Hot, hot heat (or why I didn’t post my menu this morning)

Who knew the weather forecasters were right when they said that our cold, rainy and gray June would turn into a scorching hot and dry summer as we neared July? With temperatures that suddenly hit the 30’s starting on Friday, it is definitely summer now!

I’m actually relieved, as I’ve been so worried about my garden not growing, and now my biggest worry will be just keeping up with the watering and weeding. I was so pleased to return home yesterday afternoon to see that I’ve got some beautiful peas that will be ready shortly, our first strawberries starting to ripen, onions that I could start to use in a week or two (not to mention the tastiest green onion tops I’ve ever tried!), squash and zucchini plants about to flower and watermelon vines poking their heads up (after my first ones died in the cold snap), not to mention the glorious greens, turnips and radishes that we’re already eating. Now I’m just pleading with my tomatoes (which are starting to look healthier), peppers, cucumbers and corn- grow, little plants, grow!

The most difficult part of the heat is actually our current nighttime situation. You see, last night, our two Taiwanese students arrived. Their English names (many Asian ESL students like to take on an English name of their choice) are Isabelle and Vivian, and they are 13 and 14. It seems that overnight I’ve become the mother of not just a toddler and baby, but two teenage girls on top of it all!

Anyways, back to the nighttime situation. We live in a 3 bedroom house, in which our 2 kids normally share a room and we have my husband’s office as a backup room for rough nights. However, taking two students means that we must give up 2 bedrooms, so that each girl can have a private room. Thus, the kiddos have joined us in our room.

Let me paint the picture for you. Last night after dinner, we moved an extra dresser/change table, clothes hamper, diaper pail, child sized mattress and play pen into our room. Abbie will be sleeping on the floor where our reading chairs used to be (which are now crammed beside our night tables), and the plan was for Caden to occupy our small walk-in closet. To state the obvious, our room is crammed full.

Enter scorching, stifling heat in an second story, full exposure house (read: extra hot!) with no air conditioning and only one fan (remember, we moved in from a small condo).

Add to this two children weary from a weekend trip to Seattle (to pick up the necessary van to transport said students) where they both slept poorly and woke early every morning, an extra long, hot drive home yesterday where they both became quite cranky, the upheaval of bedroom rearranging, and our daughter’s excitement and adrenaline over the soon-to-be arriving students.

Now add students who arrived over an hour late due to Visa issues at the airport (so it was past 10:30 when they got in, and we started acquainting them with the house and their rooms), a walk-in closet that apparently becomes hotter and stuffier than we anticipated, and students with jet lag who don’t go to bed until 1:00 am.

The baby woke at around midnight as Ryan and I tried desperately to cool down and get comfortable. We had been blowing the fan straight into Caden’s closet to help him fall asleep, but now needed to find a way to make it work for all 4 of us (fortunately, the students didn’t find it hot- I guess Taiwan is even hotter). We were sleeping in less-than-modest attire due to the heat, so we couldn’t open our bedroom door to get a breeze flowing through the room. It took over a half hour to get Caden to calm down and sleep (using a cool, wet cloth seemed to be the winning solution),

Caden woke this morning at 5:50am. Can I just tell you that I was not so impressed with that?

I nursed him in my bed, and was able to drift back to sleep on and off until nearly 7, as Abbie jabbered away and I knew I had to get up to wake the girls for school. I stumbled out of bed, knocked on their door (oh yes, the kicker- they didn’t want to sleep in separate bedrooms!!! Unfortunately, we have to leave both rooms available for them, should they want the option of their own room).

Breakfast was chaos. I was informed 20 minutes before we needed to leave that one of the students didn’t like sandwiches (my plan for their bag lunches). I frantically made some hard boiled eggs and figured she could take an extra muffin, though in the end she opted to give the sandwich a try, bless her heart. We scrambled out the door for their first day of school, and raced there. We would have made it just on time, if I hadn’t become disoriented in the parking lot (yes, I said the parking lot– it’s a very, very big private school).

I cheerily waved goodbye and set off for my next daunting task… figuring out what to feed these girls, who already showed definite signs of not liking the nutritious food we regularly eat (they didn’t even seem to like my fruit smoothie!).

Two hours later, I walked out of the last grocery store, bearing noodle cups (the kind you add hot water to, and pray that there might be an ounce of nutrition in), sugary individually packaged yogurts, white rice, juice boxes and the like. Sigh… at least they’ll eat it, right?

And that, my friends, is why I did not post my menu plan this morning. I do have a menu plan, I’m just not sure that I have enough energy left to actually make what’s on it!

So, let’s just say that although we are so grateful for the opportunity to host these students (who are really quite sweet girls), we have a few issues to sort through. Food compromises, 2 hours out of every day for me to drive them to and from school (and how I will get done what I need to do, with the extra work on my plate), and extreme nighttime struggles.

Any thoughts as to how we can minimize the lack of sleep for the 4 of us? And cope with the heat, for us and especially for the baby? And find time to blog? 🙂

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  1. Do you have a basement? Basements are always cooler to sleep in. If its not private enough, you could rig up a curtain type of thing with some sheets to section off an area. Maybe its not finsihed though…but you might be desperate enough to lay some blankets down on the floor and then a mattress or something and use it anyways. LOL or a tent outside. 🙂 No really, that is my DH’s solution. I thought it might make you laugh.

    Have a cool bath before bed seems to help me too. We got another fan at a garage sale, thankfully. Maybe you can try to find a deal on another one? I used to bathe my baby in coolish water before bed and then dress her in just a diaper and onesie.

    I find that keeping windows shut during the day and open at night helps…the day’s heat doesn’t come in and the cool night air does. Also having curtains on the windows shut in the daytime (especially in the bedrooms, where its easier to do as you’re not in there much during the day). Cooking outside, not using the oven, or using a crockpot also helps the temperatures stay cooler in the house.

    I hope it improves for you soon. I wish we could have some heat here…my garden needs it too! I am sure we will get some eventually…

  2. I just wrote a huge post about how we cool off our new house and I somehow lost it. Maybe we could have a phone conversation if your interested. I don’t have the time to repost now. Sorry!

  3. I really feel for you! That sounds like a nightmare at times. I’ve read that you can cool a room off more if you fill a bowl with ice cubes place them in front of a blowing fan. Supposedly,the fan will blow the (steam? condensation?) from the ice and cool a room down quicker. Hope this helps. I admire the patience you have to host other kids. I think it’s great! God bless you!

  4. We also do not have a/c and we have hit the 90’s this past week. Here are a few things we do to keep the nights bearable:
    * take a cool (as cold as you can stand) shower before bed and do NOT blow dry your hair
    * our house gets full afternoon sun in the most used rooms of the house (kids’ bedroom, kitchen and playroom) so we do not open any windows, blinds or curtains until around 6:30 pm. Then we open them all to get as much circulation thru the house as possible until bed. If it isn’t going to rain during the night we leave our window and the office window open (for cross-breeze) and close all the downstairs windows (for safety). Keeping the bedroom doors open during the night helps A LOT because of the cross-breeze.
    * We have a stand fan in the living room (purchased for around $30) and it sits in front of the window to circulate the air it pulls in.
    * We have small desk top type fans in the bedrooms and we point them directly at us/kids.
    * We dress our kids in diaper/underwear and shorts only. No shirts and remove the comforters/blankets from the bed.
    * Keep a water bottle with mostly ice and a little water in it on your bedside table and have a sip if you wake up hot.
    * Last summer, we also purchased something called a ‘swamp cooler’ here, better known as an air cooler. It’s portable and you fill the basin with 1/2 ice and 1/2 cold water and then it runs a fan over the mixture and blows the air into the room. It has several different speed options, an oscillating fan and will run for about 10 hours before it needs to be refilled. It beeps really loudly when it’s low (so you don’t have to worry about remembering). If you live in a dry climate, it works wonders, however, if you have high humidity, I wouldn’t recommend it because it just makes it more humid. We love it and it was about $90 including shipping.

    Here’s another tidbit I picked up in a magazine article. The fastest way to cool your body off is to cool your blood. Dip your hands in ice water making sure to submerge your wrists (veins near the surface), which will in-turn cool your blood a little, thus cooling your entire body off a bit as your blood circulates. Keep your hands in the cold water as long as you can stand for maximum benefit.

    Sorry for such a long comment. Hope something I said helps.

  5. Hey Steph,
    Fill an ice cream pail full of ice cubes or a block of ice and have it blow directly under your fan. We did this in our car when our air conditioning was broken and I was pregnant with Kariisa. It works best for whoever is closest to the ice.

  6. Spray bottles! Not for the baby, but for you and your hubby. Fill them with ice, then as they melt you can spray yourself down. I started this when our A/C went out while I was pregnant with our youngest, and it helps a ton.

  7. This is a little tacky to look at, but if it’s only for a short time it may help. We put tinfoil over the window in our bathroom that gets almost constant sun. It reflects the heat back outside and keeps the room drastically cooler. We tried it for the first time a bit skeptically but we were amazed when it cooled the room off by at least 10 degrees! I taped it inside the window frames so that the window can still be opened & closed as needed.

  8. I keep noticing a re-occurring theme on the ice cubes in front of a fan technique. We filled a milk jug 3/4 full of water and freeze it. We stick that in a bowl (to catch the condensation) in front of a fan to cool off our son’s room. the next day, we just pop the jug back in the freezer. Works great!

  9. These are all great ideas! You know, it seems everyone else has heard of it, but I had never heard of putting ice or water with ice in front of a fan. It’s a fabulous idea, though!

    I’ve definitely been inspired, and we did much better last night- thanks!

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