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In Our Own Backyard...It's the summer of hot flashes and cold feet

This summer has had me going from hot to cold and everywhere in between. Three weeks ago the weather was blustery and wet, followed by a week of near-perfect temperatures over the Fourth and then a stifling heat wave that laid most of us low.

Last Saturday's breezy, temperate weather came as a blessed relief. My husband and I were headed over to Grand Rapids to visit my mom that morning. As we climbed into the car, I was amazed at what a different take the two of us had on the day. Ken was in shorts, T-shirt and sandals, and I was in long pants, tall socks, hiking shoes and a sweatshirt.

"I have a feeling one of us is going to be mighty uncomfortable...." I speculated.

By the time we got to Grand Rapids late that morning, I was ready to peel off the sweatshirt -- though nowhere near ready to climb into shorts.

We sat out in the midday sunshine after lunch, which at first felt glorious. After 20 minutes we were ready to retreat to the comparative shadiness of the living room.

That night we went out to a restaurant for dinner and decided to eat out on the deck. The tables in the full sunshine looked inviting, so we all settled in and ordered our meals. Before our food arrived, we had already moved to a table in the shade.

During the balminess of the evening, we ate ice cream topped with freshly picked strawberries, and the frosty treat felt wonderful as it melted down our throats. Less than an hour later I had pulled on my sweatshirt once again.

As my mom headed off for bed that night, she looked at me and grinned as she said, "The electric blanket is still on your bed if you need it....."

It's that sort of on-again, off-again weather that has thrown my psyche into a tailspin. At night I fling off the covers, but awaken with them pulled up around my face. I never know how to dress for work in the morning, because inevitably the temperature changes dramatically by the middle of the day and I end up too hot or too cold.

Monday morning the meteorologist on the morning news said the temperature was going to get up to nearly 75 degrees. I was wise enough to dress in layers, but in a weak moment I decided to put on open-toed sandals. The weather didn't feel all that balmy when I stepped out the front door, however, and my feet and ankles were soon cold.

When I got to work, the office was stuffy after being shut up all weekend and the air conditioner kicked in.

"You know," I announced to no one in particular, "it would feel a lot better if we just turned off the air conditioning and opened the front door for a while...." The suggestion didn't meet with any resistance, so I turned off the air and propped open the door.

A half hour later one of my co-workers announced it was getting warm in the office and that we'd better turn the air back on. Since I work in an office of mostly women, it is inevitable that one or two of them are approaching the "change of life" at any given point in time, so I decided to humor them and turn the air back on -- despite the fact that my feet and ankles had just barely started to warm up.

The sun was bearing down as I left to run errands on my lunch hour that day, so I turned on the air conditioning in my car and the twin streams of cool air coming out the vents felt heavenly. My car was hot when I left work that day, so I once again turned on the air. It didn't take long before my feet in the open-toed sandals started getting cold so I turned off the air.

Ten minutes later, I turned on the heat.