Friday’s Weekend Column
Handling the Heat

by James Glaser
August 4, 2006

I still can't get over how warm the rain is down here in Florida. My whole life in the North I would always scrunch up my back when I had to get out in the rain. Up North rains are cold, but down here they are pleasant.

Almost every afternoon we now get a shower. Sometimes it is a hard rain from a little cloud that lasts a few minutes. Other times it is a gentle drizzle that lasts for hours. The other day I washed my car in the rain, and it felt great.

After the rain, when the sun comes back out the humidity spikes up to 99%, and any vigorous action causes you to rapidly perspire. You can get soaked by the rain and then soaked again with your own sweat.

I bought a 42" fan that moves the air through the shop, and I have a smaller one on my work bench. I bought one of those small dorm room refrigerators and have cold water and gator-aid in the shop so I can re-hydrate while working.

There are some advantages of being in the heat and humidity. I never even know I have a bum hip, and my back never seems to hurt, except when I get up in the morning. The heat seems to make all my joints work better.

Now this will get me some letters, but in a really hot humid location, girl watching is a lot better, and that is all I'll say about that.

Yesterday about one in the afternoon I was all worked out. It was, for the first time, too hot for me, so I came home and spent about an hour in the pool. Pools in Florida are about as common as fishing boats in Minnesota. No, the pool isn't heated because it doesn't have to be down here. It is refreshingly cool when you first get in, but after a while you can tell it is warm. Not as warm as the rain though. Last night after it cooled a bit, I went back to the studio and got four good hours in.

I think that will start to be my work schedule now. Start real early and take a break in the afternoon and then go back in the evening. I don't want a siesta, but that late afternoon heat really gets to me. I see people from down here that can really take it, and they tell me in a few years I will be able to. I don't know about that, but I know I can't now.

Cold watermelon in the hot sun is a treat and I have been having a fruit smoothie every day, made with bananas, grapes, peaches, and orange juice. We freeze the fruit and use the orange juice to get the blender going. With frozen fruit, you don't have to add ice to make it cold.

Taking a cold bottle of water and holding it on your neck or wrist cools you right down for a few minutes, and air conditioning is a must. I asked people what it was like when they were kids, with no AC in the schools. They tell me they were kids and the heat didn't bother them. Today all schools have air conditioning. I try driving with out the AC on as it cuts down on mileage, but after a bit I don't care about the mileage and turn it on. To be honest, there have been days that I have taken a ride in the truck just to cool down.

From what I have been told, about October 15th things start cooling down, so Florida summers are about as long as Minnesota winters. I learned how to live in the cold winter, so I guess I'll learn to live in the hot summers. Either one can kill you, you just have to pay attention to what you are doing, or you will be in trouble.

The studio is close to being finished and if the electrician comes this week I'll start work next week. Last night I put a gate in on the stairs to the loft and had to finish up with a flashlight. Tomorrow night is "First Friday" for Railroad Square, and all the studios will be open to the public. Last month we had over 1,100 people show up, even though it was beastly hot out. It will be interesting no matter how many show up, and I am sure I'll get a lot of feedback about my work.

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