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Princess: Time to get out of the kitchen

I am totally freaking out because it’s so damn hot outside.

I know, I know. “It’s a lot hotter in other parts of the country,” and “It’s only for two months, and then it’s over.” Or, as my brother who just came home from Costa Rica said, “It’s freezing! I’m wearing a sweater.”

But I am so not a hot-weather person.

I know this sounds strange coming from someone who spends half her life sweating in a room heated to more than 100 degrees for 90 minutes at a time. But that’s different. That’s voluntary.

It’s so not my choice when, at 3 in the afternoon, a laser beam shoots out of the sun directly at the metal roof of our little A-frame and intensifies over the next four hours until the thermostat inside says it’s 85 degrees and Ryan is sleeping sitting up because that’s what he does when he doesn’t like something — he just ignores it until it goes away.

When I was in a super-crabby mood last weekend because I hadn’t exercised on account of the heat, Ryan helped me get my new Garmin bike computer my dad bought for me mounted on my bike and suggested I take a ride to test it out — by myself.

This was a brilliant idea, really. I haven’t been getting out and exercising as much as I’d like to between my highly controversial puppy, who was waking up a lot in the middle of the night, and the hot weather I was faced with when I’d sleep past the cool hours of the morning. So I went for a ride, and I felt better, and Ryan got to enjoy a few hours without Mrs. Crabapple Tree wrecking his chill weekend vibe.

It felt so good, in fact, that we decided to head out for another ride Sunday, this time up to Redstone, which is one of our favorite rides. The Crystal River Valley is one of those places you forget about if you don’t visit often. It’s sort of tucked away like that one awesome pair of undies that somehow always gets lost in the back of the sock drawer. I love the way the ranchland of outer Carbondale spills across the lower valley, a carpet of green swallowed with Mount Sopris standing watch, looking over its kingdom with a protective, omnipotent eye. I love how on a bike, you approach Sopris slowly and have time to become more intimate with it as you skirt its lower flanks, like a mosquito swarming the robes of a great king. And as you climb higher, the valley tightens and the river grows louder and sort of sucks you through like a vein into its heart, where Redstone lies.

Redstone is one of those places that make you go, “We will move here,” even though you never will. Ryan and I do it every time, and we have three houses picked out: one log cabin, one Victorian and as of this last visit, a hotel.

“We can build a yoga platform right on the river and host retreats there,” I say.

“I can become a metal sculptor and make art of metal,” Ryan says.

But on this particular day, I wasn’t enjoying the ride so much. It sort of felt like a slow death, my lungs pinched and legs more tired than usual, and I was just so thirsty.

When we finally passed the high school on the way down, I saw that the temperature that was displayed on the sign said it was 103 degrees.

Well, that explained it.

Look, I’m just not built for hot weather. I’m like a penguin, all short arms and short legs and little hands and feet and a wide, round body. I’m like a baby bear because I rarely get cold. When Ryan and I hiked Highland Bowl on New Year’s Eve, when it was 15 below zero and when we got inside and our faces were swollen and the skin on our right cheekbones was already turning black and falling off, we were totally confused.

Ryan is from Minnesota, and his mother is hot when it’s 40 degrees out. Last Christmas, when it was 20 below and they wanted to go tubing on Christmas at night, she said, “You will bundle up,” when I suggested that maybe it wasn’t such a great idea. This is a woman who gets excited when she can wear a jacket because it’s rare that she’s cold enough to.

She’ll call us and go, “I can’t wait to come out and visit so I can wear a fleece!”

I’m still going to yoga because it gives me some kind of resolve just to be able to choose to be really hot. And then after, we all jump in the river. You can’t tell me there is anything better than a hot-yoga studio with a river next to it. Swimming in the river is something I’ve really grown to love living in Basalt. So there is that.

And every year I’m sure we’ll talk about getting air conditioning, and every year we won’t do it, thinking we can survive those two short months that we’re cooked inside our own house like something plastic that was left on the dashboard of the car. And every year I’ll dream of going on a beach vacation that will never happen because between the Baby Making Factory in Denver and the sale rack at Free People, I’ve maxed out all my credit cards.

When I did Bikram yoga teacher training back in 2007, our class slogan was, “It’s not hot — you’re hot.” But when my thighs seem to swell and rub together and my skin breaks out on account of wearing so much sunscreen and sweating underneath the plastic of my sunglasses, I’m not so sure this is true.

I guess there’s only one thing left to do: go jump in the river.

The Princess needs a bigger bikini. Email your love to alisonmargo@gmail.com.


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