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another hot time in the old town | Letters From Home another hot time in the old town | Letters From Home

Letters From Home

Life looks at infmom / infmom looks at life

another hot time in the old town


The problem with really hot days is that it’s hard to get much done.   I don’t know how our ancestors managed.   Well, actually, yes I do.   They didn’t expect it to be cool, and they had no way of getting cool, so they just had to keep going.   Heck, I’m only Grandma years old, and I never went to an air-conditioned school in my life (including all those years in the armpit of central Virginia).   We didn’t expect it to be cool, so we managed.   This is not to say that we worked at anywhere near peak efficiency, but life did not deal us air conditioning, so we did the best we could.

A couple of the houses I lived in while I was growing up had window air conditioners.   My parents had a big brown Bakelite-fronted model in one of their bedroom windows in one house, and my brothers and I would go sit in their room as much as we were allowed to (those being the “For pity’s sake go outside and play!” years, even in the soggy center of the sticky hot Virginia summer).   One of the last years we lived in that house, my dad went out and bought a window unit to put in one of the living room windows.   My dad, however, knowing absolutely zip about such things, bought one that was simultaneously too small for the area he expected it to cool (the living room had two doorways but only one door) and too big for the circuit he plugged it into.   Thus, we were all introduced to the concept of the circuit breaker.   Which was a round thingie that was a bit larger than the fuse it replaced in the fuse box–but it had a button on the front that one pushed to reset it, rather than the time-tested method of removing the blown fuse, replacing it with another fuse, and waiting for the new one to blow.   I don’t know who sold my dad on that idea (probably some hardware store clerk who noticed my dad coming in two or three times a week to buy another box of fuses) but it did work.   In retrospect I’m amazed we didn’t burn the house down.

In the next house we lived in (in not-any-less-sticky southeastern Iowa) my parents had a tiny window unit in their room and my dad had a slightly bigger unit built into the wall in his study.   The back of it stuck out into the back porch, and my brother Sam the Eagle was fascinated by the fins on it.   Many of which he experimentally pounded flat with a baseball bat, until my dad caught him doing it and threatened to pound Sam the Eagle likewise.   My dad didn’t know that one could go to the hardware store and buy a little comb gizmo designed to straighten out air conditioner fins.   Not till the a/c repairman came out, used his comb, charged my dad an arm and a leg for labor and pointed him in the direction of the hardware store.

My dad was an award-winning teacher and a highly respected scholar, but a handyman he most emphatically was not.

The next house we moved to, in slightly-dryer-but-just-as-hot southeastern Nebraska, had central air conditioning.   Which we gleefully ran to our hearts’ content for just about as long as it took for the electric bill to arrive.   After that, it was a matter of a lot of open windows and waiting till the parents agreed that it was hot enough that the breeze wouldn’t cut it.   Lucky for us, the air circulation in the living room and my parents’ bedroom wasn’t the whippiest.

F’zer and I have lived in non-air-conditioned places for all but eight years of our nearly-34-year marriage.   One year in a shoebox apartment in Wichita, and seven years in an even smaller shoebox townhouse before we moved into this place.

One would think, with that amount of heated history, I would be able to sail right through hot days.   One would think.   But it ain’t working.

And the weatherbunny is predicting 107 for Saturday…………………………………….

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Author: infmom

Otherwise known as Infamous Mom.

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