JD Allinder

Summer in Hell

In Posts on July 8, 2010 at 5:36 pm

This week’s record breaking heat wave has raised misery to new levels. Or maybe I’m just getting old. Jane’s certainly aged from just a year ago. Last summer she never let the heat interfere with having a good time. This year she’s clearly struggling. Her dark fur and absence of an insulating undercoat have pretty much turned her into a wet dish rag.

Today is our fifth straight day of temperatures in the 90s, and I’m beyond uncomfortable. All of my senses seem warped. I feel jetlagged and confused. In a vain effort to keep the house cool, I’ve kept all the blinds closed, and that’s made me feel disconnected, like I’m holed up in a cave. (I hate not being able to see outside.) I feel trapped in some existential nightmare. Pretty dramatic, I know, but that’s how whacked out the extreme heat makes me. (Note to self: never summer in Singapore.) Jane’s right with me, and she hasn’t complained once about lying in front of a fan all day. We’ve got one window unit air conditioner in the bedroom, but after five relentless days of this oppression, our 120-year-old house is as hot as an oven.

So we’ve had to be flexible in our exercise. I’ve trimmed about 30 minutes off each day’s walking, and we’re staying close to home. We’ve been crawling for an hour in the mornings along the river followed by an hour and a half in the evenings when we sometimes ramp it up to a light stroll. Jane’s doing okay as long as she can spend most of her time in the water.

Our evening walks have been mostly off-leash (there’s virtually no one outside) and Jane’s doing really well listening to me, staying with me. Our walks coincide with grazing time for the rabbits and groundhogs – it’s amazing how many of them have adapted to city living – and Jane lives for sniffing them out and chasing them into their holes. (I’m not kidding; it’s the only sport she really cares about anymore.) She’s gotten lots of exercise in these pursuits this week, and I’m so happy that this need of hers is being satisfied, but I’m careful not to let her overdo it. (I’m also careful not to let her catch a groundhog. She’s killed a couple of little ones in her time, but I don’t think she’s a match for some of the 20-pound mammoths I’ve seen.)

This afternoon I was working as usual – in front of the fan with all the blinds closed. When I took a break and peeked outside, I was stunned and excited to see it raining. I got dressed in a flash, and Jane and I took a glorious, full-speed march through the neighborhood and down to Highland Cemetery. It was really heavenly. For the first time in days I could breathe without discomfort. Jane had a little wiggle in her trot. Unfortunately, after 30 minutes the rain stopped, and we found ourselves walking in a sauna. The deer flies came out in full force and swarmed Jane’s front and back ends and tirelessly dive bombed my head. Jane was in full hunting mode, too, and I was afraid she’d have trouble walking the mile or so back home. Fortunately, we came upon a garden hose and I sprayed her down (which she hates, for some strange, unknown dog reason) and we made our way home. Our return trip was as hellish as our outbound was liberating. When we got home, my body was covered in slime. My clothes had to be peeled off like a second skin. Jane and I collapsed on the floor in front of the fan. Within minutes, though, she was recovered, begging for the calories she’d just expended.

  1. Incredible resource. I’m going to suggest this to all of the Phoenix air conditioning companies I know. Thanks again!

  2. Sasha completely understands how you and Jane feel…. Completely.

  3. BTW ~ we’re glad to know you and Jane are still keeping on keeping on since we never see you!

    xxxooo & dog bones

    • Hey, Monica and Sasha. Jane and I have walked over in your ‘hood a couple of times in the past two weeks. There are some beautiful structures and amazing alleys over there. I also met your across-the-street neighbor (whose name escapes me) walking his pup.

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