I’m sitting in a dark place, sopping wet – on purpose: because of a heat wave.
We are in the midst of a week-long, possibly historical weather event with an excessive heat advisory across Washington state. Over the mountains to the west, it’s slightly better but still hot.
Looking at a heat index map, we are smack-dab in the middle of a region marked by a deep red color – the darkest and hottest – according to the legend.
The thermometer inside is pegged past 90° and the one outside reads 105° in the shade.
Leave butter out for any length of time and it’s broken down into its various liquid components. Cheese sweats profusely. Hell, I think my clock is doing the same, Salvador Dali-style; or it’s that hit of acid I took when I was sixteen finally coming back to haunt me.
We’ve closed all of the windows and hung tarps as a canopy in front of the fifth-wheel to see if we can cut a few degrees from the highs. The tarps make us look classy.
The solar power system is loving this. We are running an electric energy hog of a refrigerator (long story), and everything else on it. The inverter alarm was constantly going off but we discovered that four of our panels were off-line and fixed the problem.
The cats only come out at night. I don’t know where they go during the day. They simply “appear” at about 6:30p.m. or so, after the temperature gauge is well into its journey back down the scale.
Since we can’t disappear during the day like them, our main defense is water, or keeping wet.
Here are a few ways we do that:
- The livestock trough: what I bought last year after my first swimming pool debacle The Pool. It’s a big tub meant for watering animals but it works just fine as a dunking pool. I’m using the now-defunct swimming pool filter/pump and bleach to keep the water from turning green.
- The sprinkler: hold the hose up and make it rain on yourself.
- The garden mister: a larger version of the spray bottle.
- Lakes or rivers: there are plenty around here; just get there early and plan on scaling a nearly vertical slope in places to get to the water.
Another option is our Generac 5500XL generator. It could easily power an RV air conditioner but we need to wait until the first of next month to pick up heavier duty cords – when the worst of this has already passed.
But we’re in for a lot more according to longer-term forecasts.
In addition to the current heat wave, a drought is forecast for this summer and we’re ready to dig the spring deeper if it gets low.
Wildfires are a danger in weather like this. Oregon currently has three active ones. They got torched along with California last year. I finally bought personal property insurance after several local fires came a little too close. We need to finish trimming the lower branches of our trees as a fire deterrent.
It’s 3:00 p.m. – still three hours of rising temperatures until the red on the thermometer begins to slowly fall for the day. It doesn’t fall enough. Sleep is difficult. The temperature has risen two degrees since I began writing.
We in the Pacific Northwest aren’t the only ones cooking. I was originally indoctrinated to be skeptical of global warming but what I’m seeing year after year with my own eyes and what I’m gathering from credible sources has lead me to have a more open mind on the subject.
My latest thoughts are that we, as humans, need to get our shit together soon.