Wary of Heat – Partly Melty

 

 

Okay. After very little sleep Monday night, and waking too early yesterday morning, I found myself dragging. Sleeping in a broken a/c, hot box of a house will do that. When I did get up yesterday, I immediately opened doors and windows in an attempt to let some cool morning air in. The inside temperature had gotten down to 84 degrees overnight, and after a few hours of morning air, the house dropped to 82 degrees yesterday.

 

And then I drove myself to an appointment and while everyone around me wrapped themselves in sweaters and light jackets (due to the office’s meat-locker temperatures), I sat there in my tank top and relished every second. It was as if I was trying to store the cold for later. I knew it wouldn’t work, but when you’ve got the vapors, you’re willing to try just about anything.

 

In the afternoon, I went home and found the needed part for the A/C repair waiting for me on the doorstep. I chug-a-lugged some water, put on a big hat, gathered all my tools in a bag and up the ladder I went. It was about 92 degrees outside, but it felt like 112 on the roof. Not wanting to dawdle, I got to work.

 

Did I also mention I was not wanting to electrocute myself? Because I wasn’t. Wanting that, I mean. In fact, I was so careful and taking such good care, that I hardly noticed the pool of sweat that was forming all around me as I worked. And when I hit a roadblock and needed to go to the hardware store, I didn’t think. I just went. Once there, I started to realize that folks were staring at me. And not in a good way. I can guaran-damn-tee I was the sweatiest white girl at the ghetto Home Depot and it wasn’t pretty. But I didn’t care. I was on a mission. And as soon as I’d acquired what I’d come for, I headed home. There, I chug-a-lugged more water then again climbed the ladder to the roof. This time I finished the job. And when I threw the breaker for the conditioned air machine, it didn’t trip. It didn’t sound like it was on, either. So I climbed the ladder a final time, to see if I could hear the running of the unit. I could, but barely. That’s when I realized that as of late, when I overheat, my ears clog. It’s been happening, but I hadn’t put it together. But I digress. Back inside, the a/c was on and the air output was cool. It worked. I had done it.

 

As of this writing, I am back in the land of cool, controlled air. (Dear lord – let’s keep it that way, um-kay?) Because I’m a wuss, it will probably take me a full day to recover from the last 30 hours of heat. Which is fine. My ears haven’t yet popped, but they will. Eventually. And I hope to get some solid sleep over the next couple of days. And to not melt. To paraphrase The Hulk, don’t make me melty. You wouldn’t like me when I’m melty. I know I don’t like me much during those times, even if I make for strange, sweaty entertainment at the Home Depot.

 

Wherever you are, I hope you’re reasonably comfortable and well. And I hope you’re able to maintain that. I super hope that for myself, too.

Wary of Heat

 

 

When I was a kid, living with my great-grandparents, conditioned air was nowhere to be found. There wasn’t so much as a window unit in the bedroom where 6 of us slept (no lie). In the heat of summer, Papa would place a fan in the front window of that room, but that was it. If we went to bed on a hot summer night, where the temperature was 98 degrees in the shade, you better believe it was 98 or more in that room.

 

And yet we survived. Never once did I like those particular nights, but they didn’t kill me. And before anyone in the peanut gallery pipes up, let me tell you – they did not make me stronger. Those nights served only to make me more wary of heat. And wary I am. Living where I live now, in Los Angeles, I roll with it. Because honestly – what else is a gal gonna do?

 

I like L.A. I like California. But it’s no secret that I’d prefer to live some place cooler. I’ve just never been a fan of heat. The desert is beautiful, but I don’t want to live there. And forget hot, humid places. I can hardly breathe in those climates. No – if it were up to me, we’d live above the 40th parallel north. Maybe way above it. But I digress…

 

Usually, my well-known frugality is ignored when it comes to paying the DWP for conditioned air. If I need to cut back on other things just to pay that A/C bill, I will. And I don’t even blink when writing that check. But sometimes, like now, I don’t get to write that check. For this is one of those times when the conditioned air machine is on the fritz, friends. Hopefully it will be repaired later tonight. But that’s tonight. Today we’re forecast to hit 95 degrees, which we also hit yesterday. Got sweat?

 

It isn’t the worst thing, the heat. But it sure ain’t good. Factor in the suck-the-life-out-of-me effect it has and, well…

 

I do have the pool. And I can always leave and go some place where the conditioned air is working. So there are options. Keeping those thoughts in my back pocket may very well serve to save my sanity.

 

In the meantime, I plan to shift my intentions around and tackle some very sedentary tasks. Things I can do while sitting on the cool, tile floor. Things like art projects or filing papers. I also plan to work on my attitude about the whole danged scene. It’s far too tempting to melt into depression over stuff like this. And I don’t want my mental state to be determined by the temperature of the air around me. I want to face the situation like a danged grown-up and get on with it.

 

All that being said, there is a very real chance I’ll curl up on the cool, tile floor and feel sorry for myself. I’m just being honest here. Fingers crossed, I’ll do better.

Lulled

 

 

Yesterday I was home, tackling some tasks when my head suddenly drooped and I nearly fell asleep. I did not need a nap, and I wasn’t ill. The homestead had simply gotten a little warm.

 

I’m a big fan of conditioned air and greatly appreciate it. But I’m not the biggest fan of paying for it, so I leave the A/C set pretty high. It takes a heat to kick it on and a heat was what I had yesterday.

 

When I was a wee lass, living with my great-grandparents in Zebulon, GA, there was no such thing as conditioned air in their old house. If it hit 109 degrees outside, it was surely 111 inside. I seem to remember an old movable fan, and there was one in a window of the bedroom where all us kids slept with Granny, but it was next to Big Papa’s bed and he was the only beneficiary of its swirling, hot air. You’d think sleeping in such heat would lead one to toss and turn, but you’d be wrong. Even a 6-year-old knows to lie as still as possible during the wrath of summer. And when you’re sharing an old-school, full-sized bed with your two little sisters and your great-grandmother, well, you lie still as stone and try to avoid contact. Another person’s body heat is the last thing you want when you’re about to drown in a genuine southern glisten. On those nights, the vapors weren’t a threat. Actual dying was.

 

I am incredibly spoiled now, I admit. And yesterday, just when I thought I might topple over, lulled into sleep by tricky heat, the old A/C turned on and I was saved. I would prefer to live with modern conveniences than to go without, but sometimes, when my mind strolls back to that rickety house in Zebulon, I can see Granny – clear as day. She’s sitting on the front porch, cooling herself with a cardboard fan on a wooden stick, printed with the details of some long-dead person’s funeral. Her slight hand movement is the only stirring on the porch. The heat is so thick you can see it, radiating up from the parched, brown grass. Papa is there, too. It’s so hot he’s resisting the urge to fill his pipe with Prince Albert. No one says much. And time, like the heat, slows down and wraps itself around us all. It is in the moment of that memory that I would gladly leave my comfortable, temperate home – just to see Granny and Papa one more time. And, like them, I would simply sit in the silence and be still. Waiting for the sun to set and for the first lightning bugs of the evening to sashay around the yard.

Autumn

 

 

Today is the first day of Autumn. Before I look forward, I want to look back.

 

I think Mister and I really took advantage of Summer this year. We were in that pool every chance we got, and that’s saying something as we don’t have a pool heater and the water can be a wee bit chilly, y’all. We grew tomatoes and basil to the best of our abilities and ate them beyond our abilities. (The tomatoes are long-gone but the basil lives on in a ton of pesto.) We hit a couple of open-air venues for shows, and in L.A. those are some of the loveliest outings available. We spent exactly one whole day at the beach, and though that may induce eye-rolling since we live on the Pacific edge of land, it’s one day more than we spent by the sea last year. So there. We walked through our neighborhood on July 4th – along with a few hundred other neighbors – and enjoyed fireworks as part of the community. There was also plenty of drinking, eating and socializing this Summer. Of course, those things seem to happen every Summer.

 

We also had a serious A/C outing this past Summer, and I did not appreciate that one bit. But during that heat wave, I got up each morning and opened the front door wide in hopes of getting some cool morning air into the house (and hot, stagnant air out). With the front door open, I sat with my coffee and witnessed the world in its waking. Each morning was quiet and, though I was watching the whole world (or as much of it as my aging eyes could see), personal. Those mornings were still and calm. And they helped.

 

It will be hot in L.A. for a while, if only intermittently. And I may find myself taking a few more dips in that pool. But make no mistake – Autumn is here. Her light is different. Her food is different. Her social patterns – different. And I welcome her with open arms. If I’m caught looking back over my shoulder on all that was Summer, it won’t mean I don’t appreciate what lies before me.

 

Autumn. I’m ready.

Thank You For Your Support

 

 

To all of you who’ve checked in on me and sent your most excellent vibes, thank you for your support.

 

The A/C guy showed up 2 days ago and so far – touch wood – the unit is keeping us cool. As I said a couple of days back, we can’t hang meat in here or anything. But it is cool enough to not flip our freakin’ lids.

 

Honestly, I don’t know how folks without conditioned air do it. When it hit near 90 degrees inside, I actually started to cry.

 

And when that A/C dude got the cold air flowing the other day, I actually cried a bit then, too. He just smiled. Probably not the first time he’s seen that. I certainly hope it’s the last time he sees it from me.

Manufactured Cool

 

 

I think I’ve mentioned our recent A/C problems in passing. Here’s the back story… On July 4th our air conditioner decided to quit. And so it did. I immediately got on the horn to the home warranty folks and the ball of repair started rolling. Sort of. The mess of melting wax that was our repair process took a week and a half to reach its destination. Its destination was conditioned air, y’all.

 

So that was a bit of an ugly spell. Mister and I were dealing with going to sleep in 87-degree heat each night, and we are simply not accustomed to that. We had a fan blowing on us, and we slept with wet washcloths on our heads. Don’t knock it! It helped. A lot. We made do.

 

When the A/C was finally repaired, I was incredibly grateful. I don’t need the house to feel like a meat locker or anything, I just need it to be comfortable. For me, that means setting my thermostat at 80 degrees. That’s high for a lot of folks. But it works for me, so there. And it worked great. Right up until it didn’t.

 

Exactly one week after being repaired, the A/C started blowing hot air. Apparently, something was amiss.

 

So as of this writing, I am once again dealing with the bureaucracy of scheduling a repair of the repair. So far, I’m not too keen on the situation. No, I don’t like overwhelming heat. I also don’t care for a business that doesn’t back up its smack. And right now that is exactly how I see the repair guys.

 

It’s supposed to be over 100 degrees today. Pray for me. Actually, pray for the jokers at the repair joint. I may have to have a conniption fit.