There Are Only Four Circles, Dante
Dante has us thinking there are nine circles of hell, but anyone from the H knows he got it all wrong. It only takes living through a single season of Houston heat before you know with certainty there are four circles of hell.
In Houston, we call them June, July, August, and September.
There is no express train through the madness. The only option is to buckle up and push through, one day at a time. August is upon us – the hottest of the circles – the month where Houstonians are forged in fire.
Before we start talking about the things that we can do to stay cool this month in the Houston heat, let’s just acknowledge – that it’s not going to happen. Now that we have that covered, we can move forward with more realistic expectations. Our goals for August are simply to (1) Not Die (2) Not Embarrass Ourselves and (3) Experience Happiness in Spite of the Heat.
How Not To Die in the Houston Heat This August
- Stay in the House. You’ve already been outside. There is no need to do that again. H-E-B delivers. Door Dash is a thing. We all learned to WFH two years ago. Stay. Inside.
- Go Naked. But not outside your home. Because going to jail is going to complicate the cooling process.
- Cool Your Car. Forget letting a car warm up. That’s just stupid. We don’t need that here. If you determine that you must depart your air-conditioned abode, know that as soon as you enter the vehicle – you are essentially making a decision to place your entire body into the equivalent of a large toaster oven. Go back to tip number one. If you are determined to pursue the excursion, turn your car on immediately, roll down the windows and start driving… fast. Cause what we not gone do is burn up in the car trying to get to Whataburger.
- Cotton is King. If you must get dressed, choose loose fitting, lightweight, breathable fabrics. Sweaty underboobs almost qualify as the fifth circle; keep ’em cool. And for goodness sakes, hide the hoodies from your kids. Bruh. We shall not engage in behaviors that encourage heat stroke, and no one is interested in spending money on unnecessary ER copays because of silly fashion choices.
- Stay Hydrated. For the Inside. Water is the standard. However, if you have to make a choice between Big Red and dehydration… well. Just keep the liquids flowing.
- Stay Hydrated. For the Outside. Of your body. Mist spritzing bottles. Cool towels. And when in immediate need of quick cool off… ice cubes in your bra cups. Trust me.
- Take Care of Our Animal Planet Friends Too. Watch the concrete temps on Mr. Barky’s foot pads. Provide extra water for your family pets. Leave a bowl of water out for other thirsty critters. Tattle on people that leave their animals in a hot car. Love thy furry neighbors.
- Cool Treats. If there was ever a time Houstonians deserved icy flavored sugar and syrup, it is August. Slushies, snow cones, snow cups, whatever your jam… all are recommended during the annual Houston Heat Wave.
- Cool Places. This does not mean places that are awe-inspiring. This means places with air conditioning. Or a lazy river. Sidenote: Lazy rivers should be required in every home in the greater Houston area. It should be a reward for living in the circle. After 10 years, the city should throw in a family set of flamingo floaties.
- Parenting Kids Who Participate in Outdoor Sports. Arrive early. Scout the parking lot thoroughly. Park in locations that allow you a fairly decent view of the fields. Once you drop your kid off with a responsible adult, return to your vehicle and watch the event in the air-conditioned comfort of your car. There is no reason the whole family has to be hot.
- Avoid Houston Freeways and Tollways. Here you will find hot concrete. Cars with engines kicking off heat. Frustrated people. People driving poorly. I have no research to support this, but I am certain the temps are hotter trying to change lanes on 610 than rolling down random side streets.
- Create Your Own Oasis. If escaping the Houston heat by getting to the islands to cool off isn’t possible; use your imagination and create your own joy-inducing experience.
- Be Careful Where You Dust. There are cooling powders out there and the concept is one that I am not opposed to trying. Absorbing moisture in moist places… well, alrighty then. However. Friends, episode title – The One with All the Resolutions – the one where Ross has the mishap with the baby powder and creates paste. Don’t be like Ross.
- Keep Your Eyes on ERCOT. They failed us in the cold. And now they are throwing out threats of another failure and suggesting we turn our air conditioners off between 2:00 PM – 8:00 PM. In some places this might be happy hour; in Houston these are horror hours. My (side) eye is focused on ERCOT. We are watching you.
- Keep Your Batteries Handy. Battery operated fans are gifts when outside activities are required. For an extra kick, couple your fan with an icy bra.
- Respect the clock. Keep one nearby. Pay attention. Do NOT leave the house after 10:00 AM. There is a window of time during which activities should be performed. If you didn’t get it started before 10:00 AM, abort mission. See tip number one.
- Make a Habit of the Backseat Check. Many of us are operating in overload every day. It is easy to get caught up in all the worries of the world and begin moving in autopilot when driving. We all say it would never happen to us – until it happens to us. The extra one second it takes to look in the backseat when exiting a vehicle could prevent a lifetime of heartache.
Big Girl Panties and Perspective
Okay my (713), (281), (832) and now (346) friends, let’s put this heat thing in perspective. We have now entered the third circle, a guaranteed 31-day hot-as-hell spell. But, it is less than a tenth of a year. We can do this. We are Houston. And we will do what we always do. So go on and pull out your big girl panties and prepare to weather this Houston heat storm. Unless of course you are rolling with Tip Number Two. And if so… see Tip Number One.