Coffee heat rising

The not-enough-long-green blues

{sigh} Over at Room Farm, Chance was  down in the dumps yesterday, worried about paying off the ginormous debt and feeling overwhelmed by all those little chores given to piling up if your attention is even briefly distracted. Annoying computer is again not letting me speak on Room Farm…some days it works, others it doesn’t. But her remarks do bring to mind the general summer doldrums, not the least of which is the not-enough-long-green blues.

In these parts, summer breeds cabin fever as surely as winter does for our snowbound brethren in the upper Midwest. Today the thermometer on my back porch reached a balmy 115 degrees…and believe me, you’d have to be balmy to go out in that. This leaves you inside the house, contemplating—what else? Your dreary budget and your prospects for penury, a horror show aggravated by the astronomical costs of an Arizona summer. The air-conditioner, set at 82, has been pounding steadily the entire day. Just to keep the potted plants alive, I’ve had to run water every. single. day for weeks—today being Saturday, it’s deep-watering day, so in addition to dumping the daily drench on all the potted plants, the roses and citrus need have water dribbled on them for hours. And a pool loses about an inch and a half to evaporation every day; that has to be replaced daily, lest the pump suck air and self-immolate. I’m going to have to borrow against my first-born child to pay this month’s water and power bills!

I’m turning into a mummified pickle sitting here in front of the computer all day. Other than work, work, and more work, there’s precious little to do. And boredom breeds inaction: the product of sitting on one’s duff all day is generally another day of sitting on one’s duff.

An unexpected visit from my neighbor Harriett reminded me of this. She knew the previous owners well and was curious to see how the house has changed since they left. As I was giving her the grand tour, I remembered that I hadn’t cleaned in four weeks! Old papers, junk, books, piles of shoes (bad habit: leave them on the floor wherever you slip them off your feet!), dog dunes, dirty dishes, unmade bed…eeeeeek!

I realized I need to get this place cleaned up, and then I need to get out of it. Sitting here in my own litter enjoying a blue funk is not a good thing. But…I also realize I can’t afford to spend money entertaining myself. Kathy and I are going to a chamber music concert next weekend, only ten bucks apiece—but that’s about it. I’m broke: can’t afford a cleaning lady, can’t afford to go out, can’t afford to travel, can’t even afford to fill my car’s gas tank without running the budget into the red.

Well, yesterday I scrubbed the joint from stem to stern, and that actually made me feel somewhat better. Then I decided to make a list of things I can do to avoid premature brain-death.  Here are a few ideas that came to mind:

Mall-walking. Some of the covered malls around here open at 7:00 in the morning for folks who would like to get a little exercise without expiring of heat exhaustion. La Maya and I have already started doing this; but it’s not necessary to have a walking buddy to enjoy this free activity. Just keep moving so you don’t have time to look at the (closed!) stores.

Free or low-cost community activities. Next Saturday I’m going on a photo walk with Paradise Valley Community College staff and students.

Take a hobby outdoors. When the extreme heat breaks (it will, as soon as the monsoon rains start), I intend to take a few pencils and a pad of paper to the park to do some drawing.

Invite friends to a casual (read “inexpensive”) dinner. M’hijito is entertaining me and friends at his house next weekend: smoked spareribs with whatever veggies and salad we can come up with.

Clean house. Yah, I know: bleagh! But it’s amazing how much a tidied-up and clean environment changes your outlook on life.

Visit a museum on “bum’s night.” Many museums open for no admission one day per week or per month.

Window-shop in commercial art galleries. Restrain yourself from buying, and this activity can be every bit as interesting as a tour through a contemporary art museum.

Take the dog for a walk. It’s free.

Play with the cat. Also free.

Wrap up your breakfast or dinner and go on an early morning or sunset picnic. Costs no more than you would have spent for food, anyway.

Volunteer. Serving up chow at the local food bank may make your own circumstances look pretty good while it gets you out of the house and into contact with other human beings.

That’s about as much as I’ve managed to dream up. What do you do to chase away the not-enough-long-green blues?

3 thoughts on “The not-enough-long-green blues”

  1. We’ve had a record-breaking summer here. To add to above: I go to the places with good air-conditioning. That would be the public library and Goodwill, which just got an upgraded system. Both have been packed! Often libraries have films, lectures, etc.

    Last night, we walked downtown, which had some music for Bastille Day.

    I never go to the mall, and the closest one is 30 minutes away, but I would mall walk if I had one close.

  2. I was going to mention the library, but ‘scholar’ beat me to it – the computer room is over run with kids who are trying to get out of the heat, too. But the reading room is blessedly quite and cool.

    BTW, up here in KS, we are ‘only’ at 102 F – but with 90% humidity. Think sauna – with your clothes on.

  3. @ threadbndr: Good grief! 102 with 90% humidity would be stifling. We suffocate when we have 30% humidity.

    When I lived in Arabia, we were right on the Persian Gulf, and temperatures did rise into the 90sand 100s with humidity so high water would precipitate out of the air. I remember as a little girl standing in the yard under a clear blue sky when it started to rain. And in the mornings, water would be dripping off the eaves as though it had rained (it hadn’t: it was just dewfall) and pooling in puddles near the house. Little kids didn’t know any better, but our parents must really have suffered in weather like that.

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