Well friends and loved ones, it is officially my favorite season: SUMMER!! Woo to the Hoo indeed!! Blazing sunshine, rising temps, big bugs and even bigger hair have set upon us. And this Southern gal couldn’t be happier.
Admittedly, the humidity ’round these parts is a major buzz kill. But ya know, if you just adopt a “It’s just like the spa!” attitude in regards to the outdoor sauna that is Eastern North Carolina, then suddenly it’s like nature’s own free facial every day!
Or not. But I’m a glass half full kind of gal.
Anyhoo, as you may recall, Old Man Winter and I do not get along. But Summer? We go waaayyy back and every time she comes back to town, I am so utterly, deliriously happy to see her again. Sing it with me now, reunited and it feels so goo-oodd!
There’s only one tiny drawback to Ms. Sexy Summer’s visit: our electricity bill. Granted, it’s not nearly the same beating as our gas heating bill, which we conquered this past winter with some serious butt-kicking karate moves. Hii-Yah!! Take that Mr. Gas Man!
Even so, hopefully you know us better than that by now and know that we’re always down for saving some dinero whenever possible. If we were a movie, the title might be Peaches & Curry: A Story de Amore Y Dos Cheapos or Ingloriously Cheap Bastards, or our personal favorite Peaches & Curry: Two wanna be hippies saving their love, their wallets and Mother Earth, one utility bill at a time. (My eyelashes fluttered mighty hard over that last line.)
So naturally, just as we submitted ourselves to the “Freeze Your Buns Off Challenge,” (which, by the way, I stole got the idea from this great blog.) We decided this summer to submit ourselves to the Keep Yer Cool Challenge.
Or as I affectionately call it, the “Sweat You Balls Off Campaign.”
From about Mid-March until to the end of May (minus 4 days where it hit the 90’s in early May, shoo) we pioneered it and had no heat or A.C. It was glorious Spring time and we slept with windows open, in the pollen filled breeze. Note: Next year, keep the windows closed when the pollen abounds. Pollen inside the house does not equal good times.
The glorious reign of no heat or air sadly ended about a week before Memorial Day weekend, as the temps took off into the upper 80’s and low 90’s. I know some parts of the country can get by without any A/C for the summer, but yall this is the South. And that ain’t gonna work down here. Plus, I’m a little wussy once the outside temps start climbing over 88 degrees with about oh, 90% humidity.
Dear Florida, we could never work out long-term. But I still heart ya for vacations! Love, Beth.
Nonetheless, we still want to do our part. And with environmental stewardship nagging endlessly on our minds thanks to the disaster in the Gulf, we decided to give this campaign the green (get it?!?!) light and see how it goes.
During the day, whilst we toil in the workforce, we leave the thermostat at 77 degrees, mostly for the kitties and at night we lower that bad boy down to 75 degrees. Awww yea. It’s business time baby!
We tried a few days of keeping the house at 80 degrees during the day and then 77 at night, but honestly the house really wouldn’t cool down by sleepy time, so that was a bust. There are few things more miserable than trying to sleep when your flesh is stickier than a cinnamon bun. So we tweaked things and so far, the 77 / 75 combo works out pretty well for us.
However, there are a few tricks to ease the summer heat. So we thought we’d share them here. In a list format, of course. Because that’s what chronic OCDer’s like me do. Feel free to print them out (on recycled paper!) and fan yourselves afterwards because baby it’s hot outside!
And now time for….
Beth’s Bodacious Beat The Heat Commandments:
1.) Thou shalt buy thee a fan. And runneth it.
Ain’t nothing worse than sitting in hot, humid air. Unless it’s hot humid, air that doesn’t move. Groan. Seriously, when you feel that your body has cast a mold in your immediate atmospheric vicinity, it’s high time to get yourself a fan and some circulation. You may still be warm, but at least the fan will blow the sweat out of your eyes for you.
2.) Thy Cupeth Shall Runneth Over. Hydrate yourselves people! H2O is your best, best friend. All of that sweating you’re doing essentially drains your body of its natural coolant, so familiarize yourselves with water to replenish the fluids. You want your brain simply swimming in water. Try to use a BPA free water bottle or canteen. Plastic water bottles are like so out, mmkay?
3.) Sleep Nekkid! We’ll leave this admittedly personal decision up to you. But this is summer, so we hope you’ve at least packed away the flannel pjs and the down comforter by now. Instead opt for lighter pajamas, if not next to nothing. Please note: Peaches and Curry can not be held responsible for any babies as a result of this or any other advice. Bow-Chic-A-Bow-Wow!
4.) Get Thee a Woven Cotton Blanket! Aagghhh there is nothing better than the feeling of cools sheets and an ever so light cotton blanket on soft, cool skin at night. It just whispers summer delight. After spending winter layered underneath blankets, comforters and heavy pj’s, what a heavenly feeling to crawl into bed with just two layers to snuggle into. Such welcomed refreshing lightness.
The great thing about these cotton blankets is that they breathe, providing you with that coveted blanket feeling without all the blankety blank-blank heat.
5.) Thou Goest and Eateth Out! Outside that is! Summer = Grill season, so get your BBQ on! Sure it’s hot outside but there’s usually a breeze and then your A/C doesn’t have to work three times as hard to cool down your kitchen after you slaved over the stove and oven for a meal. And who doesn’t love grilled goodies?? It’s yummy and eco-friendly(er). Double Score!
6.) Spinneth Those Ceiling Fans the Right Way: Somanna is a big…FAN (hahaha!!) of this tip. Your fans should spin in a counter-clockwise direction so as to move cool air down and push hot air up. I can’t say I fully believe this “fan phenomenon” but he is very adamant and I wish to remain married, specifically to him. So please, for the sake of our marriage, just flip that little switch on your fan back to summer mode. We have to pick and choose our battles here, folks. He folds the towels my way, I acknowledge (some) 😉 truth behind this fan-direction-obsession.
7.) Hang out Downstairs! If you remember our winter post, you’ll know we recommended hanging out upstairs then because heat rises. Well Amigos, that’s still true in the summer, summer time, so set up camp downstairs to literally beat the heat! And here are some other worthy repeats: Close doors and vents to rooms you don’t use to better circulate your air in the rooms you do use. Also, keep the blinds and curtains closed during the hottest parts of the day or if you’re not at home. No sense in cooking your home while simultaneously trying to cool it.
8.) Line Dry or Hang Dry Your Clothes: Our washer and dryer sit just outside our bedroom in a closet. Running the dryer not only uses a ton of electricity, but it also makes the upstairs feel hotter than the Amazon. The more I can line dry, the cooler we are and the smaller my electric bill. Did you know that dryers use up the most electricity in your home next to the refrigerator? They are utter energy vampires. So I have a few drying racks and try to use those for most of our clothes. Maybe one day we’ll have a house in the country and I can line dry everything, but until then the racks will do. Most things dry overnight, a day max, so it’s really not that inconvenient. Try it!
9.) Thou shalt worship no other Gods before me, especially the Sun Goddess. Avoid the sun. This may sound like a no brainer, but it bears repeating. Think about desert cultures, (as in the Sahara, not as in cakes and cookies) do they run around in short shorts and tank tops? No, they do not. They wear long sleeves and long pants / dresses in materials that breathe really, really well (cotton, linen) because they know that by protecting your skin from the sun, your body will remain cooler. Instincts may tell you to strip down to your birthday suit, but all that sun exposure is going to fry you to a crisp and leave you hot and dehydrated. Cover yourselves outside and save the nakedness for bedtime. Or at least inside-time. Ahem, when and where you do what is up to you. Finally, I’m going to get all motherly on you and remind you to always wear your sunscreen! It’s safety first here at Peaches & Curry. Because we care for you.
10.) Eat lots of Ice Cream!: This is my favorite part about summer and this list. And I think we’ve got that covered pretty well here at Casa de Peaches & Curry. See exhibit A:
Holler for frozen dairy!! And thus concludes another list proclamation. So far our June electric bill was about $20 less than last year. No major savings yet, but we’ll see how it plays out once summer is rocking and rolling come July, August and September. Even if it’s no major savings, just knowing we’re relying a little less on the grid, while maintaining a decent level of comfort, then that’s something we can easily do.