To the Point for 8/3/06

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IT’S HOT OUTSIDE.

Now that I’ve told you something that you didn’t already know, much of this column this week is being devoted to me trying to get you not to overdo it and get yourself in trouble with your health or other things.

If you’re a longtime reader of this column, you’ve seen me refer to myself as the “Great Indoorsman” on occasion. My philosophy is: “Why go outside and see nature if you can sit inside and observe it through your window?”

Being the indoor person that I am, it is a constant battle around my house as to who controls the thermostat. Living in a house filled with females, I constantly find myself trying to sneak the temperature down a couple of degrees without getting caught.

I believe that it is instinctive for men to be warm blooded and women to be cold blooded. If the temperature in our home falls below 75-degrees, the blankets come out along with the sweatshirts and cries of “I’m freezing to death!” come from all corners of the Lanman home.

Now, I believe that with some simply logic, we can assess the question of “Would you rather be hot or cold?”

I feel that this is not a question at all, because I would much rather be cold than hot. My reasoning? If you’re cold, you can always put something on to warm yourself.

If you’re hot, there’s only so much you can take off before the neighbors call the authorities – so at that point, you’re just going to have to be hot.

So I personally don’t understand the issue when the women in my house start screaming that it’s too cold. We own plenty of blankets, throws, quilts, and other forms of warmth, so why waste it?

But there are some basic rules to surviving this heat wave:

– The grass is hot, too, so leave it alone.

I often marvel at the people who are out on their riding lawn mower driving around their brown yard. If there’s no rain, then your lawn’s not getting a drink of water, so it’s probably not growing at too fast of a pace.

My advice? Walk to the window. If you can see out, then the grass isn’t high enough to warrant going outside in the heat and cutting it. Also, with gasoline at $3 per gallon, you’re actually doing your country a service by leaving the mower in the barn, and we all want to be patriotic, don’t we?

– Giving stray dogs and cats a drink of water on hot days is the same as adopting them and bringing them into your home.

The same goes for the mailman and any stranger walking down your street.

– People who run need our help. I recently heard someone say: “I run in the morning when it isn’t so hot.” The other morning it was 85-degrees at 7 a.m., and that’s too hot to run.

My advice? When you feel the urge to go for a run, lie down in your air conditioned home until that urge goes away.

– “What we need is some rain” is a myth.

If you were in Switzerland County over the weekend, particularly on Saturday, you will remember that most of the day it was overcast and it looked like rain all day long. Did it rain? No. What it did was make the already hot day so humid that you had to cut off a hunk of air to breathe.

And when we do get rain, all it does is somehow make it hotter. When’s the last time we had a good, soaking rain? For the past couple of years, it’s either drought on monsoon.

Maybe all that “global warming” information might be a good read, now.

– Choose your foods wisely.

Now Ginny Leap in our office is a wonderful person, but she came in on Monday and announced that she had made chili over the weekend.

Chili? I broke out in a sweat just hearing the word.

Now she’s the kind of person who would eat chili everyday if someone would let her, and thankfully no one will. There are just some foods that aren’t “summer foods”, and chili falls into that category.

The first runner up? People who are drinking coffee.

Okay, a cup in the morning, I can understand that, but how about these people walking around with those 55-gallon convenient store insulated cauldrons, sipping their coffee while we all boil?

My mother will drink a cup of coffee at anytime; but she’s my mom, so I can’t tell her how insane that is (oops, she gets this paper). But Ron Downing, he’s fair game. Put the cup down, Ron, back away, and we’ll get through this together.

– Use common sense.

I’ve had some fun here with the weather, but the truth is, when it’s this hot, you have to be careful.

Drink plenty of fluids, keep yourself hydrated. Sodas aren’t the cure, beverages like water and Gatorade will do a better job.

If you don’t have to be outside, then stay inside. If you do have to go outside, use a sunblock to protect yourself. Wear a wide brimmed hat to shade your face, and sunglasses to protect your eyes.

When temperatures climb near triple digits, keep an eye on your neighbors, particularly the senior citizens who live nearby. Take them their mail or water their flowers. Do what you need to in order to help them stay inside and safe from the heat.

If all else fails, call me, after all – I’m relaxing on the sofa, checking out my thermometer through the window.