As a transplant to Oklahoma, it’s been somethin’ to get used to the insanity of Southern plains weather. I grew up accustomed to cool summer evenings, late springs, a chilly fall and a white winter.
At present, it’s searing hot in Oklahoma City. Heat-advisory invoking, dangerously, stupid hot.
Here are six summer lessons I learned in my four years as an Okie.
1.It’s so damn hot you can suffer from vitamin D deficiency trying to avoid the sun.
While pregnant with Eli at the height of the summer of ’12, I got hit with a wall of fatigue the likes I’ve not experienced before or since. The pregnancy had something to do with it, of course, but my doctor drew blood, ran some tests and discovered a vitamin D deficiency. Sunshine helps us get our vitamin D, and I’d spent so much time indoors avoiding the heat, I wasn’t getting enough of it.
2. Smart Hours marital fights are real
You can halve your electric bill by signing up for and adhering to Smart Hours, a program that aims to conserve power by using little or no air conditioning between the hottest hours of the fracking day. Electricity-savings minded Mark gets a special glint in his eye when Smart Hours time rolls around. Like most married people, we battle over the thermostat all year. Marktakes his Smart Hours commander post so seriously, I figured out quickly that it requires a lot less energy on my part to get with the program. Plus, his vigilance saves us a ton of cash. I’ve come home from work to find my family members running around in their underwear to deal with the heat. #truestory
3. The spiders get big…really big.
Spiders, we’ve discovered, like summer. There is the regal-yet-scary-looking wolf spider. I’ve gotten used to these. I exercise a catch-and-release policy, flinging them into my garden for insect control. Not so down with the brown recluse. These suckers slip into undisturbed areas, like the attic or garage or your winter clothes. After hosting a garage sale the other week we found two of them in our house. Mark called me up on the phone and in a tone of voice that suggested someone was dead, he informed me of these finds. That’s because the recluse has flesh-eating venom. Mark actually saw a wolf spider chasing a brown recluse spider in our home. He caught them both and put them in a Halloween pumpkin that served as a death arena. The brown recluse froze to play dead. We smashed it and released the other. Don’t even get me started on the black widow. We found a giant mother black widow in our shed. I wanted to burn it down. #notusedtothis
4. Summer makes you appreciate winter, spring and fall
As July and August post searing temperatures, you appreciate Oklahoma’s mild winter, beautiful spring and lovely fall. OK, OK, so occasionally, a wildfire, tornado or ice storm shows up. These are mere punctuation marks in between very tolerable strings of prose, people!
5. Fun in cold water helps us cope
Heat advisory, shmeat advisory. My pal Brianna and I still run in this weather. We make sure to run through the city’s various fountains and sprinklers, douse our heads with cold water and drink lots of H2O before, during and after. I’m a big fan of meeting up with other parents and kids at various splash pad areas in the metro. A community pool offers relief, and the city recently opened up a whitewater rafting facility, of all things. I’m considering getting a membership – they are oddly affordable – and learning to kayak in rapids. The lakes in the Sooner state, though? I’m from the Great Lakes state, so those man-made red-tinged puddles are never going to cut it for me. That’s why July and August also make trips north to see family all the more refreshing.
6. A belated love letter to Sonic Drive-in
Sonic Drive-in did not have me at hello.
“I don’t eat in my car. Gross,” I told a bewildered co-worker regarding my feelings about this drive-up Oklahoma-based fast food chain.
Little did I know I would fall for the ubiquitous restaurant. Was it the tater tots? The friendly and efficient carhops? The Diet Dr. Pepper on tap? Half-off happy hour drinks EVERY DAY? The secret menu? Some of the carhops wear roller skates. There’s even a battle. A skate-off, people. COME ON.
Sonic is like that high school friend zone boy who becomes something more when summer strikes. You don’t know how or when it happened. But here we are.
“C’mon, kids! Let’s go to Sonic! It’s tater tots and ice cream O’clock!”