Monday, July 17, 2006

You said it, Jane Austen

What dreadful hot weather we have! It keeps one in a continual state of inelegance.

-Jane Austen, in a letter from 1796

Boy, that Jane Austen knew what she was talking about. I’m not sure how the July weather in Connecticut compares to the English summers she experienced, but we certainly share this sentiment. It is pretty hot here these days. The heat doesn’t compare in objective terms to the Texas summers I’ve lived with up until last year, but it seems to affect life more because so few places have air conditioning. Both our house and my office have less-than-ideal cooling systems. The physics building on the Yale campus has some old-timey pumped air system that does take the edge off but does not give the Arctic blast that central AC can muster. Our house has nothing but the two window units that we have acquired-- one in our bedroom, one in our little study. I will admit to having dawdled recently running errands at the grocery store or Target in their blissful icy air.

Like Jane Austen, I find all this heat to have a negative effect on my appearance. My hair is a bit challenging these days since I absolutely cannot bear to turn on the hair dryer. The challenge is increased since I swear 25% of my hair has fallen out since the last time I blogged. Postpartum hair loss, anyone? I have an appointment for a haircut next week that should improve the situation. And don’t get me started on my skin... Inelegance would be putting it kindly.

We’ve gotten creative with cooking in the hot weather since the usual cooking appliances (stove, oven) exacerbate the problem. A lot of grilling has taken place; Robert is becoming quite skillful at the manly art of grilling meat. The other cooking appliances I am currently employing are the slow cooker, the microwave, the rice cooker, and the bread machine. They don’t put out nearly as much heat as the stove or oven. I think Rob is getting tired of the limited cooking mechanisms, but I find myself not caring too much. Me, who normally loves to plan meals and cook and eat. It’s too hot to really eat much. I think this is contributing to an acceleration in my pregnancy weight loss (which is going well, thank you) but is probably tempered by the fact that a large component of my diet right now would fall under the heading of “Frozen Desserts”. Ice cream, popsicles, sorbet, etc. So much colder and more refreshing than actual food, don’t you think? Maybe we should get an ice cream maker to add to our funny collection of countertop appliances.

Grace doesn’t seem too affected by the heat, which is good. She does get cranky if she gets too hot. She then wants to be held, which makes her hotter, which increases the cranky factor. A tactical retreat to the air conditioned bedroom is then called for. Nursing in the side-lying position under the blast of the AC unit is not a bad way to beat the heat. I recently packed up some of her tiny newborn clothes and it was weird to realize how cold it was back in February. We would dress her in a onesie and a warm zippered sleeper outfit and socks. So many layers! It is fun to have more of her delightful baby self out for us to enjoy now. Her toes are much easier to nibble now that it is summer and she is largely sockless. Delicious baby toes!

I try to regularly remind myself that I don’t have to live through too much summer, unpleasant though it be. We really had quite a mild beginning to summer and it has been out-and-out hot for just a number of weeks. And most likely there are only about 6 more weeks until it turns comfortable again for our air-conditioning-free life. That’s not so bad, right? Six weeks is nothing, right? I won’t melt away into a pool of sweaty organic matter before then, right?