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.