Staying Cool on Hot Days


IF YOU’VE been reading my column over the years, you know my policy on hot weather: I’m not a fan. Staying cool takes a lot of energy and I don’t mean in the form of watts or voltage. I’m talking about the creative energy it takes to avoid a total meltdown. I’ve tried everything except a clothing-optional camp to stay cool this summer. The research has been extensive and I’m ready to share it here:

Pack up your swimsuit and sandals (and kids if you’ve got them) and drive to Pleasanton. Ignore the fact that the temperature climbs a degree for every mile you travel east — you’re headed to a little-known water park where you won’t have to fight throngs of kids to ride the slides. Shadow Cliffs is an old gravel quarry turned lake, not far from the Stoneridge mall. You can swim and boat here, but the real fun is next door at the California Splash waterslides. For $10, you get a half day of the best aerobic exercise around — climbing the cement walkway and flying down one of four wet and wild waterslides — over and over. You feel like a kid as you fly around corners and over the lip in a spray of water that feels like liquid heaven. The bigger your body, the faster you go — which is a bonus for adults. Just hang on to your swimsuit when you get to the plunge pool at the bottom. This is not a clothing-optional water park.

Still not cool enough for you? Then grab your mittens and head to Berkeley Iceland. For $10, you can rent skates and go round and round the rink until you can’t feel your toes. The winter scene (complete with twinkling Christmas lights) transports you to a season of frosty bliss. You may even want to buy a hot chocolate.

If these ideas don’t excite you, then break down and buy a home cooling system. This is almost unheard of in the hills, but desperate times call for desperate measures. And while you’ll get soaked for a summertime purchase like this, it’s better than being soaked with perspiration for the next three months.

PHONE THEFT: Reader Joy Somerville has a tip for cell phone users who want an easy way to de-activate their phones if the phones are lost or stolen. Jot down your phone’s serial number, which you can find by keying in *#06#.

“Write it down and keep it safe,” said Somerville. “Should your mobile phone ever get stolen, you can phone your service provider and they’ll be able to block your handset, making it totally useless.”

ANIMAL TALES: If a cat has nine lives, how about a dog? Oakland Zoo director Joel Parrott says his dog used up at least one of those lives when he was left for dead in the bushes behind George Zimmer’s house. Zimmer, the owner of the Men’s Wearhouse, called Parrott and he came out to take the animal away.

“As I was putting him in the body bag, his eye twitched,” he said, “and we took him to the zoo and stabilized him and the emergency clinic helped through the weekend and he started eating — and now he’s my dog!”

PERFORMANCE PAJAMAS: Finally, there’s a product for women who find themselves flinging off their nighties in the middle of the night. The trendy women’s fashion shop in Montclair, Utopia, is selling pajamas that fight night sweats.

Wildbleu has a patented stay-dry fiber and comes in seven cooling colors. The one called arctic should really get the job done.

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