Sweatin’ To the . . . Everything!

imagesIf I had to pick the one thing about living in Hawai’i that I can’t handle it would be the humidity. I don’t mind the insects, frogs, chickens, geckos, heat, storms, tourists and high prices, but I have still been unable to make peace with the moist tropical air here. During the winter it’s not too bad, but during the summer and into early fall the humidity levels have just three settings: bad, even worse, and downright awful, and there is no off position. There are days where it feels like you’re living in a ball of hot, wet cotton.

Why is it so bad?

  1. We don’t have air conditioning (nor do most houses in Hawai’i, actually). The humidity is bearable if the tradewinds are blowing or it’s actually raining, but if not it gets miserable fast in the summer, and fans, ceiling and otherwise, can only do so much.
  2. One humid days I sweat. Not perspire – sweat. And, once I start sweating it’s like a switch has been flipped and I can’t stop. It takes hours for my body to reset its thermostat. I stay hydrated, minimize my activity and do my best to stay cool, but once it gets humid enough the sweating starts, even if I’m doing nothing more vigorous than reading a book, and just doesn’t stop.

I don’t know if all this sweating is just because I’m older or if it’s purely a Hawai’i issue. I’ve lived in humid areas before and don’t remember being this bothered by it. Other older women here have commiserated with me and seem to suffer more here as well, but others seem to deal with the humidity without problem. Maybe it’s just taking me longer to acclimatize then it did in the past. Brett and the girls are very physically active and sweat heavily when they exercise, but they take a shower, change their clothes and are good to go. I take a shower and I’m still wet and hot and miserable. And, if I do something too active when the humidity is bad, it literally zaps the energy right out of me, and takes me ages to get any of it back. I’m not doing much these days in the way of exercise, but thankfully haven’t gained any weight (so far) because I have been extremely diligent about limiting the amount I eat.

It doesn’t help matters either that our kitchen sits on the west side of the house, which is unprotected from the fierce late-afternoon sun. It’s bad enough cooking in there when it’s merely hot, but add in some humidity and it can be pure hell. I’ve gotten good about making sure the fan is pointing at me while I work in there, but even then I still usually come to the dinner table a hot mess and not in the best of moods, even if all I’ve done is cut up some cucumbers for a salad.

I know, I know – I am living in Hawai’i. It’s beautiful here, it’s paradise (really), and I feel blessed to be here. The humidity isn’t actually bad all the time either; the winter months are wonderful. I also love the way my skin stays soft here. I rarely need to use lotion these days unlike the buckets I went through back on the mainland. Here it would just be overkill (although I still wear sunscreen).

But when the humidity is bad, it’s very bad. I am so tired of sweating so much, but we still have a couple more months of “summer weather” to go. And when I’m miserable, well . . . lets just say I do my best not to make everyone else miserable. Word is that the humidity here this summer is the worst it’s ever been, and I can believe it. We’re all crossing our fingers that it doesn’t last as long as it did last year, and I’m already dreaming of November’s arrival.

8 thoughts on “Sweatin’ To the . . . Everything!

  1. Ellie says:

    Maybe a window air conditioner in your bedroom to use when it gets really bad and you can lie down read and regain your strength. I know what you mean tho, I live on the Texas gulf coast and a cold shower helps temporary but who enjoys a cold shower?

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    • Laura says:

      LOL – I don’t think I’ve taken a hot shower since we’ve been on the island! It’s just too hot – I usually only take lukewarm or cool showers these days, but sometimes even those don’t help. We did install a small ceiling fan in the bathroom and that has helped a little. We also put in a ceiling fan in our bedroom which keeps it nice so I do sleep well.

      But during the day, out in the rest of the house? Ugh.

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    • Laura says:

      It is really miserable (and gross) here this year, and that’s coming from people who have lived here their whole lives, or for at least 20 years. The ocean is already warm from El Nino, and the storms keeps pushing all the warm, moist air here.

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  2. Vivian says:

    My mother’s old sewing teacher used to say, ” horses sweat, men perspire and women dew.”
    So not true.

    Miserable here too. 80 to 100% humidity and temperatures of 97 most days. You walk outside into a sauna and you are immediately drenched. I think it must be age because I wasn’t so intolerant of the hot weather when I was younger. The saving grace is I do have air conditioning in both house and car. To heck with high electric bills, I just need to be comfortable.

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    • Laura says:

      My grandmother used to say the same thing, except that women “glowed.” Hah! I SWEAT.

      It was so bad last week that one day I was doing nothing in the kitchen except standing there and forming rolls (from dough I had made in the machine) and the sweat was just pouring off of me. I could see it if I had been active, but I was barely moving. To see me you would have thought I’d just run a marathon. The only thing that keeps me sane sometimes is that I know it will eventually go away.

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  3. Jen says:

    I can imagine how uncomfortable that is. Reading your post reminded me of when I was first married and my husband and we lived in Saipan for 2 years (an island in the Marianas Islands/South Pacific/near Guam, similar climate to Hawaii) and it was so hot and humid. Island life was lovely but the heat and humidity were tough. I remember sweating from the time I got out of the shower…I remember how my sunglasses would fog up when I stepped out of an air conditioned car…it really does zap your energy. We had an air conditioner in our bedroom so at least we could cool down at night. But the moist air was so nice for my skin and I didn’t suffer any hay fever like I do in California. Hope you get some breezy days soon (but not that big storm!).

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    • Laura says:

      I used to get teaching offers for Vietnam, or summers in China. NO WAY! China’s heat and humidity is so bad that a handful of locations are called “the 5 hells.” Japan’s summers are pretty awful humidity-wise as well, but A/C is abundant there.

      My glasses fogged up yesterday when I got out of the car after our trip to Costco. I couldn’t see anything to bring it into the house. I unpacked the frozen/refrigerated items, and then collapsed on the sofa with the fan pointed directly at me, and let poor Brett carry the rest of the stuff up to the house. Sometimes though I want to get in the car and go for a drive around the island for a few hours just to stay cool!

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