Tuesday, July 3, 2012

temperate

It's a conundrum, really.  Blistering hot outside and in, but thunderstorms promise cool breezes.  Leave the windows open to catch the wind that comes with the storm and everything gets wet.  Shut the windows to keep the rain out and you don't get the benefit of the cooler air.  I hate turning the A/C on, but last night I caved.  It'll be in the 97 degree range until Friday night and the humidity is suffocating.  I'm used to soaking through my clothes while working in the garden, but when mopping the floor makes me coated in sweat, I take issue.

We built our house with a hybrid system--radiant heat on the main floor and basement, an auxiliary (and tiny) furnace to back up the second floor.  We supplemented the upstairs duct work by adding venting to the downstairs bedroom and my library so A/C is an option, although we use it for about a week out of every calendar year.  In the country the wind almost always blows.  Our house is pretty open, we have lots of ceiling fans and the tile floors hold temperature well, so I embrace the cross breezes.    I only turn that dagblasted A/C on when it's HOT for more than 3 days in a row.  It's the Old German in me, I guess.  We're a tightfisted, thrifty and sacrificial lot, so spending extra on cold air seems so unnecessary. Just drink something cold and sit in the shade is how we handle heat.  There's no need to waste money on A/C when a person can just sit in the basement, head to the public library or swim, right?

Last night I tossed and perspired atop the sheets and after an hour I moved to the couch.  I spent about 10 minutes staring at the window screens bidding the cooler night air inside.  It barely moved through and then I started shutting the house down.  Muttering contempt at my weakness, I fired up the system and set it to 78 degrees.  Slept like a baby about an hour later.

It seems like it's always the first week of July that brings the worst heat wave to Wisconsin.  When we moved into this house it was July 1st and 98 degrees.  I was pregnant with Mr. B and Mr. D had to play in a baseball tournament the weekend we moved.  My breaking point came early that year, as you might imagine.

The shades are pulled, the air is on, I started reading The Art of Fielding.  Those promised thunderstorms did soak us a little, but the sun is already burning off the remnant clouds and sending the temperature back to the 90's by noon.   Here's to you, Willis H. Carrier.  Thanks for making this week tolerable.


19 comments:

  1. Before the girls came along, we only used our AC a total of 4 days in 3 years. The last 2 summers weren't too hot, so we still didn't use it much. This summer has been different. I've been keeping the house closed up and the air on a whole lot. This is my first full summer as a stay-at-home mom, so not spending my days in an overly air conditioned office takes its toll a little more than it used to. I look forward to the girls being more reliably potty trained later in the season and next year, so we can spend our days at the neighborhood pool and at the library more easily and air conditioning can go back to our old rule: AC is only for days over 92 degrees.

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  2. I caved too, but my grandmother is as stubborn of a German as they come and only turns the air on if she knows that one of us is coming over to check up on her in this heat! (and half of her windows are painted shut!)

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  3. That's pretty darn hot, 97 degrees. Using the AC is justified.

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  4. I hate air conditioning too. But here in Georgia it is on all summer, and much of spring and fall. Growing up in MInnesota we didn't have air conditioning and it seemed like there was a week or two each year when we longed for it. But that was it.

    Keep cool.

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  5. He HAD to play the weekend you moved? And you're still married?

    Actually, that sounds like something My Guy would do, and I would forgive - eventually.

    As for the AC? You're a better woman than I. My official excuse is allergies, but really? I just hate being hot.

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  6. I'm not sure how long you'd last in Virginia without AC. Ours usually comes on in May and stays on until late September or early October. I grew up in a house without AC and with God as my witness, I'll never live like that again.

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  7. I consider air conditioning a necessary evil. I much prefer having the windows open, but high humidity and high temperatures are so very uncomfortable. And I won't go into how gross damp sheets feel.

    My apartment faces west, there are no trees large enough to shade the building, and my balcony acts like a convector so I am sorry to report that I turned the a/c on in April this year. Only for an hour or two at first, and as soon as the sun goes down, I start checking the outside temps. Well, except lately, when the overnight lows hardly make it out of the 80s. Since my apartment also does not have cross ventilation, overnight lows have to be near 70 or below for me to open the windows.

    This is a great apartment - I call it the palace - but I look forward to moving to a home where I can enjoy the summer sun and the warm summer breezes.

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  8. Oh, I caved much sooner. Our downstairs is not a problem, it's lovely and cool year round. But upstairs is a whole other story.

    I just returned from my job interview, and I am now going to take off my pantyhose and sit in the shade. Enjoying my childless state for just a tiny bit longer.

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  9. its been over 100 degrees here for awhile. we've been running our A/C for a couple of months... I love summer but would love to live somewhere that doesn't require the A/C half the year. I love the windows open and cool breezes...just don't get that often

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  10. Wish you could send some of that hotness my way :(

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  11. When we moved into our house about 14 years ago, we had no A/C. I was okay with that until we had Emma. Suddenly I had a child on me 24/7, plus I couldn't just lie on the couch with a fan when I was hot --I had to take care of the kid. Rob and I noticed that we were getting really cranky with each other. We got a window unit that summer (she was about 7 mos), and what a difference it made in our ability to be civil!!

    When we added on to our house, we got A/C in the new part. We have to keep it set a bit low so that it cools the old part of the house too, but the older I get, the more necessary it seems :-)

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  12. I hate the AC too, but you have to be really tough to live without it in Virginia.

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  13. Same here.... that first week in July is always killer heat and this year is no different, only it's hotter than any other July. 10d degrees is deserving of running the A/C, and to be honest, the older we get the less we are able to take the heat so we don't bother trying.

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  14. we've had our a/c on for all of June and probably a bit of May as well. neither of us can take the heat and it gets wicked here quickly. we've tried opening our windows but not getting a breeze and i'm afraid to sleep with the windows open. not living far enough in the "country" to do so, but i'm not sure that i ever would unless i was on the 2nd floor that no one could climb in through. yeah.... chicken - that's me.

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  15. I know! We really fight to keep our AC off too. It is easier here, right on top of the lake it stays a bit cooler than most areas, but MAN it has been hot. We had to break down and turn on the AC after all. I do love this HOT, HOT weather, but not for sleeping in. Ugh.

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  16. Ah, so I should try THE ART OF FIELDING, eh? Okay.

    Plus, you have A/C? Seems July is exactly when I should announce a surprise visit to your place, then. No one in our neck of Duluth has A/C, so it's suffering time here. I don't think any the less of you for cracking and getting a good night's sleep. Crank that baby up. Enjoy being a citizen of The Modern World!

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  17. I hate AC too. We mostly live without it. In fact, we know a number of folks (who mostly live around us in our neighborhood) that also mostly go without it. Our neighborhood has lots of tall trees, we have ceiling fans and if you keep the sun out, it's really not that bad most days.

    I have also lived in Alabama without AC, so clearly, I'm either insane or I like it hot.

    That said, we caved last week and turned it on.

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  19. I can last without A/C longer than the rest of the family. This year, I'm not lasting at all. I shudder to predict our electric and water bills. It's just not a Wisconsin summer this year.

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Spill it, reader.