Thursday, June 12, 2008

How did we ever manage without A/C?

My air conditioner crapped out this week. I came home from work Monday evening and it was 91 degrees inside. It was actually cooler outdoors than in. My first thought was of my dogs, crated all day without access to water. I was terrified they were suffering from heat stoke. (I have never seen a cat with heat stroke; I don't know why.) The pets were all fine, and grumbling for their dinner, as usual. I opened up all the doors and windows, turned on every fan I could find, and lay in bed sweating.

Tuesday, I called the repair people. They couldn't come on Thursday, my day off, naturally. "We could come Friday afternoon," was the not-so-helpful reply. Great. I WORK on Friday, people.

"I don't suppose you could come on Saturday afternoon?" I asked hopefully, thinking about the hot, muggy week ahead.

"Yes, we could come Saturday between 12:00 and 4:00pm," the receptionist answered. I jumped at the appointment, not bothering to explain that I work till noon and wouldn't actually be home till nearly 1:00pm. I'll tell them Saturday morning about that little glitch.

After the thunderstorms passed through Monday night, Tuesday and Wednesday's weather was fine.
Tuesday, the dogs came to work with me, so no worries there. With the windows opened and the fans on, the house was relatively cool both days, but today, the heat is back on and the dew point has reached 67 degrees. (Anything above 65 and the humidity is palpable, according to my local weatherman.) Today, the farrier came to trim the horses' hooves, and although we worked in the cooler morning hours, I was still flushed and dripping within an hour.

How to cope without A/C? I grew up without the luxury of air conditioning, so I pulled out those old childhood memories of ways to beat the heat.

Close all the drapes and blinds to block the sun.
Run cool water over your wrists. (really works!)
Cold packs to your forehead, back of the neck and/or over your jugular veins.
Drink plenty of cold water.
Don't work too hard. (easy for me!)
Don't use the dryer, stove, or anything that generates heat.
Be grateful for electric fans and ice cubes.
Think about spring houses.

Has anybody besides me ever been in a spring house? Growing up in eastern Ohio, we had many friends who lived on dairy farms, and it seems every farm family had one. A spring house was a small building made of stone or concrete block, built over a running spring. Most of them had a cement trough that was filled with spring water, running in one end and out the other, and a metal dipper hanging on a nail, ready for a quick drink. In older times, they were used to keep food cool. I remember them as the perfect escape from the summer time heat. A spring house is a great retreat - cool, dark, a little mysterious - with thick, moss-covered walls shutting out the heat and the quiet whisper of the spring water drowning out the noise from outside. Nothing ever tasted so good as a cool drink from the spring in summer.

I feel cooler already.


Anonymous said...
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Susan Gets Native said...

I feel your pain, girl.

You could just go jump in your pond whenever you want.
Give the catfish a thrill.

NCmountainwoman said...

Bless you. I cannot imagine having the A/C out in this weather. Yes, I know about spring houses. My grandpa had one and we kids loved it. Up until the 50s, it was their refrigeration (in addition to an ice box) for milk, butter, eggs, etc. The water was so cool and pure.

Good luck on getting the repairs done quickly and inexpensively.

Anonymous said...

You deleted my comment but honestly, I am still curious why you would crate your dog all day without water. It was a genuine question.

KatDoc said...

Anon: I deleted the question because it didn't seem genuine, but inflammatory. I apologize if I misread the tone.

I crate my dogs when I am away because since they have gotten older one or both of them (I still haven't determined who is to blame) have started going to the bathroom in the house. If they are confined, they are "clean" while I am away.

Have you ever crated dogs? If so, you will know that one should not leave water in the crate. If you do, one of two things will happen: Either the dog will spill the water and have to sit in a wet crate the rest of the day (and still be without water) or it will drink all the water and then have to urinate. I can't imagine anything more uncomfortable than having to pee all day long and not being able to. If the dog can't hold it, then it urinates in the crate, which is a big mess and nasty, to boot.

They get plenty of water while I am home, and with the air on they are cool and comfortable. This day, when the A/C went out unexpectedly, was the only day I was ever worried about them being without water.

Anonymous said...

As a rule, I don't like crating because too many people use it as a substitute for properly caring for their pet. I have crated puppies while house-training them but I have also helped care for dogs who spent 8 hours a day, 5 days a week in the crate because their owners worked all day and did not trust the dogs in the house. I was the dogs' midday water and bathroom break.

So that plus a life of veterinary advice to make sure animals always have access to water, expecially in hot weather, made your comment jarring.

I still may not agree with you but I appreciate that you answered.