Ross: The best way to handle the heat was doing something 30 years ago

Aug 16, 2023, 8:08 AM | Updated: 8:43 am

heat years ago...

SEATTLE - JULY 29: Jeremy Behrens of Chicago, Illinois dries off in the sun after cooling off in the International Fountain at the Seattle Center July 29, 2009 in Seattle, Washington. The all-time record high of 102 degrees for Seattle, measured near Sea-Tac International Airport, broke a previous record of 100 that was set on July 16, 1941 in downtown Seattle and then repeated on July 20, 1994, at the same location near the Seattle-Tacoma International Airport. Seattle's high record for July 29 had been 95 in 1971. Temperatures throughout the Northwest have reached or are approaching triple digits. (Photo by Stephen Brashear/Getty Images)

(Photo by Stephen Brashear/Getty Images)

How to stay cool in our air-conditioning-deprived area? I checked sources from Canada to Arizona, and it turns out there’s nothing new.

But for what it’s worth, here are some tips from Canadian TV.

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“You want to eat spicy food, don’t wipe off your sweat, let yourself glisten, avoid caffeine, drink lots of water, and avoid dark clothing,” our northern neighbors recommend.

And here’s advice from an off-the-grid guy in Arizona.

“Make sure that the curtains are closed at the right times through the day to keep the sun out,” he suggests.

There are also refrigerator hacks, like freezing your bedsheets.

“Take your sheets, put them in a plastic bag, and pop it right in the freezer,” one TV host recommends. “These sheets are nice and cool right out of the freezer.”

Freezing old socks stuffed with rice, you can aim a small fan at a bowl of ice cubes, freeze bottles of water and arrange them around your workspace, or run cool water over your wrists. But these are all very localized and labor-intensive.

I keep coming back to what’s worked for us, which is to live in a house bought 34 years ago by a much younger Dave, who decided to plant maple and birch trees and never to trim the Douglas firs.

The shade and the debris killed all the grass long ago, but just to take yesterday as an example, the official temperature at 2 p.m. was 91 degrees, the temperature in our yard was 86 degrees, and the temperature in the house upstairs and down was 78 degrees. I can live with that!

So, I say we all sneak around planting trees because it’s only going to get warmer. You can always cut it down if you decide you hate it, but it’s really hard to build a 35-foot birch if you suddenly decide you need one.

You can still mist yourself with peppermint tea. Breathe in through your curled tongue, which cools the air and dress like they do in the Middle East in a long shirt with no pants. I’ve got one of those (it’s called a “thobe”) – very comfortable.

But the best thing you can do is make sure your younger self planted trees 30 years ago.

Listen to Seattle’s Morning News with Dave Ross and Colleen O’Brien weekday mornings from 5 – 9 a.m. on KIRO Newsradio, 97.3 FM. Subscribe to the podcast here.

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Ross: The best way to handle the heat was doing something 30 years ago