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27 July 2006
Achieving a new record can be a good thing.
Being the fastest swimmer, or the strongest athlete, or the highest jumper, or the best speller, or the guy who can eat the most hot dogs.
All good goals to aim for.
"Longest number of days over 100 degrees in California history" is definitely not one of those records that you aspire to break.
And yet we have done so. The 106 degree temperatures on Tuesday night marked the 10th day of 100+ degree weather, which is breaking heat records all across the state, with another 3-digit day expected for Wednesday. El Cajon, where temperatures reached 113 on Saturday, was recording a record 12 degrees higher than its previous record. In Escondido, where the previous record was 96, it was 112.
Records were set or tied Saturday at all five of the National Weather Service's recording locations in the Central Valley: 109 degrees in Sacramento, 111 in Redding, and 112 in Red Bluff, Stockton and Modesto. San Francisco's 87 degrees topped an 81-degree record set in 1917.
The weather service noted that the scorching weekend temperatures that fried the region were not only record-breaking, "but largely unprecedented in recorded history."
"California heat may be global warming," said United Press.
Gee. Ya think? (Go now and see An Inconvenient Truth)
Monday set a new record for peak energy demand, 50,270 megawatts, which was 11 per cent higher than the record set last year. Pretty impressive until that record was broken on Tuesday, when it reached 50,538 megawatts.
But the end may be in sight, finally.
We went to see South Pacific at Music Circus last night and, despite the daytime temperatures, I was encouraged to note that for the first time since this heat wave started, it did not feel like a sauna when we left the house. It was warm, but not oppressive.
Inside the theatre it was so cold that the woman next to me was wearing a fur-lined sweater. I was enjoying the goose bumps.
When we emerged from the theatre and were standing in line waiting for the elevator to take us up five floors to the car, I suddenly realized that I was feeling something I hadn't felt in a very long time: a cool breeze.
On the drive home, we opened the windows and the sun roof and enjoyed the cool air blowing through the house. And the house didn't even seem stiffling when we got home again.
We are not at the end of this heat wave by a long shot, but today may be the last day of triple digits. The forecast for the next several days is for temperatures in the high 90s, which actually sounds pleasant to me--and never did I ever think I would feel that!
The dogs have been affected by the heat. Not that they have been suffering from any sun related effects, but both of them have been acting strange. Kimba is doing a lot of pacing, back and forth, trying to find a comfortable place to settle. She has become not only my constant companion, but seems to have permanently attached herself to my ankles, so I'm constantly tripping over her. The only place she seems truly comfortable is in her little cage under my desk, but she feels duty bound to move when I move, so I try not to move too much.
I had been feeling so good because she seemed to actually have stopped peeing in the house, but in the past week that has picked up significantly. Yesterday she hit an all time record. I had washed the mats in the kitchen after the last time she peed on them. They had not been on the floor for about two days, and I finally put them down and within three seconds she had peed on one of the mats again.
As for Her Royal Highness, Sheila, the problem I'd been having with her getting outside, barking, and then stubbornly refusing to come near me when I called her, because she knew she would end up locked in the house, seemed to have ended. Her barking has reduced significantly over the past few months.
However, all of a sudden she seems leery of coming near me when it involves coming into the house. She wouldn't even come into the house to eat, but would peek her head around the corner of the door and look at the bowl, but then jump back. It's very strange because she has hardly been locked inside in a very long time, so this reversion to old behavior is odd. But who knows what goes on inside that head. We long go realized that she is smarter than both of us combined, so whatever she's figured out, I'll never know.
I thought I could trick her the other night. It was midnight and she refused to come inside, so I just left the door open and I went to my recliner and pretended to be asleep. She stood at the door and watched me for about five minutes. I didn't move and kept my eyes closed, except for watching her through teeny slits. I made sure that my breathing was slow and steady. (It feels so weird to play these games for the dog. Cesar Milan would shake his head at me, I know.)
Finally, she put one paw inside and literally crouched down and crept into the family room. My plan had been to close the door as soon as she was inside, but my foot moved ever so slightly and she leaped up and raced outside again, big satisfied grin on her face.
I gave up. She won. I just went to sleep and left the door opened. She was inside when I woke up and I have no idea when she decided to grace us with her presence in the house.
PHOTO OF THE DAY