him, and every week I can't believe this is something that is normal for us.

This time of year is hot, but at least we're in cooling-down mode. Each day is a little less hot than the one before. Soon, we won't even have to follow Hot Weather Protocol.


Nancy said...

I love the ice pack idea!

Some of it reminded me of The Age of Miracles by Karen Thompson Walker (kind of a post-apocalypse story about how things would be like if the world slowed down). Anyway, she talks about how people adjust to doing their business at night instead of during the day, in order to avoid the heat.

It's funny how things work at the extremes. Living in extremely hot places is like living in extremely cold places, but extremely different, don't you think? When I think of all the quirky things we do in cold places (you know—you've been to cold places) and all the quirky things I've done in hot places (not that I've lived in the UAE, but I visited once and it was...hot) they seem to reach a similar point on the quirkiness scale but at opposite ends of the spectrum. Did that make ANY sense?

Bridget said...

Oh yeah, I was absolutely thinking of Ithaca and Moscow when I wrote this! The things we do in extreme weather are similar in their different ways. Or different in their similar ways. Something like that.

Alanna said...

I grew up in Seattle, where it pretty much never gets very hot. I still remember being shocked when we went to visit family in Las Vegas, and as we were unloading the car, my aunt advised us, "Don't leave your Gameboy in the car! It will melt!"

Living in Virginia now we get some pretty awful days (although I'm sure it's nothing compared to what you're dealing with), and I'm fully on board with starting the AC in the car first. THEN unloading those groceries!

Glenda The Good said...

Check, check, check. Growing up in Arizona I had my own hot weather protocol. Never walk barefoot to the mailbox in the summer. Ever year there would be a day when it finally got so hot that I'd burn my feet running out there...and then I'd have blisters for a week and be like, ok shoes only from now on until winter. Wear the least amount of clothing possible. Wear a hat. Keep oven mitts in the car for when the steering wheel was too hot to handle. Cover my flip flops with a towel at the pool because otherwise they'd get to hot to put back on. Never, ever, ever put my arm on the window seal in the car. Carry lots of water and those dorky fans. Never leave a library dvd in the car. Only play outside after dinner. Run from air conditioning to air conditioning. It gets hot here sometimes but for the most part not like my childhood days. We certainly have cold protocol but for the most part I don't mind it nearly as much. The idea of having to live in hot weather with garments is a serious nightmare for me :(

Susanne said...

I enjoyed reading your HWPs. I don't use the ice pack idea, but I do put a blanket or something over Zach's car seat (if I remember) so the buckles don't get so hot while the sun in shining directly on the car.

Kathy Haynie said...

No chocolate or crayons in the car - so true!! I remember one hot summer day in Los Angeles when my kids were small and their crayons were mostly evaporated after being in a hot car for several hours. Fascinating list - thanks for the post!

Bridget said...

Unfortunately, I usually end up having to load the groceries while holding Sterling, then putting him in the seat, THEN starting the car. I never seem to have enough hands to start the AC first. :(

Bridget said...

Yes, flip flops can get so hot! What is with that? Some of the water parks here don't have sufficient cooling spray on the walkways so you can really burn your bare feet going back up to the water slide.

Bridget said...

We tried the blanket idea first, but it's more than just the sun shining that makes it hot (that's what the blanket will help reduce). It's the actual temperature. So, ice pack. I recommend it for a fun experience - Zach will probably think it's such a treat!

Bridget said...

I'm glad they were evaporated, and not in a waxy puddle on the seat of the car!

Caitlin Carroll said...

Yes, we are slowly learning these things too. It's weird going from Cold Weather Protocol (including things like heating up a rice bag for the kids in the bike trailer and always covering them in a wool blanket) 4-5 months out of the year to HWP. The ice pack is a good tip! What about the girls' car seats though? Do they get just as hot or do you have a less intense way to keep them cool? My kids have been whining about hot buckles lately.

Bridget said...

It's such an adjustment, right?? I remember the heated rice bag days. I did the same in Ithaca.

The girls are in charge of their own ice packs for after church. If they want to bring one, they get one. And they usually do.

Jen said...

Cold Weather Protocol IS equally opposite! For instance, my kids all have winter "car coats," which are just fleece zip-ups that they wear under their bulky winter coats. When you get in the car, you take off the bulky coat so it doesn't interfere with your seat belt or car seat, and you're not freezing to death, either.

I remember visiting my aunt in Arizona when I was in the first grade. I left some crayons on her driveway.....and I got in some trouble.

Sara said...

Love the ice pack idea! How have I lived in Tucson my whole life and never thought of such a thing?!


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