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Wednesday, August 12, 2009

I May Have to Turn the Air On

You may not know this – despite the e-mail blasts and the billboards – but not only am I the type to cling to the Old Ways (ie soups from scratch and milling my own soap) but I can also be kinda cheap.

OK. I don’t mill my own soap.

What do you mean, how cheap are you?

Well, it's August, and I’m thinking of turning the air conditioning on.

I mentioned that to some friends today, that I was thinking of turning the air on. They laughed, because, ha ha, what kind of nut hasn't turned on their air conditioning yet?

One look at my sincere and sweat-beaded face and they knew I was telling the truth.

There were limited options, when I was growing up, if you were hot. You could do as my mother advised, which was to take a cool shower, roll yourself in talcum powder and then lay on your crisp, line-dried sheets with a fan on, thus creating a cool and dry environment for yourself. Or, you could do as my father did, which would be to take as hot a shower as you could stand, thus making whatever temperature it was outside cool by comparison.

Air conditioning was like a dream to us, part of the exciting “Let’s go to the movies!” package on those really hot days. One of my aunts – the same woman who taught me that if you whistled in the dark the ghosts couldn’t get you – used to drive us around town with the windows up so that “the rich folks” would think we had air conditioning in our car, something that was, in our eyes, the epitome of wealth.

But that’s what happens when you come from no-air-conditioning people – first you glamorize those who do; and then you find ways around it. And honestly, whether your way of dealing with it is running through the sprinkler, sitting in front of a fan with your swimsuit on, or running naked down the alley from Brent's house to Sybil's, you won’t remember being this hot when winter rolls around (or until the photos start showing up on Facebook).

It’s 92F out there right now. That’s 33.3C. It’s to hit 97/36 by Friday, which is much easier to take when described, at least for this gal, in Celsius. Ninety-seven degrees Fahrenheit sounds like the temperature you pre-set the oven to. Thirty-six degrees Celsius sounds friendly, like there might be a decorative scarf or some brand-new socks involved.

Hmmm. Somebody remind me of how nice I think “36 degrees” sounds, come November or so.


ellen abbott said...

I didn't think people had air conditioning up your way. Minnesota. Pffft. We've been suffering triple digits for three months and we still don't turn the AC on til noonish.

darsden said...

Oh you are suppose to turn it off.. NEVER I tell you NEVER ... I never turn mine off and I NEVER turn the heater on...NEVER I tell you.. I come with my own insulation ;-)

De Campo said...

You’re not the only one who hasn’t turned on their AC!

I play things like your father. I think back to my time in the desert, crank up the “call to prayer” tunes, aim a hair dryer set to incinerate point blank towards my face, and then have a buddy simultaneously kick me in the groin while throwing a handful of sand into my mouth.

After that, the US heat seems quite brisk in comparison.

CatLadyLarew said...

I remember those days... and believe me, they were right when they said "It's not the heat, it's the humidity". I remember when it didn't get below 100 degrees for a week straight!
I am not a hot-weather person, so I finally broke down and installed central air conditioning a few years ago. Now I'm the only one I know with central air. The beauty of that is that I can now charge all my friends huge sums of money to come hang out at my house. Of course, they make me pay to come over and float in their wading pool, so it all evens out.

Charlotte Ann said...

I had to tell the kids "no kool aid, drink water; two meals a day instead of three and no snacks. No candy, no trips anywhere. We turned on the a/c months ago and if the little buggers have to do without a few things so we can have a/c then think of the character building we are instilling here for them.

the iNDefatigable mjenks said...

I don't turn my air conditioner on until the first of June...which some years is kind of a stretch, but we manage.

Travis Erwin said...

I am more than ready for fall and all the changes that come with it.

mapstew said...

We were just discussing (Meself & Herself) if it were about time to start putting the central heating back on!

36 degrees eh?



Mandy's Kidding said...

I have turned the air on very few times this summer. Like you, growing up we didn't have air conditioning but we did have large shade trees. If you were hot, you were hot.

I'm amazed by all my neighbors running their air on perfectly beautiful days.

powdergirl said...

I love that you cooled down with a cold shower and crisp, line-dried sheets.

I still do that, I don't like air-conditioning, don't even have it. I also refuse to install a dishwasher. Don't like the feel of the dishes when they come out, don't like the smell of the steam either and I like to sink my hands into hot soapy water in the winter.

Yeah, I'm a bit of a throw-back : )

Not The Rockefellers said...

I don't have air conditioning in my home...but I appreciate those who do and I will share in their joy whenever invited.

But sometimes I find it painfully cold, especially in restaurants.

Peace - Rene

f8hasit said...

I've not used our air either this year...although I have been tempted. Many times to do so.

I've told my daughter that we are being 'green' and environmentally friendly in not using so much energy.

In truth, it's because I like my electric bill to hover around $60, and if I use the air it'll be more than double that...
...you see, I saw these fabulous black boots that I have my eye on an the extra I save on electric will more than pay for them.

So bad.

36 degrees sounds fab. I love turtlenecks.

Douglas said...

I grew up in Dade County (that's in Florida... south Florida) without AC. I learned to sleep in sweat, I thought it was normal. My sister slept under a blanket. I have AC now and have had it for a number of years. I set the thermostat at 79F. I'm comfortable. As long as I don't move around much. Which I don't.

Tamsin said...

it is currently 84 degrees in my house, as the AC guys are outside replacing our unit. The painful thought of all the money spent is only outweighed by the idea of my pregnant self spending another day without AC in the deserts of Utah. Mention pioneer women, and I will punch you.

Joanna Jenkins said...

I begged my folk's to turn the A/C on last week in Ohio! It was 95 degrees with 1000% humidity. After 3 days they turned it on for one blissful night :-)


Scrappy Doo said...

This is insanity.
If a neighbor's air isn't working we here call the paramedics cuz the person is probaly near death
We have two ac units at our house and the electic bill this month was 278.00 and thats cheap!
We had a cool front yesterday it was only 99 degress F
Hello from Italy, Texas (45 miles south of Dallas)

The Retired One said...

When we built our house on the lake in the U.P. we didn't even think to put in AC. People not from these parts were astounded that we didn't put in AC. I told them we are lucky if we hit more than 3 days in a row over 90 and probably only 5 or 6 days in the 80's and most of the time these are days with low humidity and a breeze.....
We sometimes use a fan if it does decide to get humid.
In the U.P. if it gets above 78, people start saying: "This weather is so HOT, I can't stand it!" To most Yoopers, 72 degrees is the perfect day.

darsden said...

me again, I am doing doubles today :-) I like my house between 63 and 68 degrees at all times..now mind you I live in the deeeeeep South so it is never that cool in the summer except after a storm in the early mornings it will be 67/68 but oooh the winters...it gets to be 43/45 in here at night it is just marvelous!

Gadjo Dilo said...

I confess that I'm rarely troubled by weather and so have always viewed air-conditioning with the same distain with which naturally slim people view diets. I'm simply a bad person. Sorry. According to we Britishers, cups of tea are the solution to hot weather!

'cuz I'm the mommy, that's why! said...

Pfft! I think we turned ours on in April this year. (Last year it ran for a week or so in January too). Love Alabama. I sleep during the day, and if it's over 73 in the house I don't rest well. Too stuffy and hor. If I want hot I'll get in the Buick with the leather seats and all the window up all day: presto, 213 degrees (at 5 pm)!

Sue said...

I've never had air conditioning. Don't want it either. I'm amazed at all the people that think you can't live without. What did people USED to do, for goodness sake..........
We rarely get above 85 here, but when I lived in Hellinois, it regularly was in the 90's with high humidity. You get used to it. Really.