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Heat Wave
8:33 a.m. - 2002-08-09

I once read an article in a "woman's" magazine about the effect of stress on a person. The idea was that the more stressful events you have happen to you within a period of time, the worse off you are. Stressful items do not necessarily have to be sad or scary; happy events can be stressful too. Major life events and changes are what they were referring to. So in the past year a lot has happened to my life, including a new job after decades spent as a stay-at-home mom, death of a parent, children off to college, September 11, plus a host of minor annoyances. And yet I am not crushed with stress related illness - as a matter of fact, I have gotten more resilient and am looking forward to the future.

Today it is going to be very hot. I hate the hot, but this air conditioner works pretty well for a wall unit. Some of the ladies at work were talking about how hard it is to sleep at night because they turn off the AC to save money. I told them that the one non-negotiable thing in my life is that I refuse to suffer the heat to save money. I have gone without new clothes or new shoes for years on end, which is not too bad, but I refuse to sweat just because someone else wants to save a few bucks. This is because we were living in the East when my first daughter was born, and there was a very intense and lengthy heat wave that lasted almost two months with temperatures over ninety and high humidity. One morning I woke up and it was 94 degrees at 6:30 in the morning with 94 percent humidity. We only had a little lame wall unit AC in the living room. Some days the only way to survive was to take a shower an hour. Sometimes I would drive around in the car just to have the car AC blast on me. Afterwards both my husband and I wondered why we just did not go buy another AC unit for the bedroom, we were too cheap or poor or busy with the baby. Anyway, I told him that I would never suffer in that way again, that for the rest of my life I would run the AC when I want and where I want. Like Scarlet O'Hara, as God is my witness, I will never be hot again! However, I am not totally spendthrifty, and recently got a few Vornado fans at the Costco. They are excellent for running at night while you are sleeping, saving money and yet still keeping me cool (the major consideration).

Tonight my daughter leaves to go off to college far away. I am glad for her because she has suffered four years of high school in California, a prison sentence for a bright student doomed to suffer with some strange and stupid teachers (including one who told an off color "beaver joke" to the class). Now she is off to a place full of smart people like herself where she will not be forced into the role of unpaid teacher's assistant and where the political atmosphere is not so liberal loopy. I hope she will be as happy there as I think she will be. Plus they make good pie there, always a life enhancer.

And now I feel like a rant on huggy people. When did it become OK to invade a person's personal space wily nily? When my mother died, my father (not a touchy feely person) was subjected to hugs from the beauty parlor lady who he went to thank for her kindness to my mom, and even the lady at Safeway. I was hugged by some ladies at work, and patted on the shoulder (not too bad). I hope this huggy thing goes the way of all fads. However, while hating this, my father and I do recognize the basic kindness behind the gesture.

This reminds me of something funny. Being at home with the kids for so long, I was not familiar with things that go on in an office. Now I am finding out that they pass around cards to sign for various things - happy birthday, happy vacation, condolence, etc. So you are forced to have a repertoire of little blurbs to write on the cards, like Best Wishes, Good Luck or whatever, but you have to look over what other people have written to make sure you are not writing the identical thing. Women are better at this. On the condolence card I got, the women all managed nice little messages, but the effort at a condolence message stumped the men and they just signed their names.

Now I have to take my girls to the bank, since I am off work today (which may account for my cheerful mood).

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