Growing up in Alberta, the winters were arctic and the summers were . . . pleasant. Sunny, dry, mainly in the low 20s C - that’s low 70s F, for my American readers - gorgeous. Obviously, Mother Nature has a tantrum there from time to time, but overall, it was a good place for a creampuff to spend the summer.
I’ve always really hated the heat. I mean, really hated it. And when it’s hot, I hate the heat AND other people with me while I’m in the heat. I consider myself lucky that I didn’t grow up somewhere like Dallas, where it’s hot AND you can get ammo at the 7-11, ‘cause I’d probably be in the poky with a girlfriend who calls herself Jack and seems tough on the outside, but only because she never learned to love.
Toronto summers - I find them nasty. Sunny, sure, but also humid, smoggy . . . not creampuff friendly. So I think (and many of you will agree) that I must have been on crack two years ago when I moved from an air-conditioned, laundry included, 1 roommate situation to a non-air-conditioned, no laundry, 4 roommate 1 bathroom situation in the middle of a Toronto summer. I believe that the living conditions at the “hippie flophouse", as I referred to it, were instrumental in cementing my “U-Haul lesbian” status, when, 6 weeks after meeting my lady love, a mere 8 weeks after I moved INTO the flophouse, she and I bought property together. Where there was air conditioning.
Before I met Katr, though - before she whisked me off to a life of air conditioned splendour and bookshelves that weren’t made of milk crates - I had developed another intimate relationship with a special lady. This romance had been on again off again for several years, pretty much since my first Toronto summer in 1998. She shared my bed in the summer months and made sleeping almost bearable. She was sleek, heavy and, above all else, cold. I am referring, of course, to Bertha - my big bottle of ice.
You take a big bottle, like a 1.5 or 2 litre and you fill it 3/4 full of water. The 3/4 part is important, because, as my brother used to say “Water freezes big.” Then, you stick this bottle in your freezer all day until it’s solid ice. Then, right before you go to bed, you get Bertha (or Justine - whatever you wanted to call her), wrap her in a t-shirt and pull her to your chest like a long-lost lover. She may make a loud cracking sound as the heat from your body starts to melt her icy heart, but her resistance soon subsides and she snuggles into you, working her magic on your core body temperature. The ice melts over night - the t-shirt stops the bottle from sweating all over your bed - and in the morning, you just put the bottle back into the freezer again and she’s ready for you at bedtime.
You probably met Bertha if you came to visit me any time between 1998 and 2003. I had a little 1 litre travel version named Barbara that I would bring with me when I visited my dear friend Padu in Stratford, where I would displace the club packs of meat in his freezer ("You’ll eat these 12 pork chops in the next couple of days, right?") so that I could have a good night’s sleep. I would also keep a back-up bottle in my own freezer, in case the night was SO hot that Bertha melted in the wee hours and I had to two-time her with her sister, Petunia. Those girls saw me through alot of rough nights and probably count among the best 5 ideas I’ve ever had in my entire life.
I briefly thought about patenting this idea and making a bundle off of hot, cranky creampuffs everywhere but karmically, that seemed wrong. Creampuffs should help each other in these hot, muggy, gritty times. And so, free of charge, I pass Bertha’s cooling, soothing secrets on to you. Use her wisely, friends. And try not to catch pneumonia.