Saturday, June 20, 2009

warm, sunny days; cool nights

When I graded Melaque as a potential spot to start my Mexican adventure, I knew that weather was going to be a problem.

I like warm, sunny days. The type of weather that lures you outside to enjoy adventure.

Remember? The ultimate goal of being here is for the adventure, not the minor details.

But I need those days of adventure to cool off at night. I seldom sleep under sheets or covers -- I like my sleeping chambers to be cool.

If we were in court, I would be objecting to my testimony. Warm. Cool. How subjective can you get?

OK. I will be more specific.

My comfort envelope goes from about 45˚ to 69˚.

65˚ to 69˚ is warm. Anything over that is hot -- and I will tolerate it: to a degree.

55˚ to 45˚ is cool. And usually comfortable.

I gave Melaque an unabashed "F" on this factor. And then I weaseled: "I am not moving to Mexico for the weather."

So, has two months changed my mind?

No. But I certainly know more than I did before I moved down here.

Nancy recently commented on the weather in Mazatlan in "It’s a scorcher" complete with charts and graphs. Jennifer then entered the discussion.

I now know that I should be looking at dew point if I want to fully understand the comfort factor between temperature and relative humidity. I also know that any dew point over 74˚ is considered "extremely uncomfortable, fairly oppressive." And that does not strike me as being very subjective, at all.

Let the record reflect that the dew point in Melaque has been over 74˚ for the past two weeks. And I will stipulate that it has been "extremely uncomfortable, fairly oppressive."

And what about those weasel words of last August? "I am not moving to Mexico for the weather."

True. But almost irrelevant.

Ignoring the weather on the coast is like trying to ignore that your left sleeve is on fire. You may not be there to be immolated, but it is happening.

I have discovered, though, that I am not the dilettante I styled myself to be in August. I have a far greater tolerance for weather -- when forced to be tolerant. (There may be a broader lesson there. But, it will wait for another post.)

Both Jiggs and I have enjoyed being out in the otherwise-oppressive weather for short bursts during the day. Otherwise, we sit in the shade of the patio reading. Well, I read. Jiggs thinks about reading -- with his eyes shut.

But tolerance only goes so far before turning into mindless patronizing. And all of my ability to tolerate the sun during the day does not work when the sun goes to bed and leaves its demon heat children behind. Even with three electric fans, I have trouble sleeping.

To give Melaque a fair shake, I need to see what the other seasons offer. But, so far, my inability to sleep is starting to affect my judgment on other factors.

The warmth by the sea during the day gets a passing grade. But the nights get an "F."


Felipe said...

My comfort envelope goes from about 45˚ to 69˚.

That one sentence should have ruled out the Mexican coast at the get-go, amigo.

By the way, my comfort envelope is the same as yours! We have something in common.

Islagringo said...

I think you will only achieve what you are looking for in weather in the mountains and central Mexico. The oppressive humidity will follow you along all the coasts of Mexico. You may need to put on your criteria list for houses "air-conditioned bedroom".

Anonymous said...

I can relate to your post today. A while back you wrote about doing garden work in short sleeves in Salem while the temps were in the forty's....I surmised that you were like me and Melaque's humidity and temps would be difficult, especially sleeping. Hang on, October is not far away.

Nancy said...

I couldn't sleep most nights if we didn't have air conditioning in the bedrooms, Steve.

I can't imagine spending what you are for your rental and not having air in the bedrooms. Seems crazy.

I'd be a monster if I didn't get sleep, hopefully you nap during the day when you can.

I think IslaGringo nailed it with the mountains and central Mexico. Or, since you rent, winter on the coast and summer in the mountains.

Christine said...

I was pretty surprised when you started your life in Mexico on the coast during the hottest months. I am afraid without aire conditionario you will be waiting until October for relief! Since you have already determined to rent for awhile, what about six month rental in the mountains (hot months) and six months on the coast?

Calypso said...

The low end of your comfort level is the lowest I have witnessed here in the Xalapa area - the high is more like low 80's - I don't think you can get such a high low that will provide such a low high (can you follow that ;-). I think if you checkout the annual average temp charts both in C and F a few Blog entries down from my current ones you will see the weather is pretty close to ideal for what you are wanting. It ALWAYS cools off at night here - never gets below 45 - plenty of rain but usually at the end of the day and refreshing - no drought problems - we are tropical.

I find humidity to be very micro- climate based - in other words you can go a few miles from here and have a lot more problems with humidity. I think the humidity here is similar to what we experienced in Southern Oregon - enough to keep the skin supple, but not so much to rust away our bicycles ;-)

Our temperature range had to get high marks on your wish list I believe.

Laurie said...

I first moved to Comayagua, a picturesque colonial capital city. The climate was unbearably warm most of the year. Of course it cooled off a bit at night. My mission was over in that city, and I felt called to Tegu. Consider a move to the mountains as Islagringo suggested. I love the low humidity. Right now it's about 64 degrees with a high of maybe 80 in the middle of the day. But I will be in the mts today so I may need a light jacket for rain and cool breezes. Soldier on, amigo!

Al said...

"when the sun goes to bed and leaves its demon heat children behind"

What a great expression! Such a jewel. Your way with words continues to amaze me.

Babs said...

Well Steve, first off the umbrella looks like a Nepalese prayer flag. Way cool. I too can't believe you don't have a/c in the bedroom at night. Hopefully you have oscillating fans stirring the demon children around. Several things you said made me laugh - but the bottom line is you did describe the weather in San Miguel.
Your tolerance for cold would make you LOVE San Miguel in the winter where it only gets in the 30's a couple of times a year but does stay in the 50's. Too cold for me.
So, come check it out.

Steve Cotton said...

Felipe -- Why did I start this trek on the coast? Easy. The water. I am drawn to the sea almost as a primordial urge. I just spent the morning eating my corn flakes while watching the waves roll in. And I am content. Compare that with mere weather, and I will choose the ocean every time.

Islandgringo -- I have attempted to avoid the air conditioned bedroom because of the cost. My electric bill should arrive soon. When I have a baseline, I will consider turning on the portable air conditioner in the bedroom. Strange enough, I slept well last night. Perhaps, merely exhausted.

Francisco -- I am surprised at how well I am adapting. And I still have a few tricks up my sleeve for the summer.

Nancy -- I have learned the joys of napping during the day. That usually happens somewhere in the middle of a chapter when I just drift off. There is a portable air conditioner in the bedroom. I tried it when Jiggs was first having his breathing difficulties. I am not certain how efficient it is. But I may soon give it a try.

I do not want to completely abandon the coast. You know too well the attraction that water has for we former Pacific Northwesterners.

Christine -- Splitting time may be an option. Of course, that means paying a premium for each move, but that is why they call it the free market.

Calypso -- Maybe I should just take a look at Klamath Falls, after all. :}

Laurie -- The ideal would be to live in the mountains at 7000 feet with a view of the ocean. Now, that would be dramatic.

Al -- Thank you, sir. You are most generous. Always have been.

Steve Cotton said...

Babs -- The umbrella is on my neighbors' property. It was intact until the winds started whipping up here on the coast. But it does make a nice photograph. Thanks for the compliment.

And here is the irony. After living in this heat for 8 months, I suspect my internal thermostat will re-set. When I get to the mountains, I will freeze like a transplanted banana.

Jackie said...

It is 58 degrees here in Milwaukie now with a high of 70 degrees forecasted for the next several days. Along with that comes a chance of showers every day. Yesterday’s “chance of showers” was a horrendous downpour for about 20 minutes causing several auto accidents during the afternoon commute.
Oh wll, it is June in Oregon!

Todd said...

On that one, Patzcuaro gets an A my friend!


Constantino said...

Well at least you know what it is like on the Pacific Coast, cool crisp nights, warm sunny days, lots of culture, San Miguel is calling.....
There is a beautiful house for sale I seem to remember seeing a few days ago on your post, and the ocean is only a mere 100 miles away.....
Now you know why we are where we are. The climate, the closest I found to Northern California and Southern Oregon and if I want I can have the ocean a few hours away by car.
I love the beach,sand and ocean views but there is nothing better than sleeping in a cool nights air and not having an air conditioning bill ever.
Keep looking....

Theresa in Mèrida said...

Steve it takes awhile to get acclimatized, the ac makes it harder to do so, because when you leave it's influence you are enveloped by the humidity.
Mérida only gets into your comfort zone in the winter. I would be cold then. I hate being cold more than I hate being hot.
You might want to check out Jalapa, it might suit you. I need more sunshine than that.

Calypso said...

Steve I lived in Ashland for 16 years - just a couple in KFalls while I still maintained a place in Ashland. All still we are talking Xico-Coatepec-Xalapa here not Oregon ;-)but then I bet you knew that...

Steve Cotton said...

Jackie -- I have always felt that Oregon summers are about as perfect as weather can get. But I am after adventure. (How do Oregonians have auto accidents in the rain? Isn't that a little bit like fish drowning?)

Todd -- If I recall, I may have had Patzcuaro in mind when I drafted my list.

Constantino -- The house for sale was in Patzcuaro (Todd's house). And the ocean is almost as close there as it is to SMA. But looking out my window right now at the beach is a reminder why I chose Melaque first.

Theresa -- That is exactly why I have put off hooking up the air conditioner in the bedroom. I do not want to become reliant on it. I have already given in to driving when I should walk -- merely to use the truck air conditioner. That will simply lead to more weight gain.

When I visited Cuba in April 2001, my hosts apologized for how cold it was (in the 70s). I was roasting.

1st Mate said...

Steve - I suggest you cut yourself some slack and use the AC for a while. Just gradually reduce the amount of time it's on, and the temp you set it. Run the fan too, and get some sleep. Then you can wean yourself off it. Electric bills get an adjustment to allow for AC during the three months of summer, as I understand it.

Chrissy y Keith said...

oh, Steve, it will only get worse. And I agree with Theresa, you will acclimate. Ice packs in the pillow cases. Apply to the back of the neck.

Steve Cotton said...

Calypso -- Yeah. Oregon was just cheap diversion. Our own little inside joke.

1st Mate -- We shall see. There are hotter days ahead.

Larry in Mazatlan said...

If your CFE bill is like ours, there will be a twelve month histogram of use; last year compared to this year. It lets you see how you're doing.

The cost of AC can be reduced by using the dehumidify setting on the AC unit. In a humid area that doesn't get too hot it keeps things amazingly comfortable and uses less power.

Not every place gets the government subsidy during the summer. It runs from mid-May to October and covers almost half of the bill. It's a good thing because electricity is expensive here.

Keep an eye on your usage because you don't want to get kicked up into the commercial rate.


Steve Cotton said...

Larry -- I have not yet received my first CFE bill. But I have heard the concern about excessive usage leading to jumping up the price of electricity -- for each watt. I want to hold off as long as I can on using the unit. For now, fans will do. If Jiggs shows any further signs of heat distress, I might start using the dehumidifier function earlier.

Mic said...

Steve, I sent a bunch of these cool ties - (see bottom of page)

to a neighbor kid stationed in Afghanistan when it was super hot. He reported they worked great. If you can find the polymer (found mine at Lowes in Garden Supply Dept.) and give it to a seamstress down there, she could sew up a bunch in a day probably at a very reasonable price. Actually, there's not that much sewing - you could do it by hand if you wanted to try.

They would cool the Prof off also.

You might want to check out these sites for ordering other Coolers

Steve Cotton said...

Chrissy -- I tried the ice packs. Good for the neck, but not for the remainder. Maybe I need to be patient.

Mic -- Nice suggestions.

Nancy said...

Steve, I just happened to look at this post again and saw that you said that Jennifer Rose entered the discussion of the "It's a scorcher" post on countdowntomexico. BUt it was my friend and fellow Maz blogger Jennifer at

I'm not sure Jennifer Rose has ever commented on Countdown!

See ya

Steve Cotton said...

Nancy -- You are correct. I made that mistake the first time I read the comment -- and then I perpetuated it. I will fix it now.

Nancy said...

Steve, now is the not the time to wax poetic about the oppressive heat. You are about to have company that gets testy over 80. I plan to lock myself in the bedroom, comandeer the AC, and leave a fifty on the nightstand!


Steve Cotton said...

Nance -- No need to wax poetic when buffing up the unvarnished truth will do. After today's rains, tonight's 77 seems a bit chilly. Of course, it is still 84 inside.

Anonymous said...

Steve...the picture at the top reminds me very much of Andee's photography. A compliment to you!

Steve Cotton said...

Anonymous -- That is one of the finest compliments I have received. It is strange you made the connection. I thought of her as I was trying to find a good angle for the exposure.