Lordy, oh lordy is it HOT here in Kansas. Stu and the kids and I are visiting his parents for the week, following my cousin's wedding in Oklahoma over last weekend. Other than traveling from place to place and attending the nuptials, we have been largely occupied finding ways to avoid the sweltering heat.
Early last week we drove down to Lawrence to see Steph (whose blog I would link if she'd update it more often...ahem...) and Eric and, of course, their cats. It was downright tropical outside, with highs well into the 90s and very high humidity, the sort of weather in which simply stepping outside to get something from the car is enough to have you drenched with sweat in the 30 or so seconds it takes to get back to the house. We went running anyway, in the early morning. And if it weren't for Stephanie's cats providing the kids with constant entertainment, we might have run out of things for them to do inside. Djuna, who is old and decrepit, mostly kept out of their way, though since she has gone deaf the kids didn't seem to alarm her much. Bonzo, who is still lithe and limber, was the focus of their attention, especially Daniel, who delighted in spraying Bonzo with water whenever he was being naughty jumping on the counter or the dining room table. This happened pretty often.
One day in Lawrence we decided to venture to the local aquatic center to cool off. We donned our swim gear and piled into the car, only to find out upon our arrival that the pool was temporarily closed. "We had a fecal in the pool," the attendant informed us lazily, "so we won't be open for another 20 minutes or so while that gets cleaned up." I was somewhat disconcerted by two things, the first being that twenty minutes is sufficient time to clean up when someone shits in the pool, and the second being that this lady seemed so nonplussed by the incident. "How often does this happen?" I asked her. "A lot," she replied frankly. "At least twice a week." Well, that did it. We may have been dripping with sweat and miserable in the heat, but I wasn't desperate enough to take my family to a body of water that is crapped in on such a regular basis, so we decided to go to the hardware store and buy an inflatable wading pool instead.
But first we went to the liquour store. We wanted beer for the evening, and Stuart wanted to get some scotch for my brother's birthday present, so he and Steph and the kids and I, miserable and sweating, still donned in swim gear (except Steph, who had planned to just hang out at the public library this whole time), entered the liquour store, where Anya decided that she was done, finished, finito with the entire situation. She dragged herself partway across the floor and then lay down in front of a refrigerator full of Budweiser, and whimpered that she was thirsty. "Do you have a water fountain?" I asked the guy at the register. "No," he replied, unhelpfully. "Do you sell bottled water?" "No." And then he looked at my flushed, pathetic daughter, and volunteered that there was a water cooler in the back room and that we could help ourselves if we liked. This helped considerably, and I'm happy to say we made it to the hardware store and back to Steph's place without anyone fainting of dehydration or any other drama.
Oklahoma was hotter still. We spent two nights in Guthrie, a cute little town about twenty miles north of Oklahoma City, where my cousin David got married Saturday evening. The ceremony was outdoors, but blessedly brief, seeing as it was still 100 degrees by 7:00 when they got started, and the reception, of course, was inside. (Everything was quite lovely, if sweaty, and went without a hitch.)
Because the whole extended family doesn't get together too often like this, several of us decided to hang around on Sunday to spend some more time together, and there were some attempts at sight-seeing in the Oklahoma City area. Those of us in my generation (cousins, spouses, significant others) spent considerable time seeking out a good cup of coffee, a search that ended in vain when we realized that absolutely nothing and I mean NOTHING is open in downtown Guthrie on a Sunday morning. The handwritten sign reading "WEEKLY SATURDAY NIGHT SHOOTOUT SPONSORED BY THE GUNFIGHTERS ASSOCIATION" suggested that we'd missed all the fun the night before.
Our comedy of errors continued for the rest of the day when we got lost trying to find the place we'd planned to go to for lunch in Oklahoma City (though we ended up at a really good diner instead that served honest-to-goodness fresh squeezed orange juice and cheese grits to die for). Even though walking outside felt exactly like walking into a furnace, we wanted to find something interesting to do. We women-folk took the kids and drove around looking for the botanical gardens, which are evidently under construction; where the gardens should have been was instead a giant pile of dirt, several excavators and an empty greenhouse. At this point, we bagged the sight-seeing and just went out for ice cream before returning to the hotel. While we were driving around in downtown Oklahoma City, the guys went disc golfing in the 106-degree heat, where Stuart got stung by something larger and meaner than a bee (a wasp, perhaps, or a hornet) and had to rush back to the hotel for his epi-pen in case he started going into anaphylactic shock. Fortunately, he neither went into shock nor had to give himself a shot, but his hand is swollen and he spent much of today knocked out with a dose of benadryl.
Now we are back in Kansas at my in-laws' house, which is located just a few blocks away from a brand new splash park. Thank goodness, because the predicted high temperature tomorrow is 110. Somehow those Wisconsin winters don't seem so bad now.