It is 1:40 pm on Sunday and already the temperature is 104 in the shade at my house Yesterday, it registered 110 at the Airport breaking all kinds of records for the hottest day. It could break that again today the way things are shaping up.
Last week, we broke another record of 70, 100 degree days in a summer and we are already way past that. Reading the newspaper today, there were pictures of starving cattle, dried up stock tanks and non-existent cotton growth. Very tough for those who make a living off the land. We don’t know what may be happening in the world of nature in terms of the wildlife struggle to survive. I get lot’s of birds in my yard attracted by the water in the ponds and streams and the seed trays that are nearly always full. I would probably be getting a lot more animals but my yard is fenced in plus a have five dogs that frighten them away.
Personally, if I have to be out in it, I can tolerate the heat pretty well for a few hours at a time. Lots of hydration, sun block and a hat and I’m OK. That’s not to say that I enjoy it as I am one of those that sweat profusely and in no time flat, I am totally soaked. The good thing about that is that immediately following one of the outside jaunts, I weigh less albeit for a couple of hours. It is good for the ego in the endless battle of the bulge. More hydration and I am back where I started, darn it.
Yesterday, I got to coach my U11 boys team in another friendly pre-season game. We started playing at 8:30 am in an attempt to beat the heat which we pretty much did. There were a couple of other games that followed and a couple of my players participated to help out the other team. Luckily, we had them drinking water and sitting in the shade out of the direct sun when they were not playing and it worked out OK for us and them.
Years ago, I was playing in a Tournament in Dallas for one of my teams. We had made it to the semi final and it was like our second or third game of the day as it usually goes at tournaments. The fields didn’t have any shade except for the floodlight poles and a little square at the end. It was so funny to see this line of players and a little cluster at the top all trying to get out of the sun. The temperature that day reached 108 degrees which is the hottest I have ever played in.
Another time, we were playing in Houston which has a different sort of heat problem. It is called humidity and believe me, much more strength sapping that the dryer heat in Dallas. This too was also our second or third game of the day and under normal circumstances, our team was very competitive when it came to fighting for playing time. Everyone wanted to play except on this particular day. In the second half, we were begging to be substituted and the problem was that those that were on the sidelines had no desire to get back in. I saw players who would normally be full of energy totally drained with nothing left in the tank. Can’t remember if we won or lost but nobody cared anyway.
From my spot at the kitchen table in front of my computer, I can see my back yard out of the picture window. I have several feeders which are always busy mostly with Goldfinches and Cardinals. And Doves. Lots of Doves. All struggling to land onto feeders that are way too small for them. The smart ones are on the ground cleaning up the mess the others create. I usually have several squirrels but lately, I only see the occasional one that comes in mostly to drink. I don’t know what may have happened to the rest. The yard still looks green as I water by hand every two days. It takes me about an hour and a half to do the job but it is relaxing. Things are beginning to die back and other places in the yard which I have purposely left wild and don’t water are already dead including the ground cover, small trees and shrubs. It will be interesting to see what the long-term damage out of this drought will be. That is, if it ever does rain again. Where are the hurricanes when we need them…Not far from my house is a water storage facility that normally is full. I stopped by this one the other day and took pictures of a pair of White Egrets that were cleaning out any remnants of life from the fast depleting water. What I didn’t realize when I took the pictures was the pair of ducks and their family of small ducklings and the number of turtles that also showed up in the picture. I wonder what happened to them all.
Every couple of hours, I go out to feed the fish and check on the filters. When I first step out of the door, it is like a blast furnace as the first wave of heat hits me. After I walk around for a bit mumbling under my breath about how bloody hot it is, I begin to get a little used to it and although it is still hot, the blast furnace effect has gone away. The dogs, who are all inside in the A/C all troop out with me but usually very quickly desert me and head back indoors. Ritchie, the tearaway dachshund and BeBe who is a wannabee tearaway dachshund but is just a little too chunky and whose three-inch legs are not much for traipsing over rough ground and long grass, make one or two circuits of the yard to check that everything is the way they left it before they too, are back in the A/C.
I did make good use of my time, other than writing this blog, by doing a pile of laundry, putting fresh, clean sheets on the bed and even sweeping up the dog hair and debris that five dogs and two cats can accumulate. I looked at the shelves and all of the ornaments collected over the years and saw that they really could use a dusting but that would be taking this domestic thing too far so I ignored it.
This morning, my most favorite soccer team, Manchester United was playing on Fox Soccer against Arsenal. Normally, I tape these games except when Man U plays and then I try to watch them live if at all possible. I just hate to go to the fields and some idiot will blurt out the score of a game that I have taped to watch later, totally ruining it for me. Nothing like having the suspense of the real thing instead of already knowing the outcome. I have to say that today, Man U played extremely well and were worthy winners. On days like this, I marvel at how well they played. On other days, when they didn’t do so good, I look for excuses and walk around with this dark cloud hanging over my head. I am very impressed with Sir Alec Ferguson not just because he is such a good coach but more for the fact that in this day and age, he is the longest-serving coach in the EPL at 20 years on the job. Plus, he is an old guy like me and still going strong. All for the love of the game to which I can relate.
Well, it is now 107 in the shade with the humidity at 16 percent. hate to think what it is in the sun. Thank goodness for Air Conditioning…