Wilder by Far

A look at life with the Wilder family. Updated most weekends and some vacation days. You can contact me at movingnorth@gmail.com..

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Location: United States

Sunday, August 12, 2007

"We're all aware of the need for salt on a hot and arid planet like this, professor. But it's a mystery." - The One True Shatner, Star Trek

Houston in summer, which looks a lot like Houston in winter, except winter has 40% less agony.

I grew up in a touristy, mountainish place. As such, during the hottest day in the summer you’d typically see that it only got up into the mid-eighties (with, oh, 6% humidity), and local people whined as if they had been immersed into the vat of oil that our community kept around for boiling heretics (you know, reading Harry Potter books, holding hands without being married, being “not from around here,” that sort of stuff).

During August, the license plates from Texas would outnumber the local plates by about 123:1. The Texans also drove (generally) brand new and far nicer vehicles than anyone from our community. We shook our heads, wondering why they came (uninvited) to visit every year. They kept talking about how nice my hometown was. Then they left, which we liked, in much the way that the last Texas plate leaving the state seemed to mean that the last mosquito had died.

Now that I live in Texas, I can tell you why Texans visit my old home town. People leave Texas (at least Houston) in August because it’s very, veryveryveryveryvery hot here in August.

When The Boy and I were travelling back from the matinee showing of Transformers, well, let’s just say that when he grows up, the Ford Motor Company© will have to hire him because the seat belt-induced brand indicates that The Boy is their property. I think he screamed when the bare parts of his legs touched the seat. It was that hot in the car. When I brought him through the front door The Mrs. thought he looked a little melty.

Earlier, it had been cool in the theater as a gaggle of seven to nine-year-old boys sat with a parent or two watching a Chevy™ Camaro® turn into a giant yellow robot. As the action sequences ended (about a half an hour into the movie) you could see large numbers of boys, filled with the discomfort of retaining 75 ounces of fluid while hoping that Optimus Prime® would stop fighting Megatron™ long enough so that they could sprint to the bathroom and back (hopefully while all that stupid talking and kissing was going on) in time to view an F-22 Raptor© turn into a robot and bomb someplace in Nevada. Fortunately it was Nevada, which has good experience with bombs, though less experience with autonomous rampaging robots.

The movie? Good mindless summer fun. Ticket prices were more expensive than my mortgage payment. I had to pledge my kidney and retinas as collateral to afford the popcorn and Raisinettes®, but it was a good time. The Boy’s eyes lit up at all the right places, and he looked as happy as I’ve ever seen him. The Transformers are probably the greatest toyentertainment idea ever for boys – cars (which both The Boy and Pugsley love even more than sugary treats or torturing the dog with a blowtorch and tongs) that turn into gigantic fighting robots.

The Mrs.? She sat at home in a relatively peaceful state, with only one smelly boy (Pugsley) to contend with. Since our house has the wondrous thermodynamic gift of air conditioning, Pugsley wasn’t even all that sweaty.

In Houston in the summertime the most minimal outdoor activity (e.g., breathing) will lead to moderate sweating in about 13 seconds. Continual work outside leads to massive outpourings of sweat, enough to dehydrate a stout Jim Belushi into a withered Joan Rivers in about fifteen minutes of moderate labor.

So, this weekend, I avoided even moderate labor. It seemed to work. Typing was about as rough as it got. The Mrs. even did the mowing.

So, rather than parking my Texas license plates in a state with a sane temperature and spending my summer in some alpine palace with cold beer on tap from the bathroom faucet, I write to you from Casa Wilder in the hot summer sun.

Perhaps next year I’ll drive near my home and throw money out the window, soaking in a climate where nobody ever thought of owning an air conditioner. I think I'm figuring it all out . . .
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Anonymous Anonymous said...

One solution frequently used in Dallas is to valet your car, yes, even at the movies. It's nice to have someone else get into the sauna first and crank the air for a minute before you get your car. Then you can sit on their burnt flesh that remains on the seat.

As for the newer, nicer cars in Texas, I had a similar view of Texas cars when I moved here from "up north" but I realized that it's mostly that they're just nicer here. They just look newer because there's no salt to create rust to eat away the newness.

3:01 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

The rules state that all good places
to live have a climate where swamp
coolers work, and bumpy horizons.

Trees do not make a horizon. Stark
geologic formations create horizons.
(I might give into flatness due to

If the swamp cooler won't work, you
shouldn't live there.

8:05 PM  
Blogger John said...

ahhh, burnt flesh of valets. Love it. Makes the seat kinda crunchy, though.

Also, agreed. Vintage and coolness collide.

No horizon here, except that flat thing. Where are the bumpy parts?

A swamp cooler would work, but the water flowrate (4,000,000 gpm) would kill you.

7:25 PM  

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