It’s not the heat …

Now I understand the line,

It’s not the heat, it’s the humidity.

The last few days, the heat in New York City has been brutal. Yesterday, the high was 96 F (36 C). It’s much hotter on the subway platform. The subway cars are air conditioned, but that just means pumping the heat out of the car and into the stations and tunnels.

Back home, it gets hot in the summer. 90 F (32 C) to 100 (38 C) – or hotter – during the day.

The air is thin. Cloud cover is normally, at most, lovely little puffs that march in a lattice across the impossibly blue sky. The shadows race across the valleys.

It doesn’t rain much. The summer rain tends to be in thunderstorms, which can be violent.

I don’t mind that heat back home.

It’s hot, but it’s dry. Sweat evaporates quickly, leaving me feeling clean and cool. Here, sweat is just sticky.

Even on the hottest days back home, it gets cool in the evening. On a 90 F (32 C) day, it will usually be 50 F (10 C) or cooler in the evening.

I love to sleep with the windows open, with the breeze just tickling the curtains. When I was a little girl, I loved to wake up just as the sun was coming in the window, the cicadas starting to make noise, the curtains rustling, the warmth on my back, the smell of the clean air.

I hate air conditioning. I hate the processed taste of the air. I hate the noise of the compressor and fan.

The only times I used air conditioning back home were in job site trailers, to keep the dust down.

I don’t have air conditioning in my apartment. My Love has a couple of window units, which were inadequate to cool even a single room the last few nights.

We’d both rather turn them off and open the windows, even on the hottest nights. Her bedroom has a big ceiling fan, which is wonderful.

The heat is an incentive to work late – Stay in the office air conditioning; avoid the crush on the subway platform.

It’s also an incentive to go to the beach house. It’s normally 10 F (5 C) to 20 F (11 C) cooler, with a nice breeze and (surprising to me) less humidity.

My Love has been working from our rental house on Fridays and Mondays. She goes up Friday morning and picks me up at the train on Friday afternoon. She drops me at the train early Monday morning and drives down on the afternoon.

I didn’t want to do that – I thought it would send the wrong message to the senior guys in my firm. But they all work from their weekend houses on Fridays (and some of them on Mondays, too). They told me I’m crazy to be in the office on Fridays. I’m going to take them at their word.

So we’re both going up tonight and coming back on Monday night.

She’s bi

I’ve always thought the world divided itself between beach people and mountain people.

Maybe I’m too binary. Too beacheononormative. Maybe there’s a Kinsey scale for Beach/Mountain.

I love the mountains.

I grew up in a small town in the mountains.

I love to ski. I love to pack into the wilderness and camp. I love the smell of the mountains. I love the way the sun comes up and the sun goes down. I love the sky. I love the clouds. I love the dry air. I love the hot summer days and cool summer nights. I love the cold winter days and the colder winter nights. I love snow.

I hate the beach.

I get bored at a beach after 10 minutes. I’m irritable after 20 minutes. I’m a stark, raving, homicidal maniac after half an hour. If I can find a little kid, we’ll build a sand castle. That will keep me occupied for as long as it takes. But when I’m done, I feel like I’ve just wasted time I’ll never get back.

Plus, I hate sand. The inside of every swimsuit I’ve ever had: a sand magnet. Sand down there, ugh. Sandpaper in my bra? Ouch.

(Aside: I absolutely, positively do not believe anyone who says she’s had sex on a beach. A movie love scene on a beach kills my libido for days. Ewww.)

My Love is also a mountain person.

She grew up on a ranch in the mountains.

She’s a terrific skiier. We skiied together a few times last winter. I thought I was good, but she took me places at Alta and Big Sky that scared the daylights out of me.

Since starting her business, she’s spent Augusts at her parents’ ranch, recharging her batteries, putting up hay, riding fence, doctoring cows and calves, planning a new irrigation system with her father and packing into the wilderness behind the ranch.

But … She is also a beach person.

She has spent a lot of time working in Rio de Janeiro.

Her idea of heaven is to sit on Copacabana in front of the Palace, get served caipirinhas, read and watch the kids play futebol (soccer) and futevolei (volleyball played with feet instead of hands).

[Aside: I haven’t been to Rio. From what I understand about fitness and dress standards on Copacabana, how could she have failed to realize that she’s a lesbian?]

[Aside 2: Her beach reading tends to be either

  • Work: A mathematical model predicting the probability of outcomes of a multibillion dollar business decision
  • Self-improvement: A monograph on algebraic number fields
  • Leisure: A novel by Henry James, Willa Cather or Marilynne Robinson

How she can do that and drink a caipirinha? I keep telling you, she is amazing.]

[Aside 3: A caipirinha is a lime, cut in eighths, muddled in a glass with sugar, doused with cachaça (Brazilian moonshine that doubles as paint remover) and finished with ice. Deadly. Delicious. Deadly.

I don’t drink much (I haven’t been drunk since I was in high school) and I’m a cheap date. Two of those and I’d be a babbling idiot.]

Now, anything that includes a caipirinha, women in Brazilian bikinis and futebol/futevolei has to be good. So Rio doesn’t count in this Beach/Mountain dichotomy.

Still, she claims to like the beach.

I don’t get it.

PS: No, she is definitely not bisexual.

Beach house

Last week wasn’t all bad.

My Love and I rented a tiny (600 square foot) beach house for the summer.

It’s a marvel of space efficiency. The bedroom is just big enough for the bed. The kitchen is just big enough for a Wolf range/convection oven, a sink, a refrigerator and four feet of counter space. The bathroom is just big enough for a sink, shower and toilet.

The rest of the house is one big room, extending all the way up to the roof. One wall is all windows, looking west over a cove of Long Island Sound. Sunsets are said to be spectacular.

An outdoor shower!

Hydrangeas. Roses. Beach roses. Daffodils. Daisies. Oaks and maples and cedars.

And lilacs! I love lilacs.

The town has a classic New England green, a classic New England Congregational church, a farmstand full of gorgeous produce and a bakery/espresso shop that makes an outrageous raspberry-corn muffin and an excellent espresso. The coffee shop roasts its own beans. My Love (who knows about these things) proclaims they’re the best she’s tasted.

The town also has an ice cream shop with the best ice cream either of us has ever eaten (and we are both ice cream connoisseurs). There’s a rumor that the best donuts in America are a little further up the coast.