Thursday, June 28, 2018

Overcoming Our Biggest Obstacle



Life is indeed like a box of chocolates in that you never know what is on the horizon. You plan for the day when you do not have to go the office, or the company truck, or the commitment to work in a chemical plant on Christmas. Man, we have it all figured out, or at least we thought we did. I've always been told, "Do everything you want to do before you retire, because at that point, you will be physically limited. Bah humbug! Who listens to advice anyway.

Now I want to go on record and say after 15 months of a steady diet of VA visits and pills out the wahzoo, not to mention many visits to the acupuncturist and chiropractor... I was handed a clean bill of health. Not only that, but my cholesterol numbers are in the excellent category and there is no sign of colon cancer or diabetes. A full bank of blood tests reveal that I have everything in fine working order, so why my lamentation about activity?

The main obstacle I now face is you got it, the heat and humidity! Wow, where did this come from? We went from the 40's in April and early May straight into this hell? I wrote about this phenomenon about a month ago, but it needs repeating. The walkers behind my house in CV were having to get a number to walk when it was cool and now it has thinned out exponentially.

My friend Jose likes to get in his 6 miles every day and has had to resort to getting on the trail at the crack of dawn and then because the dew point is at 77, he is drenched before he crosses the first mile marker. We chatted the other day about the real villain concerning our weather and its not heat or humidity, per say. Its the danged dew point. Why don't our weather prognosticators tell us this number? Its because we are not real smart and we need the "real feel" number so we know how we are feeling.

"How you feeling fella" How on earth is being told a number tell anyone how they feel? I would rather they tell me the dew point and then I'll know exactly how I feel. Its a simple scale to be honest. If it is below 60, it feels comfortable outside even if the humidly is relatively high and the temp is in the lower 80's. Take this same temp and humidity and raise the dew point to 71 and it feels oppressive and uncomfortable outside. Remember in early May when it was 83 outside and we had a wind? Yup, you almost needed a light jacket and that is because the dew point was very low.

By the way, this morning the weather person is going to flash maps and wavy illusions on the screen and tell you it is 78 degrees outside, with a slight wind and 88% humidity. The humidity sounds a bit high, but the temp is below 80, so with the dab of wind, it should feel good, right? Wait a second, the real Feel temp is 87! This is because the danged dew point is 75 and that means it feels oppressive. Can it get worse?  Yes, raise the DP to 76+ and now it feels miserable.

So, what can a poor boy do except go to an air conditioned gym to sweat with the other retired people? You could say, "Well, I'll just wait to cut the grass at 6pm when it isn't as hot, but guess what? The DP is going to be right where it started and that means you are going to sweat like a proverbial stoolie.

So, I have the clean bill of health, so lets take off real quick like and do something entertaining, right? Well, this is where aging once again pulls tricks on you. Back in the day, you would simply walk out to your car and blast off. Now days leaving means grabbing your phone, wallet/purse, bathroom visit, bottle of vitamin water, making sure you have your meds, and the list goes on and on until you plop down in your comforter and order pizza.
 
While you are waiting for the grub to arrive, you decide to check the mail and by the time you get back into the house, you are drenched. I remember spending a week in Wyoming back in 1986. The month was September and up there it was often cold enough that you had to be careful. We flew back into Houston and our first impression was the smell of mildew and this was September. To new arrivals, Houston smells like spores and fungi and stuff that is disgusting.

"How do youse guys handle this heat?" One fellow from Pennsylvania asked? "Easy, we stay inside for 4 months." was my answer and it was pretty much the truth. Now don't take me wrong; I prefer heat over cold, but this combination of moist air and high temperature can really dampen the old adventure spirit. This is why come July, most of us who garden have pretty much given up trying to keep everything perfect. Now we are just trying to survive. "Well, the tamaters are gone! They died of heat exhaustion. There's always next year."
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