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Summer is not my season. I mean it would If I lived in, say, Jennifer Lopez’s newest Miami mansion, tucked between the beach and the pool. I spent mornings on the sand, afternoons in the deep end, and evenings tiptoeing over the water, Ben leaning in a nearby doorway, marveling at my age-defying beauty. Alas, I’m a mere mortal with a modest landlocked home and nothing but a garden hose to provide relief when temperatures soar.
However, there is more to it. Super-hot days eat away at my strength and make me blue. I recently learned that I am not alone. The New York Times reported: that seasonal affective disorder (SAD), which traditionally refers to the “winter blues,” affects some people during a different season: summer. Winter SAD is about lack of sunlight. Summer SAD is about oppressive heat. It manifests itself in mood drops and lethargy.
So when a severe heat wave hit the Northeast, where I live, during a particularly demanding work week, I wasn’t sure what I was going to do. I felt exhausted, depressed and useless. Still, I had to stay super productive at work, while doing all the normal things: cooking, cleaning, shopping.
What ultimately saved me? Walmart+, the delivery service I signed up for months ago. Not known? Walmart+ looks a bit like Amazon Prime. For a small fixed amount – $13 per month or $98 per year – you get free shipping on unlimited orders – including grocery orders. You will receive your items quickly – overnight, or in some cases the same day. There are no additional costs. And signing up is easy; a risk-free trial gives you 15 days, and a quick three-question survey lasts another two weeks.
Sometimes it takes an emergency to motivate me to take the plunge with an essential expense – and 98 degrees, with a heat index of 102 is just that emergency. I check the forecast and it gets worse so I log on to walmart.com and finally (And last but not least!) look for the standing air conditioner my bedroom needs. With weird, small, high windows that no normal unit can fit in, the room in the summer has always been a challenge. We generally use an elaborate – and inefficient – system with an AC in another bedroom and two fans in doorways, meant to transport cool air. As you can imagine, it’s not exactly Einstein-level thinking. Time to take the plunge.
I think this portable AC with great reviews, that can handle up to 500 square feet – and thanks to Walmart+ it can be in my hot little hands the next day (literally). I feel better already.
Shop it: AireMax portable air conditioner, $400, walmart.com
Not to complain any more about my odd-old-charming house, but because it’s low-lying, indoor humidity is a big problem. In summer, after showering, it takes forever to dry towels. I know this is part of why the heat is so bad (“it’s not the heat – it’s the indoor humidity!”) A friend recommended these quick-drying towels, but I hadn’t gotten around to buying them yet. Now I get them, in the most beautiful light blue. The color I will (someday!) paint my bathroom walls. It’s good to have goals!
Shop it: Spring Bloom Wavy Luxury Spa (Six Piece), $33 (was $45), walmart.com
Okay, bedroom and bathroom have been radically improved. Today I still work from home, at the kitchen table – not the coolest location; the room is sunny and air conditioned only by association (as my bedroom used to be). So my own personal comfort is a concern. I think this portable USB charged neck fan at walmart.com. What? Who even knew such a miracle existed?
Shop it: Movsou Portable Neck Fan, $29 (down from $37), walmart.com
I rationalize this somewhat indulgent purchase by saying that I will share it with others in my household, but I know beyond any doubt that this item belongs to me alone. To ease my guilt, I am sending one as a gift to my daughter who is experiencing a heat wave on the other coast. Also? This brilliant device is on sale, from $37 to $29.
You know how hard it is to find something you fancy in extreme heat, so you just wander to the freezer and grab the Super Fudge Chunk ice cream and dig in with a tablespoon until you can’t even feel your feelings anymore? No? Only me? Well, whatever, those are the tendencies I have to deal with when I place a grocery order. Did you even know that with Walmart+ you can have fresh food delivered on the same day? It’s true, and it’s life-changing.
I order, among other things, watermelon, arugula and feta cheese for my favorite sweet-spicy-salty summer salad.
I stock up on healthy snacks like hummus and carrots to break up visits to my ice cream stash. I load up on tuna and sardines and bread for no-cook meals. And I’m replenishing my stock good olive oil.
Shop it: California Olive Ranch Extra Virgin Olive Oil (25.4 grams), $10, walmart.com
Indoor spa day
The weather woman on the local news promises high temperatures all weekend. I have Saturday afternoon off and I’m determined to give myself an official break, even if I can’t get out of the house easily. After the big AC purchase (worth it!) I have to stick to a budget for my micro staycation so I get creative.
First of all, a great novel. I’ve heard great things about The Vanishing Half, by Brit Bennett (HBO bought the rights right away). It’s about twins who go in different directions. I put it in my Walmart cart.
Shop it: The Vanishing Half: A Novel by Briton Bennett, $19 (was $27), walmart.com
Then a treat for sore feet forever. I’ll grab a few these five star arch support flip flops. They will be great in the real world. Meanwhile, they lift my mood from bottom to top, with soft, cooling comfort as I float inside.
Shop it: Dream Pairs soft cushioned flip flops for women, $30, walmart.com
I scroll for another little delight. This coconut hibiscus cooling face mist, plus a few cucumber slices on the eyes, is as much a beauty treatment as I can handle right now. And at $7, the price is right.
Shop it: Cleen beauty Glow Mist with Coconut Water and Hibiscus (4.4 ounces), $7, walmart.com
Four days after the hellfire descends, a huge thunderstorm erupts. Heat wave broken. I’m stuck indoors for another reason (er, biblical lightning bolts). But I don’t mind. Indoors has become a refuge not only from the heat, but also from all kinds of bad weather.
With the help of Walmart+, I have not only overcome this dramatic summer week (brought on by climate change), but I have also propped up my home to guide me through my sad season strong, centered and cheerful. Now, from under a cotton pad in my well-cooled bedroom, I find myself praying for continued rain. I need to see how this book ends. I think the rest of the world is right: Summer is awesome.
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