I'm sure I'm going to miss a few things but if you live without air conditioning and have some tips for keeping cool, please do share them in the comments!
- Shutter control. Opening the windows and shutters after the sun sets lets the cooler air in, and closing the shutters and windows when the sunlight falls directly on them help keeps the air cool inside. We have minimum success with this for two reasons: we live in a townhouse and the second floor is directly under the roof and has no insulation, and all of our windows are on the side of the house that faces due west, so we get full sun hitting our windows from 3pm until 7pm, and we have to close all of our windows, trapping in the hot air. We still do the shutter thing, it just doesn't help as much as in traditional stone houses or houses with windows on more than one side.
- Summer menu. This is the time of year to make all your favorite cold summer dishes! Pasta salads, rice salads, fresh veggies and dip, cold cuts and charcuterie, fruits and seafood, and don't forget the ice, popsicles and ice cream!
- Cook early. The only problem with the pasta and rice salads is that you have to turn on the stove to prepare them! This is a challenge for us and our open plan kitchen/living room. When I have a salad planned, I cook the pasta, rice, chicken, and whatever else needs doing as early as possible while it's still a bit cooler. Even with getting Fry his breakfast and settled for the morning I can manage to get things cooked by 9am. Plus this way I'm sure that it will have cooled down and ready to eat by lunch!
- Cook outside. Obviously this is the best way to cook in the summer but we don't have this option, unfortunately! Of course it's barbecue time so if you have the means, fire up the grill! What a great way to keep the heat out of the house!
- Hydrate, hydrate, hydrate. Do everything you can to keep the fluids going! I've gotten lazy about drinking water myself and have suffered with horrible headaches. We take extra care with Fry to offer him water at every opportunity as he often doesn't realize he's thirsty and is still too young to ask. When it's really hot, we make sure to throw drinks in the fridge, and the best tip I've gotten from a good friend was to sweeten and chill drinks with some frozen fruit!
- Take a shower. When you just can't stand the heat, jump in the shower for a nice break. Some say that a hot shower is the way to beat the heat, but for me, there's nothing better during a heatwave than a nice cold shower for temporary relief!
- Get out of the house! When the house starts trapping hot air (usually three or four days into a heatwave) it can be truly miserable at our place in the afternoons. Very often we find relief by getting out of the house and finding a shady spot outside! Whether it's a short walk by the river or a visit to the park, we very often are grateful for the fresh air and the excuse to get out of the house until the sun starts to set.
Unfortunately, even with all these tips, our house was still miserable last week, with the upstairs reaching temperatures of 35°C (95°F) and staying there through the night, forcing us to set up Fry's pack-n-play downstairs where it is a little cooler. The good news is that we at least have a closing date for the new apartment and should be in the new place for August! Until then, we're doing the best we can!