by Annette Bridges. ©2010. All rights reserved.

My husband and I spent the afternoon in a dark air-conditioned movie theater, while another friend said she and her spouse spent the day floating in their pool. Both are good reprieves from a hot scorching sun.

This is summertime in Texas. I don’t even head to the beauty shop without an ice chest packed with something cool to sip on.

Like my snowbird friends who head south for the winter, we sunbirds head to the hills in search of a cool mountain breeze. Our August trip to Colorado will be a much welcomed respite from the unrelenting heat.

It’s not only sizzling in my neck of the prairie — we’ve gone over 25 days without a soaking rain shower. Dry, dusty days means my house is dirty. And the steamy weather is giving me an “I don’t care” chip on my shoulder.

Instead of cleaning house yesterday, which was my original intent, I spent much of it napping with my dachshund on the sofa under a ceiling fan — I might add — and watching DVDs. This is another pleasant intermission from sweltering temps.

My birthday is coming up, and I told my mom all I want is homemade ice cream. And I gave my daughter my DVD wish list. Now that’s a great way to spend an afternoon when the temperatures are miserably roasting — watching movies while eating homemade ice cream!

And when I can’t have ice cream, I’d settle for a chilly slice of watermelon to take the sweat off my brow. Or a cold glass of lemonade or sweet tea would go down mighty nice, too.

I’m expecting to get my stack of new books read this summer. When it’s simply too darn hot outside to worry about my flowers anymore, reading books is my relief plan.

Of course, there will be days when I must do some shopping. This will entail parking in the covered parking lot no matter how long I must vulture for an open spot. And this will mean going to one of the few indoor air-conditioned malls that remain near me. Whoever had the not-so-bright idea to build all of these outdoor shopping centers has never lived in Texas!

But whoever coined the phrase — “Christmas in July” — must be Texas born. I’ve discovered that Christmas shopping in July is another good way to find deliverance from smoldering outdoor temperatures.

I can still recall my first few summers after moving to the Lone Star State. My favorite way to chill down was sun bathing on a lounge chair completely surrounded by sprinklers. I set the water pressure where I was constantly getting lightly pebbled with water. We didn’t have central air conditioning back then, and our window unit couldn’t cut the mustard once the century mark was reached. This is when water does the job.

I’ve found that any water will do! Times well-spent in a swimming pool, the ocean, lake, river or water park are other soothing ways to fritter away summertime outdoors.

Tempers seem to be shorter when the thermometer goes up, so summertime also brings the need for more patience and tolerance. Consider the possibility that the driver who just cut you off may be riding in a car with a broken air-conditioner. Or the friend who seemed a bit abrupt over the telephone may have been busy trying to find an electrician to come fix the broken air-conditioning system in her house — sometime before next month. Yes, we could all use more compassion on hot summer days.

So, you’re feeling hot, tired, drained and in need of a break? Simmer down, my friends and refresh yourself. It’s summertime and this requires easy living. There isn’t much that needs to be done that can’t wait for a cooler day to do it. At least this is how I plan to survive the rest of my hot summer days!