Soundtrack in my head: INXS, “Burn For You”
Maybe it was stubbornness, but I don’t think it was pride. After all, I’d owned an air conditioner before, and it wasn’t a terrible experience. But for nine summers I’d resisted getting an air conditioner. Really, I just didn’t feel like spending the money, even though it wouldn’t have cost me too dearly.
Typically we’ll get a warm spell of about three or four days, and maybe one of those day the temperature will top 90 degrees. On those days my housemates and I will implement the “Cave Day” strategy in which, after letting the cool night breezes waft through the house, we will close all windows and pull the shades and keep it like a cave in our house. Sometimes we’d be so effective that we’d come home at 6 pm while still very hot out, open the door to the house and actually be welcomed by a blast of cool air. (Well, okay, more like a “puff.”)
I always got the feeling, however, that this strategy wouldn’t work all that well in Death Valley.
We had an extraordinarily warm winter earlier this year with buds appearing on the trees six weeks early. We loved it, but two less than pleasant thoughts were always in the back our minds. The first was, “Is this global warming?”. And the second thought was “Does this mean that we will haunted by a seemingly endless string of 90 and 100 degree days this summer?”
Well, to quote the little girl in Poltergeist, “They’re here.”
While I often joke that I am part polar bear, and that my melting point is 80 degrees, my first response was to be stoic. The first night of hot weather, I ran my fans and did my best to work on a paper for school. I lasted about fifteen minutes and gave up–I simply couldn’t concentrate.
My next step was to pack my laptop in my messenger bag. I have often joked about being a “laptop nomad seeking air conditioning.”. But after several days of this, I began to feel more like a refugee than a nomad.
Meanwhile, our “cave days” continued, but with less and less success. If we were indeed living in a cave, we were sharing it with a fire-breathing dragon who was becoming increasingly assertive.
Finally, the last straw for me was in trying to sleep. As I’ve posted in the past, I use a CPAP mask and it has been very effective for me. But at 10:30 last night it was still 87 degrees out, and I found myself sweating so much that my CPAP mask ended up turning into a hovercraft literally within seconds–one that emitted a loud and consistent Bronx cheer.
So I called Sears this morning and let them talk me into a Kenmore 8,000 BTU air conditioner with a thermostat, an Energy Star rating, and even a remote control, for a little over $200. Good enough for me. I took the bus to East Towne Mall after work, picked up the unit, called Union Cab and their Prius was there within fifteen minutes. (I felt better about buying the air conditioner knowing that I was taking it home in a Prius. And if you believe that, I have some Arctic oceanfront property to sell you.)
Some assembly required, but I got the air conditioner running. Unfortunately I’m going to need to get a large 4×4 block in order get it to sit on the windowsill correctly due to the storm window frame. For now, I have it resting on a bunch of old magazines and am using an old sock and an old pair of boxers to keep the window sealed. But the bottom line is that I’m comfortable, and I’m looking forward to catching up on my sleep tonight…