Friday’s Weekend Column
About a Minnesota Man Exploring Life in the South

I'm Getting Used To It
by James Glaser
July 25, 2008

I am talking about the heat down here in the South. Some people told me it would take a couple of years, while others said you never do get used to it. I noticed it this past week. I have been working in my woodworking studio, and there is no AC there. I do have a big fan blowing, but I had that last year and suffered.

This year I can work for hours, and that's with the temperature in the high nineties. Up North, in the winter they have a wind chill index that will tell you the thermometer might read 25 degrees below zero, but the wind chill factor makes it feel like 50 below. Down here, they have a heat index, and this week they tell us that it feels like 105 outside.

I don't know what the difference is this year, but the heat isn't getting to me like it did last summer. There are some advantages to the heat. First off, you don't have to leave your clamps on the wood as long as the glue cures faster. Also you can put that second coat of paint on is just a few hours, instead of waiting until the next day.

I do notice though, it is hard to over-water your plants, especially if they are in containers. Also nobody can get used to the heat you feel if you have to walk across a big asphalt parking lot that is in the sun. You can feel the waves of heat coming up.

African Americans down here amaze me. It can be 95 degrees out and there they are walking around in a shirt and tie, or get this, a hooded sweat shirt. Tallahassee, Leon County, and the State all have workers who can work away under the blazing sun. Concrete work is hot work any time, any place, and down here public employees are working it all the time. People tell me that they pace themselves, but I know when that concrete truck comes, you don't pace yourself. You get that truck unloaded, and you have to get everything done you need to before the concrete starts to set up.

One thing that hasn't changed from last summer, and that is staying hydrated. You can bet I am getting my eight glasses of water every day now. In fact I drink way more than that and have Gatorade between those bottles of water. Maybe that's part of the difference this year. I am drinking way more water, and I move that fan around to wherever I am working.

The two universities, FAMU and Florida State are starting their football seasons about now, and I bet it is hot on the practice field. Tallahassee is a football town like no other. When there is a home game in the fall, you don't even want to ride around town. Every place is jammed with people and driving is crazy. On game day, tail gate parties are going from morning till way late at night. Really now, if the city wanted to up its revenue, all it would have to do is start writing DUI tickets on game weekend.

Like the heat, I am getting used to football fever down here and have learned to keep an eye on the schedule, do my shopping mid week, and plan some time at home on game day.

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