Family life

This heat wave is messing with my budget!

Record high temperature find Sandra and her family spending more and saving less than they'd like.

By Sandra E. Martin
This heat wave is messing with my budget!

Photo by subman/iStockphoto

Remember how I said I'd be riding my bike to work three times a week all summer, to save money? Well, I did that the first week.

It was hot. Like, melt-the-makeup-off-my-face hot. But I was committed. And it really felt great not to squish myself into a packed subway car three times a day — and to get home faster because I didn't have to wait for a bus.

By Thursday evening, though, something was physically up. My ears felt like they were filled with water, and I was woozy. "Maybe it's an ear infection?" I mused aloud. I went to bed with a decongestant on Friday night, but was no better on Sunday. That's when it hit me: I was dehydrated! The quick swigs of water I downed between parking my bike and parking myself at my desk or my next meeting weren't enough to replenish the fluids and electrolytes and whatever I was losing on my commutes. After chugging two large bottles of Gatorade (I mean the 950 mL size, which I don't think is meant to be demolished in a single sitting), I felt normal again.

So I was cautious about overdoing it the second week. And although the weather was more moderate, I had a bunch of meetings scheduled, which meant I'd either have to pack my grown-up clothes to change into at work or take transit on those days. I opted for the latter.

Meanwhile, we've been cranking a portable air conditioner upstairs to make sleeping bearable, and running four fans on high whenever we're in the house. I'm afraid to see our next hydro bill.

Other friends without central air conditioning have commented that they're eating a lot more takeout food because they just can't bear to cook in their already overheated kitchens. A family with a baby on the way just installed a central air system.

This "heat advisory" weather is costing a lot of people big bucks! I wish I had a magic-bullet solution, but I don't. Maybe you have tips you can share with the rest of us?

This article was originally published on Jul 24, 2012

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