Wednesday, August 6, 2014

So THIS is What the Stone Age Looked Like--No A/C

I'm the one in the back.  Waiting for someone to INVENT A/C.  
It's been hot here lately, but I'm a summer person entirely, and I'm happiest when the sun is shining and it's warmer than 75-80, so I love our recent 95-97 degree heat.  I'm also totally aware that for many states...that qualifies as practically winter temperatures, so, yeah.  Don't be all 95 DEGREES? THAT'S NIGHT TEMPERATURES HERE.  Each to their own.

I am also painfully aware that we have two months, 60 ACTUAL DAYS of reliably nice weather here, so let me say very much on the record, that I am not complaining about the heat. I love the heat. We spend 10 months of the year waiting for days like today, and it's the most perfect place on earth for those 60 days. The rest of the months, we sit inside and watch travel videos and mutter about how the weather is nicer EVERYWHERE ELSE IN THE WORLD and maybe we should just move to Europe.

Growing up, we never had air conditioning, because hello--it was before global warming, and it doesn't get that hot in Idaho.  We just slept with the windows open, because where we lived, the worst thing that could come in through the window and get you was the back-woods mosquitoes.  Screens would have been a nice touch, though, Dad.  I still have scars!   
When you don't have electricity growing up, THIS is the way you get rid of mosquitoes in your bedroom.

Fast forward back to last night, when our modern-day A/C decided to go all faint and iffy and started blowing out sort of tepid, "meh"-feeling air.  This is NOT the kind of can-do attitude we need from our A/C unit on a 97-degree day, right when Shane gets home from a long day of working outside in the million-degree heat, when the only thing he wants to be subjected to when he gets in the house is a steady blast of FREEZING COLD AIR COMING OUT OF THE VENTS.  OMG, WHY IS THIS AIR NOT COLD???  This is like the stone age.  We might as well be in a cave.  I can't even-  

So we turned on a giant industrial fan that is strong enough to put all my dust bunnies into orbit, put on goggles, and sat around the fan wearing as little clothing as possible, and wondering if this is how the pioneers had to live and why did they even come here anyway?

By bedtime, our indoor temp was 79 degrees.  We sleep with the A/C at at night 71, because otherwise you wake up all melty and tangling up in a sheet that feels like a wool blanket inside a comforter in the desert and WHY THE HECK IS IT SO HOT IN HERE?

So, yes, something's wrong with the A/C, or it needs a new filter.  Probably for sure needs a filter.  Because why would I "change the filter every month" when every six months works fine?  Not that I don't love bringing an extension ladder in the house, turning it around a 180 corner and taking it up two landings of stairs to lean it on the stairs to change the filter.  Because I totally do.  After last night, it's seeming like a better idea to possibly have more than one filter on hand, in the summer, though... (note to self).

Picture THIS.  Except without the table.  Precious moments, guys.
Anyway, we turned off the A/C, to avoid spending money to blow recycled not-even-cool air around all night, and went to bed, but we left our window open, because one of the really great things about Idaho is that the night temperatures are usually about 40 degrees less than the day temperatures.  Our bedroom window is fronted by a wall of huge rose bushes, which means no one is going to try and get anywhere near that window without a severe loss of blood, so it seems like a great idea, right?  No.

Because TRAINS, guys.  Trains are the one single downer thing we live with (other than 10 months of *not summer*).  Our property is 1/4 mile away from a double set of tracks AND a major traffic crossing, which runs an average of 85-100 trains a day (I'm not making that number up), and every one of them, EVERY SINGLE ONE, has to lay on their horn for the traffic crossing EVERY SINGLE TIME. It's a rule; I get it.  But it means that if you're asleep behind an open window, it sounds like you are sleeping possibly ON the actual train tracks, about every 10 minutes.

And I'm the lightest sleeper in the world.

Since I know I'm the lightest sleeper in the world or possibly in the history of people ever, I also am never without earplugs, so I put in ear plugs, pulled up the sheet, and tried to sleep.  Unfortunately, I also happen to have possibly the smallest ear canals in the history of ears, so ear plugs don't always work the way they should for me, in the sense that they quietly just fall out, right after I'm asleep, and I end up like this:

The first time one of the train horns went off last night, with the window open, I was dreaming, so the sound became part of the dream, except in the dream, it was that sound that your computer makes when you do something stupid--you know, that *someone just sat on a piano* sound?  I dreamed it was that, until it got louder and kept repeating steadily, because you know train conductors have to be really sure there's no one at that crossing who didn't see those drop-down RR gaits with all those flashing red lights, at 3 a.m.
in case THIS doesn't get your attention

I have heard train horns at that crossing that sound like the guy is seriously playing the theme to Jeopardy on his 1-million-decibel horn at 3:00 a.m., or sometimes there are two trains, and they're bored or something, so it's like dueling banjos, or they think, well, sure, there are houses nearby and no traffic on any road in this entire county right now, but we should lean on these freaking horns for about 15 seconds in a row, just in case.

Not that I'm bitter.

I do remember thrashing around in the too-hot sheets, clamping my hands over my ears to keep the ear plugs from falling out, and still hearing the trains, and thinking "Great.  We've just reverted back to the stone age."  I'm not sure why I thought that, but at 3 a.m., it seemed true.  It also made me think of Haley Joel Osment in that movie Secondhand Lions, where he's pulling the lever for the clay skeet-shoot thingee for the old guys, and he has potholders tied on his head for ear protection; then I wondered if I had some decent potholders and a good neck-tie, because they'd probably stay on better.  I also wondered what Shane would think if he woke up to find me sleeping in full 1980's type headphones.
too bad I sleep on my stomach...

I also totally tried to find a picture of that movie scene for you, but it doesn't seem to exist.  You should watch the movie, though.

I don't even have a way to end this...except that now we get to live like we did growing up, where you open the windows in the morning to let in some cool air, and hope for the best.  And yes, I KNOW I should just run to the store and get an A/C filter, but we don't even have my daughter's car right now, which is a whole other story, and I'm getting a rental, but it won't be til the weekend.  And I'm not driving an ATV down the highway with an A/C filter strapped to the back.

Pretty lame how we think we're all capable and tough, until one little convenience fails us, and we completely lose it.


  1. HAHAHAHAHAHA! I'm sorry that it's too hot to sleep without the A/C there right now. We have had ours on since March and it won't go off again until sometime in October. I grew up in Iowa with one window unit in our living room until I was in high school or something like that. I remember sleeping in the hallway next to a box fan in a tank top and underwear and praying for morning when my parents would plug the a/c in again. And we had trains too, but I kind of miss them now.

    1. I remember being SO impressed with Shane's family, when I met him, because they HAD a box fan. Right there in the living room. Such luxury! lol

      I did sleep cool *enough* with the window open, but today it's heating up already, and we have no air at all now, not even the pithy half-hearted kind, so we'll see how this evening turns out.

  2. lol...I always say anything below 72 is cold to me. I, like you, grew up without air conditioning, well, central air. My parents had a window unit to make sleeping at night when the temp was above 77ish, bearable. I too cherish the days of summer. kindred spirits.

    1. Exact-ly. We lived in southern Oregon for 4+ years, and I remember going outside to ride my horse when it cooled DOWN to 95 in the evening, so it's relative. But I LOVED that heat, so I want to smack people here when they freak out about it being ahmigash too hot when it's 90.

      I'm like: No. It will be snowing in LIKE 45 DAYS, and we'll all be complaining about why does it have to be so COLD ALL THE TIME here.