th3 Vortex, shmortex: Just stay cool.The other day I wished I could send some of our weather (52 degrees and raining) to the parched areas of the country, especially to farming regions. Turns out that the Gulf of Alaska was thinking along the same lines.

The Midwest and, eventually, the East Coast will be feeling the effects of “a poor man’s polar vortex” in the week to come. That’s what Washington Post weather editor Jason Samenow calls the “deep pool of cool air” that will dip down into the Great Lakes region in a day or so.

You’re welcome.

Before and after, though, U.S. residents worry about the cost of keeping cool. Nearly two-thirds of the 2,035 people surveyed by HomeServe USA are concerned about the hit that air conditioning will have on their budgets. Yet 55 percent will suck it up and pay whatever it takes to chill out.

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th3 Blog roundup: Sick as a dog edition.Two weekends ago I came down with what seemed like an upper-respiratory virus: congestion, low-grade fever, and general aches and pains. In addition I felt sharp pain in my face whenever I coughed (which was often).

The fever disappeared within two days but everything else hung on, and dug in. After nine days of feeling that I’d been beaten with several efficient hammers, I reluctantly made an appointment at the Anchorage Neighborhood Health Center.

“Reluctantly” because I figured there wasn’t much to be done about a virus and that I didn’t have a full-blown sinus infection that could be treated. But I was so tired of hearing my own breath wheezing and clotting that I figured it was time.

Besides, my Aunt Elna was known to have broken ribs while coughing, and eeeewwww.

Professional demeanor prevented the doc from saying “You sound like crap” but I think that’s what she meant. No pneumonia (“although it could turn into that”) so just as I thought: no antibiotics.

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The shoulder season.

th3 150x150 The shoulder season.We were hanging out in our library earlier today, me at the desk and DF sorting paperwork nearby. When he asked if I could hand him a pen, I did so without thinking.

Then: “Oh my gosh – look! It’s working!”

I was referring to my right shoulder and arm, which had been more or less immobilized and causing me a fair amount of pain (especially at night) for a while now. Some range-of-motion exercises were helping. But last week I couldn’t reach to the right to pick up a glass of iced tea sitting on the table by my chair. I had to turn my body and reach for it with my left hand.

So this is huge

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th7 150x150 Some like it hot. Really hot.We get it: The weather has been very cold lately in the Lower 48, including places that normally don’t see single-digit temps. But is setting your thermostat to 70 degrees or higher the right way to go?

Some 28 percent of the 2,035 people interviewed by HomeServe aim for more than 70 degrees. Of those warm-blooded creatures, 34 percent are elderly and 32 percent are millennials (18 to 34).


I can understand the elderly having trouble regulating their body temperatures. But what’s with all these young pups who just can’t stay warm? Do they own no sweaters?

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th2 150x150 Will I go round in circles?Recent sustained pain in my right shoulder has made it hard to work, and also to do some of my exercises. Walking’s been tough, too: The freeze-thaw cycle glaciated our side street, and the footpath is as polished as a politician’s promise. Even with ice-grippers on my feet I’m unsteady and fearful of falling.

Between my frozen shoulder and the frozen ground I’ve been frustrated and sluggish. Last week I decided that if I couldn’t walk outdoors, I’d walk inside.

That’s when I started doing laps around the living area.

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