Ask Amy: A mom worries about sweating it out

Dear Amy: My husband and I have been talking about spending more time outside, whether it be working, camping, or just sitting outside.

I LOVE working outside and I LOVE working with my husband. We work so well together that when we get on the same page, we can get a lot accomplished.

My problem is that I’ve been so busy raising the kids (I’m a SAHM) that my work ethic isn’t there and I can’t work outside for more than five minutes without sweating my head off!

I feel like I’ve been so spoiled by turning the air conditioner on as much as I have been, but when there’s no breeze and it’s 80°F, I have to turn it on, otherwise it gets so hot in our kids’ room that they struggle to sleep.

I do open windows and we leave ceiling fans on all the time (hot or cold).

Is there anything else I can do to keep it comfortable without turning on the air?

I feel so lazy (or too spoiled) because I can’t stand working outside anymore.

My past jobs were housekeeper at a feed mill, welder, general laborer for a feedlot.

I know I used to be able to handle the heat. And I know I miss working outside with my husband.

Do I just need to push through until I get acclimated to the heat again?

Growing up we had a window unit that my dad would only put in in late July/early August – if he’d put it in at all.

We currently have central air, so it’s really easy to just turn it on or off for a couple of days. This is why I think I’m just spoiled.

– Spoiled By AC

Dear Spoiled: You may think you’re spoiled by air conditioning, but I urge you to be checked out by a doctor. “Pushing through” when you feel this way after five minutes of heavy sweating is not wise.

For some people, heat tolerance probably changes as they age, but your example seems extreme.

You are a former welder; you worked at a feedlot. Surely you know what work-related sweat feels like. You know that you must hydrate continuously and give yourself breaks in order to keep going.

If you don’t have an underlying health issue, you should be able to acclimate somewhat to working outdoors if you do so gradually, increasing your exposure over time. And yes, you should be able to acclimate to a warmer temperature inside your house by a couple of degrees if you change the setting on your AC, but you should not make any changes until you receive a clean bill of health.

Being a stay-at-home parent is very hard work, but it isn’t always physically demanding in a sustained way in the way that gardening (or welding) is.

Please don’t denigrate your own work ethic. If you’re keeping hearth and home together, you’re working plenty hard.

Warming temperatures are forcing many people to adjust to a new reality. Take it slow.

Dear Amy: Several years ago, my wife’s sister got a divorce from her longtime husband, “Chas.”

He was my brother-in-law then, but now I’m left wondering what to call him!

After all, my wife and I didn’t divorce him – and he is still the father of our nieces and nephew!

Seriously though, there is still a genetic relationship there that makes me think of him as our brother-in-law.

Obviously, the genetic ties are more for my wife than myself (as it’s her sister’s ex).

One of my friends says nope, it’s over, he’s not related to you anymore.

Is there a proper and or legal answer here, Amy?

– Lost In-Law

Dear Lost: I suppose the divorce does sever legal ties between this man and you – but … who cares?!

Genetics aside, how you refer to him is very much a function of how you feel about him and the relationship you continue to share.

Unless it creates confusion or bad feelings within your family, I’d say that – for you – once an in-law, always an in-law.

Dear Amy: I am very upset at your response to “A Lying Waiter,” who reported that at his restaurant, they served only decaf coffee regardless of what people ordered or what pot it was served from.

You called this a “genius solution.” I call this “a swindle.” And I can’t believe you endorsed it!

– Horrified

Dear Horrified: The caf/decaf debate has really boiled over. Many readers are upset by my reaction to this solution.