Friday, July 22, 2011

Tex-Ecks Beat the Heat!

The year I was born a multitude of magnificent disaster films were released: "Earthquake", "Airport 75", and my absolute favorite, Irwin Allen's "Towering Inferno" with Paul Newman AND Steve McQueen. 

The basic plot of Towering Inferno is a greedy businessman and an ambitious architect have built the tallest building in the world at 138 stories. It's soon discovered that the project manager skirted safety specs to bring down the costs of construction. A fire breaks out and quickly begins to spread through the building putting residents and party guests directly in harm's way.

Without a doubt, one of the best things about watching this movie today is seeing O.J. Simpson playing a bit part as a security guard trying to save residents. He pretty much runs around the building, holding a kitty, repeating the same line: "Dammit Man!"
As in, "Dammit, Man! Get the ambulance!",
And, of course, "Dammit, Man! You should have sent a man up there!"
You get the idea.

I've been thinking a lot about "Towering Inferno" as we've been included in the large part of the nation that is experiencing the extreme heat, known in new-fangled meteorologist terminology: Heat Dome. Maybe it's just me, but this fancy phrase brings to mind a much less expensive graphic: I think of my mom's 1983 tupperware set that included a large maize colored bowl which my brother and I would turn upside-down and use as a jail for hot-wheels, smurfs, and other small toys that we conquered while playing on the kitchen floor. This is how I am beginning to feel. Trapped in a totally low-tech way.

Now, I know, dear Seattle friends, that this seems silly. You've been suffering a monotony of grey sky and wet weather for more than a year. Trust me, I remember it well. It literally took months here in the warmth and sun of Texas for the water that had permeated my flesh before arrival to rise up and out as steam from my casper-the-ghost white skin.

But, Dammit Man! It's hot as hell here!

It's taken me several weeks to capitulate to what resident Texans have been telling us since we arrived. It's Hot. Blazing hot. Hot as balls. Sweltering, steaming, torrid-but-not-in-a-passionate-way, freaky-deaky hot. And I know we're not alone, friends in Colorado, Illinois, and Indiana have been reporting temps that make our mere 102s and 103s seem mild. It's so hot, Tex has refrained from grilling more than once.

 The trapped feeling arises from a few circumstances. It's unsafe and uncomfortable to do some of the things I really love. Walk, for example. Long walks exploring neighborhoods is a loved pass-time. Here it's difficult to do because there aren't in-between places like there are in Seattle. There I could walk from my apartment down to the Seattle Center, catch a splash from the fountain, or stop in one of the nine coffee shops for an iced something-or-other, and then continue toward Pike Place Market, where even on the hottest days a cool breeze will reach up from the Puget Sound just when the sun's rays feel relentless.

Here, little clusters of shops and restaurants don't seem to exist in too many places. Those that do are separated by miles of roads with questionable sidewalks, or no sidewalks at all. This is frustrating because I am craving to explore more of Dallas; to get lost in little nooks and crannies of neighborhoods; to discover that lovely little out-of-the-way place that transports the visitor to another time or place for the  duration of her stay.

Even so, and I openly admit this, I prefer the relentless heat to relentless rain. There are a lot of ways to beat the heat. For starters, every where is air-conditioned. Our house thermostat is set at about 80 degrees (I know, right?!) during the day. When I head to the store, I hop in the van which cools down pretty quickly, drive under beautiful blue sky, spend a few minutes soaking up vitamin D and breaking a sweat, only to be back in the comfort of cool air provided by the market. And if I can find a parking spot shaded by a tree - even better for the return trip.

The pool is another option for cooling down. The one pictured above is the smaller of two pools within a  minute's walk of our front door. When Tex gets home from his rigorous day we head over to this shaded oasis and refresh ourselves. It's divine. 

And then there are the usual respites from any kind of weather: movie theatres (high on our agenda for this coming weekend), the library, and several museums we're eager to check-out.

Steve McQueen isn't around to extinguish the dome, and the triple digits seem to be hanging around for a few more weeks, and that's all right. While sitting inside, which I'd be doing in the rain anyway, I get to look outside and see brilliant blue sky with more than enough sun to read from while comfortably curled up by the window. And when I want it, I pop outside and feel warmed to my core. 

Dammit Man, I'm not complaining.



  1. And on this end I'm just feeling fortunate we are in such a pathetic pattern of grey skies and drizzle. Perfect excuse for curling up with a good book/movie!

  2. Kristen, Even though "back home in Indiana" it is 102, I have to agree with you on welcoming the heat over... in my case, it is welcomed over snow, not rain. At least we don't have to shovel the heat. I am not nervous about driving in the heat. I don't have to leave for work an hour early to "allow extra travel time" as the newscasters put it. And, I don't have to scrape the heat off my car windows. I don't have to worry about my son getting from point A to point B. You are exactly right; you hurry from the comfort of your home, to your car, to work, or shopping and back. And realize that in a short time,the temperature will be back down to a comfortable 85 or so. And in 3 or 4 months, we in Illinois and Indiana will be complaining about the snow once again and praying for warm weather.

  3. Mary, that sounds delicious (if sound could be delicious, that is)!
    Rhonda, someone more crafty than me should needle point that post on a sampler and hang it over the bed. Well said!

  4. Dammit man; Mr. and Mrs. Tex-Eck are amazing writers!

    Growing up in Virginia's swamp-like summers (rarely topping 100, but usually hanging out in the 90's both in temp and humidity), I can relate to this post. Reading Frost's "Fire and Ice" in English class as a kid, I always preferred the ice. Now that I live in a moderate climate and spend a lot of time outside, however, I have a different perspective.

  5. Towering Inferno, one of my earliest movie memories (must have been 5 or 6 when I saw the broadcast on network TV.) My mother made me watch to the end, so that I would know most of the cast actually escaped a fiery grave. Presumably O.J. made it, but I'll have to rewatch to make sure...

  6. while i wholly empathize with what you must be going thru (having spent the better part of this past week in Atlanta "we deep fry everything, including the parsley" Georgia), I would suggest taking the advice of the great Sir Richard Chamberlain, in his memorable role of Roger Simmons: [Takes vodka bottle and glass] I know what I'm going to do. Get quietly drunk.