Arts and Entertainment

Stay cool


How can we stay cool in this "hot" weather? It may take some pre-hotness thought, energy and cash investment to stay personally cool. 

Do insulate your home everywhere possible, including the floors. Do carry a tissue packet to wipe away any feeling of perspiration (or contain an allergy sneeze). Have the mindset that it isn't hot. You want to appear perky. 

It is expensive to have a special summer wardrobe and it takes up closet space in the winter. In Sequim, we have such a short part of summer that is hot. Just keep a few basic cool garments from year-to-year. 

(This also will save you money to use for long-wearing winter fashions.) 

Another stay-cool tip is to wear cotton — not silk or polyester.

Iced drinks can be refreshing and cooling. You should have your iced tea, iced mocha, etc., for your well-being. Follow doctor's orders for eight or more glasses of water daily. You may be running to the bathroom more often. It will cool you to wash your hands with cold water and run it on your wrists. 

Then, there is the electrical energy ($$$) used by air conditioners or even electric fans. Turn them off when you aren't using them and you will save energy. Motors give off heat. For a demonstration, stand beside the side of your refrigerator when it is running to make the inside cool. 

Some home heating systems have a central fan that can move the air throughout your home. This is most efficient with cool air coming from a lower level. Hand fans have gone out of fashion, probably because they take your energy to keep waving them. They should be called face fans. 

Moving air promotes evaporation, which will be cooling. 

If you want to keep your body heat low, you may want to try the following:

Want to stay cool to sleep? Lightly sprinkle your bottom bed sheet with water (or cologne). The evaporation is cooling. Also, precede with a "spit bath" using cool water on your damp washcloth. Don't dry yourself and wear very lightweight night clothes. Again, it is the evaporation factor. 

If you are where it is private and safe, you sometimes can sleep under the stars. They are very light-weight and serve nicely for energy-saving night lights. Clouds and fog may prove uncomfortable. 

Cucumber slices on your eyes are cooling, but you can't see during the daytime. This won't bother you at night. If they drop off when you sleep, they can even become a cool midnight snack. Face cream will help keep you beautiful (or handsome), but if you really want to be cool, save money by leaving it off. Gently wipe your face with ice water to firm it. Leave your face damp to be cool. To be really brrrrr cool, hold an ice cube under your arm pits — or between your thighs. Oh, oh. Maybe not there. 

Confine your hair during the day and when you sleep. Your hair is warming when you are trying to keep cool. It will cool your head if you wash your hair at night. Of course, you might frighten everyone at work the next day if you leave it loose, so try setting it loosely.

Try turning off your electric blanket. My husband turned on our window exhaust fan because he woke up hot. No wonder! He had the electric blanket set on high. He was too cool when he went to bed.

For you to keep cool, have your dog or cat sleep away from your body, if they are bed buddies. In the winter, your dog next to you is an energy-saving warming technique. That is when you encourage his body warmth next to you on your couch or on your lap. Kitties work well, too. All these pets cost is love, food and water, vet visits, special beds everywhere in your home, bathing, brushing, grooming, protecting them from firecracker noise, and keeping them cool in hot weather. Do keep their water bowl filled with fresh cool water. Our dog loves crushed ice. It cools our hands, too.

If all else fails, you are exhausted, and you have no air conditioner or fan at home, try sleeping in your car. This would be safest in your garage, but it is likely hotter there. The house and your own bed will then seem much better using the above suggestions. 

Exhaust fans are great when secured in a strategically placed and insulated open window. They can pull in the cooler night air into your home when you open windows judiciously to circulate air throughout your home. Close windows during the day, and darken your rooms with drawn curtains. If your home is well insulated, it will remain about 10 degrees cooler than the outside temperature — maybe more.
If there is a way to install an exhaust fan in your ceiling, you can further cool your home by clearing out hot attic air. Be sure there are open vents in your attic to ventilate it summer and winter. 

UV treated window glass does prevent color fade. It does not prevent heat coming through glass. If you have UV glass, again, close your window shades and enjoy your colorful decor. The TV will give you enough light. 

Remember that heat rises, so try to be in the lowest possible place wherever you are. Try reading The Sequim Gazette while you lie on your carpet. You can spread a sheet, dampen it, turn the fan on yourself and enjoy floor pillows. You might even enjoy a nap with those curtains closed. 

Youngsters will enjoy having you at their level and might join you for a nap. 

Have you noticed that church choir lofts are often higher than the audience and the singers robed for uniformity? Then it gets hot. You will then see no robes followed by no choir during the hot months. Costly air conditioning is avoided, but the bulletin can serve as a needed personal fan. Did you know that choir members are likely forbidden to use those electric personal fans? They make too much noise. Remember, too, motors produce heat.

Avoid as much work as you can. Let the air move — not you. Pushing the vacuum or sweeping and dusting will all raise your blood pressure and increase your temperature resulting in feeling hot. Let the dust bunnies rest until it is cooler. They love you and tend to stay close. 

Eat at an air-conditioned restaurant; otherwise, you are opening the refrigerator door to get out food causing the motor to run more. You are running back and forth preparing the food and even cooking over heat. By the time you have dinner ready, perspiration is running down your face. See? You have a very good excuse to eat out, preferably during the hottest part of the day. 

Forget ironing. If you still sprinkle any fabric to iron, put those items into sealed plastic bags and store them in your freezer. I've had some in the freezer for two years or more. It will wait for you. Maybe I'll shake out these antique linens and donate them to charity. There! I've gotten an income tax deduction by doing nothing. Of course, they may not accept these gifts unless ironed. Oh, well. Maybe, I'll iron them next winter. 

Try washing and drying clothes at night to keep the related heat and moisture less relevant. If you must do this during the day, close the door to that room — isolate the heat. Do close the door to unused rooms (curtains closed, of course) so that they become insulation. 

Open your house to cool during the early morning hours before the sun rises when it is the coolest. Close up when the sun rises.

During the day, of course, you must go shopping in an air-conditioned store by driving in your air conditioned car — no air-conditioning, no shopping. The cost of extra gasoline for air-conditioning doesn't count. You may want to find a job in an air-conditioned setting. Avoid stores or theaters that are "air cooled." People there are hot too and the more people, the hotter it will get.

My family lived in hot, hot Kansas and Chicago. We moved to Seattle, surviving those very hot complainable days that are moist 80-plus degrees utilizing an exhaust fan at night with daytime ceiling and floor fans. Then my husband and I retired to Sequim, where the average temperature day and night year-round is 40 degrees.

It took me eight years to get out of wool clothes in the summer when we moved to Seattle. In Sequim, take along a sweater every night in the summer. No air conditioners, but we still use our exhaust fan — lesson learned in Kansas. 

Ree Huston is an author and "human ecologist." Reach Huston at
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