Friday, July 31, 2009

Heat Wave

On the heels of last weeks thunderstorms, we've had a heat wave this week. Vancouver broke the record for the highest temperature EVER on Wednesday but the record only last until Thursday when it was broken again. Since we're not used to these kind of temperatures AC in homes is rare. We have 3 ceiling fans and some portable fans and thankfully a cool(ish) basement to escape to.

Here is what I learned from the heat wave this past week:

1. All modesty is abandoned in favour of wearing the least amount of clothes possible. With each day the downtown business wear got sluttier and sluttier as I would see fewer clothes, and more brassieres showing around skimpy tank tops. I saw more than a few women wearing less that most blushing brides (if there are still some...) on their honeymoon. "Sundresses" were flimsy, see through with plunging necklines. Don't even get me started on the strapless dresses (over sagging boobs) that are in vogue. By Thursday many had abandoned even wearing bras. The men, curiously, still all wore suits but some did walk around carrying their jackets.

2. "Climate-controlled" buses and subways are not controlled in this climate. On my 3 work days I have to decide whether I should walk from the office in stifling heat to the train station or take the subway, which I could walk to quickly and largely in air conditioned malls. However, once I get on the subway it is twice as hot as outside and the humidity was at 90%. And the smell was pungent. I opted for walking in the heat 2 days and the third I braved the subway only to realize I had made the right decision the prior 2 days. The commuter train is thankfully air conditioned but the shuttle bus is a fiery oven made worse by congested traffic. I only made it home with a litre of water to keep hydrated.

3. Appetites are smaller in the extreme heat. So my kids are nibbling a little on toast in the morning and swearing a solemn oath that they are no longer hungry. No amount of cajoling will convince them to take even one more bite. Thirty minutes later one of them would be plaintively crying for food. Hungry one will not be able to articulate what they want so it's a lot of guessing, and then they wander off into some activity when they remember that they were hungry. We find a snack for the hungry child and offer to the other who will deny even a hint of hunger pangs. Until the snack things are put away and then we'll hear "I'm hungry". It's a 16 hour process of giving them with sustenance. I'm thinking of installing some kind of snack machine (think hamster) to provide non stop snacks and water.

4. We Vancouverites like to complain about the weather. A lot. I suppose that this is part of the human condition. Last December and January we had enough snow to look like Buffalo. Or Montreal and we all complained about that. May was an unseasonably cool month and we complained bitterly that we had had a cold winter, where was our summer? Now we are collectively crying uncle as the summer is coming all at once.

5. Inconsiderate neighbours get inconsiderater. We have neighbours who love to have people over. In the summer they eat outside often. They are loud and gregarious and apparently they are very funny as they laugh a lot. They speak in tones loud enough for us to hear every word but since I don't speak Czech, I have no idea what they are saying. The warm nights means more lingering outside. Lately, the man of the house, who has a lovely baritone voice, has been belting out songs so loudly I can't even hear the news on TV. As a general rule they do shut it down at a semi-respectable time, generally just before whatever deadline I told Husband I would let it go to until I say something or call the police. But last night they were cavorting till 11:00 (a weeknight!) and then brought out the stereo to play some tunes. They actually did move the operation inside at 11:30 after I glared at them from my bedroom window but kept the music going for another hour. The perils of city life.

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