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89 degrees. Maybe hotter on Potrero Hill. Sometimes these hot spells last for weeks, sometimes just a few days. At the start of every summer I need to re-learn my summer regimen, developed during one particularly hot week a couple of years ago.

Morning: Open the drapes and windows in the (west-facing) living room and turn on the ceiling fan. Turn on the big Vornado to try to pull as much cool air in while it still exists. Open up the sliding door in the (east-facing) office until the sun is up far enough to seep in, then close it and the windows and all of the blinds. Likewise the (east-facing) window in the bedroom. Check the refrigerator to see how much summer tea there is. Most mornings, put more mix (2 parts green tea, 1 part mint, 1 part lemongrass) into a tea ball with 1/2 gallon of water in a mason jar, and place on the back deck to steep. Lower the shade in the kitchen. The high-up kitchen window is probably already open. Take the small Vornado into the office and turn it on.

Afternoon: Start checking the living room. Close the drapes one by one as the sun makes its way over the house and into the room. Close the windows as soon as the air outside is hotter than the inside air. Open the shade over the bedroom window and open it up. Close it again if the air blowing in is hot. Open the shade in the kitchen. At some point in the afternoon it will be safe to open the shades and windows in the office, depending on how much the wood on the deck has heated up, and how hot the air is in general. Offer the cats water with an ice cube in it from time to time if it is particularly hot.

Evening: Open up the office windows all the way and try to pull some cool air into the back of the apartment. As soon as the sun goes behind the hill, open the living room windows and ditto. There's no way to pull air from one end of the house to the other, I've tried. Just do what you can.

Night: Move the small Vornado into the bedroom and face it toward the open window to pull a breeze into the room. In the office, close and lock the sliding door, but leave the windows open. No one can get through them. Close and lock the front windows before bed. Pull the curtains for privacy from the street. Lay in bed in the dark and enjoy the breeze coming into the bedroom, even if it's too cold.

I've had over a quart of summer tea so far today and I'm about to pull today's jar off the deck and into the refrigerator. The cats just loll around the house trying to find a cooler spot. It is hot.

rebecca blood
26 june 2006


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