Wednesday, July 29, 2015

Summer Splash

DEBORAH CROMBIE: Can I just say that it's hot? I mean, really hot. Maybe not New Orleans hot, but sticky, icky, suffocatingly hot. Not that this should come as a surprise, because it is the end of July and it is Texas and it's not like this is something that hasn't happened before. (Like every summer.) But we had a cool, wet spring and early summer, and we got spoiled. Then suddenly we've hit 100
degrees, which feels like a 104 with the humidity, and people will kill for something cold to drink or a shady spot in a parking lot. 

So I started daydreaming about the green pool. Some of you may remember a couple of years ago I posted about my green inflatable swimming pool-The Notorious Green Pool! The Pool had lots of fans on Facebook and people would inquire about it regularly. Here is a photo taken when it was new and pristine. (Actually, there was more than one green pool over a couple of summers, because they tend to leak, but it wore its incarnations gracefully.) It stayed amazingly cold, and I would plop in its icy water at the very hottest part of the afternoon, or before bed, when I could float and look up at the stars through the leaves. It was gloriously refreshing and sometimes I'd even have to take a hot bath to warm up.

Alas, I had to give up on the green pool. Perhaps I should explain why we don't have a in-the-ground swimming pool. Our backyard is beneath an enormous canopy of elm and pecan trees that are probably a hundred years old. Heritage trees. And they shed. Constantly. Winter, spring, summer, and fall. The maintenance on a pool would be murder.

Unfortunately, the same turned out to be true of the green inflatable pool. There was no cover for it, and I spent half my day every day cleaning the thing with a pool skimmer. My back protested, and when the last incarnation got a slow leak, I gave up.

Fast forward to this summer. My back is again giving me fits, even without skimming the green pool. When I asked my doctor if he had any suggestions he said, "Get a hot tub. Seriously." But you don't just go out and buy an expensive hot tub--and pour a concrete pad for it--on the spur of the moment. So I said I would think about it. Later.

Then I came across this: the Bestway Laz-y-Spa Miami Inflatable Hot Tub. On Amazon. With Prime shipping. Supposedly, it holds four people. (Small, very cozy people, I suspect, but I don't care as long as it holds me.) It has a cover. It's got bunches of 4 and 5 star reviews, and lots of great review videos. And it's $257.00, including shipping. So we ordered it, and it arrives tomorrow. A few reviewers have complained that
it only heats up to 104 degrees, but right now I'm happy with the water temp straight out of the hose. I can get wet, and it bubbles.

When I told my doctor, he said, "Have a glass of wine in the spa every day. Seriously." I said I had actually thought of that. I even ordered a cup holder for it.

I will let you know if it's as terrific as everyone says, but it has to beat spraying myself down with a mister bottle to prevent heat exhaustion...

So, REDS, and readers, what are you doing to stay cool at the height of summer?

And cheers... 



  1. Oh, I hope your inflatable hot tub is everything you're hoping it will be . . . .
    Actually, summer heat doesn't bother me nearly as much as winter cold; when it's really hot outside, I make it a point to stay inside with a good book . . . .

  2. I really hate summer, and we are in day 2 of heat wave #3. Blech.

    A few years ago, when my dog Marcie was still with us, she used to suffer in heat waves because she loved being out on the back deck. I bought a small plastic pool for her, but she wouldn't go in. Finally, I filled empty 2-liter bottles with water and froze them. She'd lie on a towel, in the blazing sun, with the frozen bottle pressed up to her tummy, happy as can be.

  3. After a perfect day at the beach with my best friend yesterday, today it's back to work, with a book deadline Saturday (gulp). And the rest of the week is going to be scorching here in the northeast. We'll close up the house by seven AM and turn on the fans. Drink lots of water. And go for a dip in the lake a few blocks away at the end of the day, with maybe some cold white wine in a thermos for afterward.

    That hot tub sounds fabulous. And I like the way your doctor thinks!

  4. I don't know how I missed the green pool Debs, but enjoy the hot tub! We are having a heat wave this week too--finally broke down and turned on the AC. However, going into NY City for a quick trip--that will be seriously hot!

  5. Cincinnati: hot, humid, frequent thunderstorms, ferocious biting chigger mites. I spend the day writing with my chair parked on top of the a/c vent. The hot tub sounds great, filled with ice water.

  6. I love this! But where's the picture of you in the tub toasting us with your glass of wine? I mean, I am seriously disappointed.

    It's hot here in New England, 90+ and air thick with humidity. I have A/C in my little office but not in our bedroom. We use fans, and the attic fan is great at night, turning over the air and bringing in cooler air from outside.

    Remembering when I used to run through the sprinklers as a kid. What cools me down now is to to hose my tootsies down or put a little water in the tub and stand in it. Then a cold wet cloth to the neck, inner arms, and behind the knees, and I'm good to go... for another ten minutes.

    Also popsicles. Raspberry popsicles. At every opportunity.

  7. OH, yes, Debs, PHOTOS!

    We have a pool pool, which I sometimes,..look at. ANd sit by.
    We have inflatable floats, though, and we can get on the floats, and read, and ah, float. It is amazing.

    Our house is too old for AC, so we have fans. MAny many fans.

    Oh, and I also put plastic bottles of lemonade in the freezer, and make them just frozen enough to be slushy. Deelish.

  8. PHOTOS, yes, please!

    Heat wave in NYC, too. Kiddo is sick, so in a/c-ed bedroom with fan and videos. I'm trying to work.... Lots of ice water for everyone. Yuck.

  9. In the late Eighties, we had a two-week stretch of temps over 100 and neither I nor my secretary had a/c. We took my most urgent work and her two little girls and my two dogs out to my family's cottages on a lake about half an hour north of town, and spent most of our time in the water. Eventually, we just gave up any pretense of working and all stayed over one night, camped out in the living room of the two-story boat house, right on top of the water, with windows open all along three sides and fans blowing. The kids and dogs slept while we girltalked most of the very hot night.

    I have central a/c now at my home in the city, but given our severely cold winters, I prefer open windows and fans (ceiling and table) to take advantage of summer. It helps that my office is now in my basement where it's ten to twenty degrees cooler than at street level. Nevertheless, despite the difficulty of opening and closing my nearly 80-year-old windows, even I have my limits. When the humidity gets too high, it's a/c all the way.

    Oh, and that windshield shade that I unfold whenever I park the car, and iced coffee, LOTS of iced coffee.

  10. We've looked at those little hot tubs. Now that we have roofed our deck, maybe.

    Our humidistat was pegged at 75% at 6:30 this morning. Ugh. Not terribly hot, but muggy. We have a window A/C unit for the bedroom that we run at night, but during the day the house stays pretty cool (shaded and old plaster walls). It is noticeably cooler under the new deck roof, so spending a lot of time there. And the day-job means I spent the majority of my day in A/C (I guess there's one upside).

    I don't like the extremes at either end of the thermometer. Is there somewhere in the world where it's 70 degrees year 'round? I'd like to go there, please.

  11. Here's a beverage idea:

  12. I did have some photos of me in the green pool, but couldn't find them. The hot tub arrives tomorrow. We've bought pressure treated plywood to go under it, and today we're (I say "we." I mean Rick!) are going to coat that with Thompson's Water Seal stain. Hopefully we can get this base level enough for the tub. If we ever got a SERIOUS spa, we would have to pour a concrete pad for it. But once the tub comes, I already have the spa chemicals, so we should be able to inflate it, fill it up, and hop in. We will probably set the thermostat at about 95, but as the forecast here tomorrow is for 101, I doubt I'll bother waiting for it to heat up.

    Then I'll get pictures, I promise! Will post on Facebook, and on the blog if I can find a spot!

  13. Lily Dodd, I love the slushie idea! I don't usually drink soda, but I have some canned root beer. Any idea who long it take to freeze a can rather than a bottle?

  14. I like that hot tub - may have to check it out! It is hot and dry here right now in CA, heat wave and drought. Going to be cooler today than predicted. Only 108 instead of 110. We have central a/c so don't have to suffer, but so much prefer fresh air when we can. Can't keep taking cold showers because of the drought. Usually the covered patio with overhead fans does the trick but right now once the afternoon sun starts creeping in we have to retreat to the house.

    In a previous house had a pool. Used to float around in my big chair with beverage and a book. Heaven.

  15. Hallie, one of my tricks is to wet a dish towel, wring it out, then drape it over the back of my neck and shoulder--like a wet scarf. In dire circumstances, I put the wet dishtowel in the freezer for a few minutes.

    We have air conditioning--everybody in Texas has A.C., pretty much--but our house is old and not very well insulated, to put it mildly. Out of our 35 windows, only four are new and double-glazed. And our two central air units are old, and nobody wants to replace these things unless they absolutely have to.

    So I'm trying not cook things that heat up the kitchen. Grill, slow-cooker, salads. Suggestions welcome!

  16. Oh, I checked on Amazon this morning and price on the hot tub had gone up to $336. Our order must have make it spike:-)

  17. I live in a place (San Francisco) where summer is normally the coldest time of year. We are wearing fleece, coats and sweaters between June-August, while just 10 miles in any direction the temps are 80+ and everyone is wearing shorts and t-shirts. That's the beauty of micro-climates! However, this summer in SF is the warmest since I've lived here. Just this week it's been 75-80 degrees, and we are sweltering! We don't know how to handle heat, and very few homes/apartments have air conditioning. Our natural air condition is fog, and it usually comes in after 2 days of heat. I'm looking forward to this natural cool-down!!!

  18. I love heat, but I do love my AC. Living in AC and working in AC take care of me most of the time. The AC in my car broke last summer, so I use the 4/65 method. 4 windows rolled down going 65 mph. It actually works remarkably well.

    I do love the pool, although I don't go as often as I did before I started running. For one thing, I've found the Chlorine doesn't love me.

    And I still go out and run and play ultimate Frisbee in the heat. I just drink lots of water.

    We've gotten more humidity than usual in Southern California this summer, which I'm not enjoying. Although the rain a couple weeks ago was welcome and fun. It was great playing ultimate Frisbee in such a warm rain. So fun!

  19. Hank, I'm going to come to your house and get in your pool because someone has to. Then I'll make you offer me wine, because you're a good hostess, and then we'll take a picture of me, with the wine, in the pool, and put it up here on JRW.

    Debs, all I can say is...I want your doctor.

  20. Debs, is your hot tub tax-deductible, since you had to get it on doctor's orders? I'd look into that. Bet it is.

    The house we've lived in for 30 years was built in 1940 without A/C. A couple years after we moved in I was heavily pregnant when the temps went into the 90's and stayed there for more than a week. Tired of hearing me shrieking (I'm guessing), my husband agreed to have air conditioning put in, despite the expense. But it's never been very efficient because of the ancient ducting. So a few years ago I had ceiling fans put in all the upstairs bedrooms. That was probably the best money I spent on the house. Makes sleeping vastly more comfortable.

    Cincinnati has been cool for most of the summer, except for the last couple weeks, which have been brutal. We get such high humidity, I guess because of all the trees here. I just stay inside, and turn on the ceiling fans.

    As for summer food: BLTs this time of year!

  21. Deborah, I make quick gazpacho in the blender: tomato juice, some ripe tomatoes, cucumbers (MUST have them), some ripe peppers (I don't really like them so I leave them out), onion, garlic, olive oil, red wine vinegar, salt, pepper, and if you want, a little bit of beef bullion powder. Blend like crazy, serve in a bowl with croutons or stale bread (some of this can be added to the blend), or in a glass with or without ice, with a fat straw. No cooking, very cooling.

    I did even better last night-- Chinese take-out. No stove required. (Works for pizza delivery too).

    Mark, I know what you mean about the chlorine. I used to be a master swimmer, but I can't handle the chlorine in the pool anymore. Alas. I miss the lake.

  22. I use what my sister claims to have invented: the miracle towel. It's an added step to what Debs described to Hallie:

    *wet a dishtowel, wring it out, lay flat, put 4 to 5 ice cubes at one end, roll up length-wise, place around neck: sleep!

    I, too, am eagerly awaiting photos of green pool and hot tub. What's your doctor's contact info?


  23. An inflatable hottub! How cool is that! I do hope it fulfills your doctor's prescription. And, the wine to go with it? Well, I, too, want your doctor's number, Debs. I'm so looking forward to the pictures!

    It's hot here in Kentucky, too, with the temps in the 90s and the humidity off the charts. Staying in with air conditioning is my goal, although I've been doing quite a bit of driving to my daughter's (hour away) and bringing back grandgirls in the past week. It's funny, but when I was in Hawaii and they were having unusual high humidity and I was sweating like the proverbial pig, I got out every day and walked and did things. Somehow, the heat and humidity there was bearable. Hahaha! And, the winds did finally kick in while I was there.

    Hank, no air conditioning? I'm hoping you have good cross currents in your house with the fans. And, you, dear lady, who always looks as cool as a cucumber. Just shows how magical you really are.

    Mary Sutton, if you find that place with the year-round 70 degrees, let me know!

  24. I need a referral to your doctor!!

  25. Mark, I have used that 4/65 method, too. The A/c system in my old Subaru (now gone to hatchback heaven)gave up the ghost long before the car itself, so I tended to drive fast with the windows open and call it good.

    Our house has no A/C, because it is so seldom brutally hot in Maine. Fans save the day (actually, the nights) and when it is really hot, a dip in the Atlantic does the trick. The current ocean temp is 61 degrees, which is about as warm as it ever gets. So refreshing!

  26. We are on the second day of a two day heat wave up here on the tundra. That means the temp is 90 or over. Texas weather is why I don't do Texas between May and November. Ever.

    We have central air, and we even turn it on now and then, as in yesterday. And today. But so far we have never left it on at night. This is the blessing of having an old house with high ceilings and living where winter lasts five months.

    I grew up in Kansas and Missouri, no A/C, hells bells we didn't even have indoor plumbing until after the war. Somehow we all survived. Somehow.

    So enjoy your nice cold hot tub Deb, and read a book and think of me when January comes. xox

  27. Well, your post is timely because today Boston is over 90 degrees. A reported heat wave started today and the humidity is through the roof. As the weather folks say, the three H's -- hot, humid and hazy -- have settled in for a few days.

    As a child living in Rio de Janeiro Brazil, where it was typically 100 degrees around Christmas time with 99% humidity, I used to use a plant spritzer to lightly mist my sleep pillow. Then I'd hold it in front of the window air conditioner until it was ice cold and that generally guaranteed a good night's sleep.

    Now, I keep my central air at 68 degrees -- I know, I should be shot for my electric consumption. Last week I received a letter from the electric company with a graph that showed that consumption versus the averages of my other neighbors. It's a truly embarrassing graph, but I quickly put it through the shredder to destroy the evidence!

  28. Sherwood Hughes, we may all drop in on you:-) We can cool our house to about 80 when it's this hot, which is not too bad if you are just sitting. But I tend to spend a lot of time outside, with dogs and plants and chores. Inside, it's the cooking and cleaning up that get me.

    TFJ, I'm going to try your ice in the dishtowel trick!

    Karen, my doctor gave me a prescription so that I could get the tax taken off, so yes, the hot tub is also tax deductible!!! I hadn't even thought of that yet. And if we ever get a "real" hot tub, he'll give me a prescription and that will be deductible, too!

  29. You all definitely want my doctor. Here he is with what he calls his "Hollywood hair." He's cut it now, but he looks very smart with it short, too. He's a lovely guy, and runs what I call a "Marcus Welby" practice. He even sometimes makes house calls!

    Unfortunately, even for those of you who live nearby, his practice is full. No new patients. So we're very happy we discovered him when he was just starting out here.

  30. Lovely, indeed.

  31. Now Kendall wants a green pool. U..U /

  32. Your inflatable tub sounds wonderful!
    We get so hot while cleaning the pool that we have to jump in afterward. Window fans at night help keep the bedroom cool and the swamp cooler works for all but the most humid days, which we don't have Too many of here in California.
    Those little Arctic Cooler towels that you wet and wear around your neck are great, especially during exercise (and hot flashes!) I keep them moist, in their container, in the refrigerator. You can find them at sporting goods stores and on Amazon.

  33. And Lots of sparkling water... I've weaned myself from diet soda with Pellegrino.

  34. I can almost feel the heat as you describe it Deborah. After 17 years of living in Indiana (hot and humid in the summer - very very cold in the winter)we moved back to the U.K on April 1st this year and experienced THE most beautiful Spring. We're now well into Summer and although we have mild temps, rain, and of course, wind, I LOVE it. Our air conditioning is opening the windows and doors. Thank you for sharing the inflatable hot tub. We did have one in Indiana and loved it. An inflatable one would be a good option for here too. Keep writing!