Way down here in the Heat Stroke State we are enjoying a heat index of 108ºF today. We Texans use our summer heat as a conversation starter, joke incubator and a badge of honor. Just walk into any public establishment and someone will catch your eye and say, “Hot out there, idn’t it?” Then, of course there are those who try to expand on the classic “It’s hot enough to…” Surviving a Texas August is no easy feat. Physically and psychologically, it’s our version of being snowed in, like those winters in South Dakota. Only with rivers of sweat.
Weathering August in Texas requires a commitment to hydration, the slowing down of your usual routine, and a willingness to use your life savings for your increased cooling bill. Mooching from a friend with a pool doesn’t hurt, either.
This time of year, my mind gets fuzzy and apathy is the general state in which you will find me. The only real relief comes with the first mini-cold snap we get around the last week of September, when the temperature drops down to a positively breezy 89ºF. Until then, I find that salsa and chips help me; something about eating spicy food makes all the sweating worthwhile. Pair it with a mojito and you’ve got a party. But. You still have to hydrate: water, water, water or you will get sick, sick, sick. Here are seven things that suffered in the heat.
1) My Yard
The above photo is from my garden. My husband, who is handy with a garden hose, didn’t want me to post this because he thinks it reflects badly on him as my yard boy. It doesn’t. In Texas, everyone’s yard looks like this right now. Well, except for Lance Armstrong’s.
2) My Brain
I keep running into people I know while doing back-to-school shopping. We smile and chat. We ask how everything is going and say good-bye with more smiles and well-wishes. Then I spend the next day-and-a-half trying to remember exactly who those lovely people might be. I look forward to the return of my memory when the weather cools.
I have not turned on my oven in about 7 weeks. I have been “assembling” dinner, more than cooking it. Tuna salad, fruit plate with ham and cheese, chef’s salad and cold cereal have all been on the menu lately. In my desperation to keep the house cooled and my family fed, I even fried some chicken strips the other day. The kids wanted Happy Meals, so I made Mommy Happy Meals at home. Not to be confused with Mother’s Little Helper, of course.
I’m going to try this recipe for fried rice from Mark Bittman the next time I have leftover rice. Economical, yummy and kid-friendly. Don’t have the veggies listed? Use what you have and it will still turn out well.
5) Our Phone
The base station to our home phone fried in a storm two days ago and I haven’t been able to get a new one yet. They were out of the one with four extensions at the local WalMart, so that means a wait or a trip into Austin to Costco. No my house is not huge, but yes, we need four extensions because when two haven’t been recharged and another is in the bowels of a piece of furniture, then I NEED that fourth extension.
Check out the Southern Fried Science blog by some graduate students in North (and South) Carolina. I don’t know half the stuff they’re talking about, but they make it seem fun!
If you’re going to drag out your cast iron skillet to fry something, there is nothing worthier for your efforts than Fried Green Tomatoes. If you can resist eating them straight from the skillet (watch your tongue!) then put them in a sandwich. Mmmmm-mmmmmm!