Tuesday, August 05, 2008

The Kansas heat

You know I just got back from Kansas. After the wedding mentioned yesterday I stayed with my parents for a week.

DC gets hot. Hot and humid. But Kansas shames DC. Apparently Kansas uses a different sun.

I've acclimated to warmer than normal temperatures. The AC doesn't work in my office and hasn't for a couple of years. But I can still setup a fan to steal cool air from the hall. Nobody wants to come to my office because it's still 5°F-10°F warmer than elsewhere in the building. At home I've not run the AC in three summers (this being the third) and dealt with fans and careful timing of when I open and close windows and doors.

This summer DC has had more rain than usual. When it rains it cools things off and the next day usually only gets in the 80°Fs.

This summer Kansas has had more rain than usual. When it rains it cools things off and the next day it's wet and in the upper 90°Fs.

Look at an average day in both places and they read exactly the same. Roughly the same humidity and roughly the same temperature. But when you step into the sun you get two totally different experiences. Wichita is a bit further south than DC but not by a lot. Not enough to explain why the sun out there burns so much more. Is it because DC has so much more smog that blocks the worst of it?

My last full day on the family farm the cows got out. We got a call a little before 9:00 in the morning that the cows that are renting out our pasture were in a neighbors yard and were heading for Dad's sedan grass. Mom got me up and we (Mom, me, and Rosie the dog) got on the 4-wheeler and drove out. Yep. Sure enough. Cows. We found where the electric fence was low and drove back home to wait for Dad to get back. The cows weren't interested in leaving the sedan grass.

Dad got home shortly. He and Rosie took the 4-wheeler out, Mom and I took the pickup, and Rags (Dog #2) followed along. It's closer to 10:00 a.m. now and the sun is higher. It's insisting that you suffer a bit. The cows have gone back into the pasture and found a nice big tree to lie under. Mom went to find the power source for the electric fence to shut down while Dad went to find the cows. I hitched the electric fence back up where it was sitting low. Then I went to where Mom saw the fence was broken already. With the fence now off, I chased down the two broken ends and tried to pull them together. There was about 6 inches missing that we were able to make up by stealing from a couple of other places and pulling things tight. This wasn't hard work. But there was tromping through tall weeds and some light pulling involved. But mostly it was sunny. Sooooo sunny. I'm holding wire tight while Dad does other stuff. He asks for a hand with something and I have to say "Can't right now. I'm blind." from all the sweat running into my eyes that I couldn't wipe away because I was holding wires. And, of course, everything was muddy because it had been raining daily for the last week.

It was already in the 90°s when we started with humidity trying to match. As long as you were in the shade I could deal with it. But step into the sun and it's like a weight is dropped on you.

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