It’s Not the Heat – No, Wait, It IS The Heat

Kage Baker, as I have noted several times, loved heat. She did very well in it, wisely hydrating religiously and never over-exposing herself to unmitigated sun.

A standing fan, silk lounging pajamas, and a secure supply of iced drinks, and she was set. She stayed chipper and productive while I was lying on the couch faint with hypothermia and moaning endlessly. And annoyingly, I am sure.

I’m not at all certain Kage ever even sweated.

The last several years, climate change has been unkind to California. Mind you, we haven’t had killer storms, city-choking snow, state-wide floods or such horrors as now annually proliferate in the Midwest and the East Coast. But our fire season now runs all-year long, and the summer months are the very worst. In this last week, as the heat has grown daily, we have had dozens of small fires alongside freeways and in parks. But the worst is the heat.

California is warm; everyone knows that. We are nothing really but a gussied-up sub-desert. Days in the 80’s and 90’s are not unusual even in winter, and can run uninterrupted during the summer months. We have established ways to deal with that (water parks, pool parties, ice cream trucks), and can even put up with a week’s worth of triple digit heat without quite descending into dystopian chaos.

Flex Alerts help, too, wherein we just don’t use unnecessary electricity during peak hours. Mind you, I personally think too few people pay attention to those, and they should be more stringently enforced. Possibly with vigilante forces … Light your living room with candles for the evening. Prepare cold meals early in the day; who can eat in the heat anyway? Do your laundry in the morning, and run the dishwasher after midnight; and no, your electric toothbrush, hair dryer and home theatre are NOT vital to your life. Take a cool shower, and make it a Navy shower while you are at it. Read a book by lantern light; it’s romantic.

Yeah, I sound self-righteous. That’s because 1) I and my family do all these things and more to accommodate Flex Alerts; and 2) I can’t reach anyone to enforce my autocratic rule anyway, so I tend to sound off more loudly. And it’s also due to the fact that the entire West Coast and environs is under a heat advisory, which is not expected to let up until the other side of this weekend. I am nervous, enervated and cranky.

This makes us all grumpy, and listless, and really rather mean. Mind you, Kimberly keeps the center of the house at a quite comfortable temperature, through a clever deployment of our one AC unit and various fans. The electricity usage is as minimal as we can make it, and still be cool enough to eat and sleep. But these are the days when the cats melt, and the parrot fusses, and we humans chug cold drinks and eat finger foods that don’t demand cooking. The kitchen gets at least 6 hours of sun this time of year, and it’s a furnace even without turning the oven on.

At present, it is really rather nice in the living room – dark and pleasantly cool. We are spending our evening by the light of the television and our various computers. When we can see the screens, anyway, The cats like to lounge in front of them, and Kimberly is even now scrolling over the limp black form of our new kitten, Edward. Being a Maine Coon, Edward is not only excessively fuzzy but a truly ridiculous length stretched out like this.

Aside from observing our pets loll about, and debating a choice of cold gin cocktails, I haven’t really done a damned thing today. I will, Dear Readers, tomorrow for certain. At least, I plan to do … something. Anything, as long as it’s creative. I don’t feel at all creative in this blood sapping heat, but I do feel the nagging urge to be creative somehow. It may be time to take up a new knitting project – starting a new one will give a few days before the project takes over my lap and I die of heat exhaustion …

So, not a lot to boast about, talk of or anticipate tonight: only a hope that we may all stay cool enough to rest and not get burned out by an escaped verge fire from one of our ubiquitous ant-trail freeways … stay chill, Dear Readers.

And remember, a gin and tonic will be your friend, if you will let it.

About Kate

I am Kage Baker's sister. Kage was/is a well-known science fiction writer, who died on January 31, 2010. She told me to keep her work going - I'm doing that. This blog will document the process.
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