Farmer Tan



The last few days brought a heat-wave to Los Angeles. Not only have we been dealing with high temperatures, we’re also seeing fires here and there. I’ve mostly avoided it all by staying inside with the conditioned air – thank the gods. I was out and about a few times, though, and have I mentioned there’s no conditioned air in my old car? Well there isn’t.


So here I am, in October, and my farmer tan is on full display. It’s only from this week, y’all! Dag!


We’re supposed to get back to pseudo-normal temperatures in a few days or so and I for one can hardly wait. I want my left arm tan to fade, for cry-eye. I appreciate the “D” and all, but come on, weather! Don’t be a fool – be cool!


That’s about all I have to say about that.

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.

Be Still, My Bleating Heart



So. By the time the temperature had risen to 107 degrees yesterday (and still hadn’t topped out for the day), I had entered a sort of lull. It happened without fanfare and I didn’t know I was in it until I was – that’s right – in it.


Somehow, by the grace of every known god, the conditioned air kept pumping. Neighborhoods near and far were experiencing outages, and for the life of me, I don’t know what those folks did to keep it together. I had all sorts of plans, just in case we lost power, but I didn’t have to turn to any of them. Instead, I told myself to be still. To work in as sedentary a mode as possible. And so I did.


And then the lull happened. I was drinking water like a fish and doing my very best to stay mindful of any and all exertion. But that’s the power of heat. You can be as still as all get-out and heat can still lull you. By the time it hit me, mid-afternoon, I pretty much just tuckered out and fell asleep. Like I said, the air kept flowing, so I stayed alive, no matter what occurred. I imagine folks without options just fall asleep and that’s it. As in the Big It. Sounds ghastly and it breaks my heart to read about folks who die from excessive heat. On my end, I checked in on a few folks and made sure we were being smart about everything. As far as I know, all of us rode out the day.


Today’s supposed to bring a bit of relief. High in the 90s. That may sound bad to some, but it won’t be Satan’s-Butthole-hot, so I’ll take it. Lordy, lordy.




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.

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.