Monday, June 23, 2008

Adding Insult to Injury

Life is definitely not fair.

It's not bad enough that I was recovering from massive spinal surgery after battling back problems for years; I had to get breast cancer too.

It's not bad enough that I got breast cancer. Everyone I spoke with said they were only sick a couple of days on chemo. I was sick continuously. Everyone else said they lost weight on chemo. I gained 20 pounds. Everyone else's hair grew back curly. Mine is coming back in straight as a poker.

So I guess I shouldn't have been surprised when I fished out my bathing suit from storage.

Now, in Morro Bay it is a rare day that one puts on a bathing suit for any reason. We only have them at all in case we go on a trip to a warm climate where the hotel has a pool. Generally the temperature in Morro Bay during the summer months is about 68 to 70 degrees with gobs of fog. For those of us who literally loathe the heat and think it is overwhelmingly hot when the thermometer hits 75, this is the ideal place to live.

Every now and then we do get a heat wave and we sit around in front of the fan moaning while the temperature goes up to 85 degrees. Fortunately it only lasts for a few days, so while we hate this, we put up with these aberrant occasions.

But on June 20th the world turned on us. We shared the plight of the arctic polar bear and the Antarctic penguin. Global warming came to Morro Bay with a blast.

It had been hot inland the day before, but it is always hotter several miles east of us every summer. In what we call North County, some of the hottest temperatures in the state often occur. It would be unthinkable to pose a scenario where the coastal towns would beat out the north county town of Paso Robles, or for that matter, the valley city of Fresno, as far as high temperatures go. Morro Bay's population increases by about ten thousand every summer with people escaping the heat of those places. So to say that we were unprepared for the events of the summer solstice would be an understatement. It came upon its full bloom of the longest day of sunlight with a hoary heat blast never before recorded in this town by the Rock.

At 11:30 A. M. a friend from San Luis Obispo arrived at my house for lunch trying to escape from the excessive heat of that city where it had been over 100 degrees the day before.

"My car's thermometer must be broken," she said, "It says it's 108 degrees here in Morro Bay."

Well, I knew it was hot that's for sure. At 3 A.M. that day I awoke in a sweat, leaped out of bed and raced around to close all the windows and vents because blasts of hot air were pouring in. By 8 A.M. I knew we were in for a horrible day.

Turns out my friend's car thermometer was not broken. It did reach 108 degrees in Morro Bay. It is undoubtedly a record but since no data has been kept for a 30 year period for comparison, we can only assume so. But those of us who have lived here for a long time know that we have never experienced anything like the first day of summer of 2008.

The evening news weatherman gave a dire prediction. We would have to endure at least one more day of just about the same before any cooling down would start to occur. I nearly fainted hearing that. I could not endure another day like this. I made note to find my bathing suit.

Now, I wasn't thinking about dousing myself in the ocean, which of course is what you might think since it is right here practically at my doorstep. No, not with a water temperature of 58 degrees. Around here one wears a three millimeter wet suit to go into that. My plan was to use my wonderful new water nozzle and my 50-foot anaconda hose just purchased this week for my garden. Since every time I use it I get a good soaking anyway, I couldn't think of a better solution other than to go out and buy a kiddy pool for the backyard. That was my plan. At least until I fished out the bathing suit and started to put it on.

HA! Remember those 20 chemo pounds? Well, they stood between me and relief from impending heat stroke. I pulled and tugged and forced the suit onto my pudgy body but there was no way it would zip up. It was 11 A.M. and already near 90 degrees in the house. I finally said the heck with it and with it half-zipped and stretched tightly over all my protuberances, I raced out the back door, grabbed the anaconda hose and let the soothing spray of Gentle-Shower splash over me. I could see my neighbors peering at me out of their windows. I didn't care. What a relief! Why hadn't I done that the day before?

All I can say is the entire episode is certainly adding insult to injury. Because now I am sitting on the front porch in a dripping wet bathing suit and a stiff breeze has come up and, you know what? It's cold! The weatherman was wrong. Looks like we're heading back to 68 degrees. Global warming be damned!

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