Summer 2014 would go down in the memories of all involved as a hot one in Western Washington.
Costco sold out of portable air conditioners as quickly as the lucky ones who happened to be there at precisely the right moment could grab them. A dad going in for another fan returned to his car, triumphant, a Vornado in his arms, and only six remained of that shipment.
Ice cream balls were unwrapped from packaging, filled, and kicked around yards, and children knew the joy of making their own strawberry or chocolate or vanilla dessert. Half and half was added to the regular grocery lists, to keep the ice cream balls and churns in business.
At Lake Washington’s beaches, the sun burned hot enough that moms of kids old enough to run, wade, and swim unsupervised deigned not only to step into the greenish water themselves, but to actually dunk under, picking the lake weed out of their hair upon returning to new Tommy Bahama beach chairs (courtesy of Costco), where they sneaked a Capri Sun they’d brought for the kids and remembered how hard it used to be to stick those straws into the slippery foil pouches.
Rowers dipped their hats and stockinged feet into the lake between sprints. Dogs jumped into the slough, refusing to return to shore after sinking their teeth into floating tennis balls. Women browsed the pajama racks at Target for shorter sleepwear. Families ate deli sandwiches night after night, happy to let stoves and ovens and grills rest. Outside projects were abandoned in favor of painting walls in the cool of the basement. The mountains were out every day: Rainier and Baker, Cascades and Olympics.
Moms and kids dragged chairs and coolers and blankets to Eastside parks, hours before sunset. They munched on watermelon and Doritos and gummy bears, and parents kept vigil on their spots, chatting and Facebooking and Instagramming, as the kids ran amok, killing time before the movies. Dark came long past nine o’clock, and films on inflatable screens ended well after eleven. Hoodies and Snuggies came on after sunset, when the breeze showed up, late, to the gathering.
And the winter rains were worth it.
Ten ways to cool off on a hot day.