Posted tagged ‘Air conditioner’

“Everyone knows that if you eat a cookie, and the cookie next to it is broken, you’re required to eat that broken cookie as well to keep the package looking clean.”

September 10, 2016

The air conditioner is off for the meanwhile. The sun disappeared a bit earlier and was replaced by clouds then it reappeared. I suspect that will happen all day. The air is damp. The weatherman said there is a possibility of rain. I’m not complaining as we need rain, but it would dampen movie night.

I used to wonder why pistachio nuts were red. I remember my stained fingers and torn fingernails after opening them, but I thought those were a small price to pay. Now there are no red pistachios, only ones with natural shells. I know most of our pistachios used to come from Iran until the embargo. Come to find out, they were dyed red to disguise any shell imperfections from the harvesting. Now they come from California and have no imperfections, no blemishes on the shells. I find them a bit boring, still tasty and still tearing my fingernails but boring. I know I can buy them already shelled but that seems like cheating.

I was too impatient adding Nestle’s Quick to my milk. I stirred but never enough. On the bottom of my glass was always a layer of chocolate sludge. I used to eat that with a spoon. Once my mother bought Strawberry Quick. I liked the pink color, but I wasn’t a big fan of the strawberry. I don’t think she ever bought it again.

I don’t drink milk anymore except for the leftover milk from my cereal which tastes like the cereal. I think it was in Ghana where I lost my taste for milk as I never had any. Ghanaians don’t drink milk even though they have cows. It never occurred to me to have a villager sell me the milk.

I always liked Fig Newtons. Now I find them a bit dry. I buy fresh figs instead. Oreos are the only off the shelf cookies I buy. Mostly I get cookies from the bakery. Anise cookies are my favorite, but the bakery doesn’t always have them so I have to be content with chocolate chip.

My trip stuff list is getting bigger. I added Oreos this morning. When my parents and I traveled together, my mother always brought snacks. Some were the packages of crackers and cheese. My favorite was the peanut butter crackers, not the orange ones, the brown ones. My mother never had to bring any snacks home.

This is the quietest day. I think the thick air diffuses sound so it disappears. Gracie isn’t even snoring. I wonder if all the kids are wearing gags.

 

“School bells are ringing loud and clear; vacation’s over, school is here.”

September 6, 2016

I got home around 1:30, let Gracie out, fed her and tried to take a nap. I was too restless so I came downstairs, ate a few anise cookies, read my e-mail and here I am.

The sun is out. The storm was a bust. Now I have to put my deck back together. The furniture and the deck are covered with leaves. The table has about an inch of rain on it. Pine tree branches have fallen in the backyard. They fall easily, even in an every day wind.

The house was stuffy when I got home even with the windows open so I put on the air conditioner. It is now much more comfortable. Gracie has stopped panting, Fern is lying beside me and Maddie is on the same chair as always.

The kids were standing on the corners of my street today. They were waiting for the bus. A couple of mothers were waiting with them. I don’t remember any buses when I was a little kid. I didn’t need one as my walk wasn’t all that long, but some kids walked a couple of miles or even more. No cars were lined up dropping kids off in the morning or picking them up in the afternoon. One of my neighbors was a widow. She was the only mother with a car. When it rained, she always drove or picked up her daughter. I was jealous, especially on rainy days.

I never see kids walking to school anymore. They either take the bus or are driven. Mothers are waiting at the bus stop to see their kids off or to welcome them home. In the winter or when it rains the mothers wait in cars. That brings to mind the traditional beginning of the school year exaggeration passed from one generation to another. I walked to school in three feet of snow, during tropical storms and on the coldest of days when we didn’t dare stop for fear of freezing to the spot.

“Food, like a loving touch or a glimpse of divine power, has that ability to comfort.”

July 26, 2016

I’m close to screaming in frustration. Today will be hot yet again. That the humidity will be less is small consolation. I have the AC off for a while, but the temperature in the house has risen three degrees already so soon enough I’ll be stuck behind closed doors and windows. I did finish one of my errands yesterday, but that still leaves one more for today.

The kitchen in the house where I lived the longest was tiny. When the oven was lit, the kitchen quickly got hot and stayed that way long after dinner was finished. My mother, during the summer, cooked on the stove top. She made stuff like pasta, hamburgers, fried dough and even hot dogs. She never grilled. Her dinner sides were sometimes potato salad or pasta salad. She never made a green salad. Dessert was always a maybe dependent on what was in the house. It could have been cookies, Oreos of course, or ice cream or a popsicle. My favorite popsicle was root beer followed by a close second, cherry. If neither was available, an orange would do just fine. 

Some people I know don’t ever eat leftovers. I don’t get that. Some food tastes better the next day. My chili is always best the day after I make it so I usually make it the day before I need it. That way any fat gets skimmed. I like leftover pasta. Add fresh garlic bread, some cheese and you have a perfect meal. 

Winter has comfort food. It keeps us warm and brings back memories. Summer has hot dogs and hamburgers best cooked on a grill. You have to toast the buns. 

My mother used to make piccalilli every fall when there were green tomatoes. She made New England style piccalilli with those green tomatoes, red peppers, onions, brown sugar, cider vinegar and some spices like mustard powder and a few others I don’t remember. She’d give us all a couple of jars. I’d use it sparingly so it would last longer. I swear a hot dog with my mother’s piccalilli was perfection in a bun. 

“Well, this is not a boat accident! And it wasn’t any propeller; and it wasn’t any coral reef; and it wasn’t Jack the Ripper! It was a shark.”

June 28, 2016

Today is overcast and humid. We never got any rain. I was disappointed. Yesterday I needed the air conditioner. Gracie was panting the whole afternoon, and I started to get sweaty from the humidity. Such a lovely visual! The house cooled down nicely, and I slept well.

Fern is feeling better. She is back to her favorite spots for sleeping and hasn’t hidden in a few days. This morning she woke me up at 6 by meowing in my face. She has taken to doing that the last few days. I pat her and try to go back to sleep. In my world 6 is far too early. Today I made it to 6:45. Fern is back to sleep. Somehow that’s just wrong!

I wear my cozy clothes around the house. Getting dressed is only for errands. My pants are cotton with weird designs which would cause staring in public. I wear teeshirts and go barefoot. The deck is as far as I go outside clad as I am. I always hope no one rings the bell.

With July 4th coming I have to choose my movie. Independence Day, Jaws and 1776 are the choices. I like Jaws the most. It takes place on Cape Cod though Amity Island doesn’t exist. The film was shot on Martha’s Vineyard. I can’t think of a movie with a better opening or better music. The girl in the water, the first victim, swims to ballet music then she is thrashed back and forth. We never see what has hold of her. We just know because we are the shark in that scene. Ask anyone the sound of the shark music, and I suspect most people can tell you by sort of singing it: duunnn dunnn… duuuunnnn duun… duuunnnnnnnn dun dun dun dun dun dun dun dun dun dun …

 

I consider that about the scariest music because we all know what’s coming and it is terrifying.  That shark kept people out of the water the summer it was released. Now we have several Great Whites off the coast of Chatham. They already have a soundtrack.

“As to Bell’s talking telegraph, it only creates interest in scientific circles, and, as a toy it is beautiful; but … its commercial value will be limited. “

July 7, 2015

Summer, I believe, has finally arrived. It has brought beautiful mornings, hot and humid afternoons and tolerable nights for sleeping, at least tolerable so far. Yesterday afternoon, though, the humidity became stifling. No breeze blew to push away the moisture. I turned on the air conditioner, and the house became comfortable. Gracie and I both settled in for an afternoon nap in the coolness of the bedroom.

This morning I turned the AC off and opened all the windows. I didn’t want to miss the smell of morning with its scent of flowers and mowed grass and sometimes even the salt air of the sea. Through the opened windows, I heard the songs of the different birds from trees in the front yard and easily recognized the song of the chickadees, my most frequent visitors, then I heard a metal clank sound which I ignored. When I heard it a second time, I recognized the sound as coming from the half-sized metal barrel where I keep the bird seed. I went on the deck to check it out, and the red spawn scurried away from the barrel and off the deck. The barrel cover was off and was lying beside the barrel. Several sunflower kernels were strewn around the bottom of the barrel. The spawn had found the mother lode. I put the cover back on the barrel and put two bricks on it. I figured that would keep the spawn away unless he platooned his buddies, and they all lent their paws to the effort.

I am waiting for Comcast to come to fix my phone line. During the conversation yesterday with Comcast I wished more times than I can remember that I had the power to put my hand through the receiver and grab the so-called Comcast technician and throttle him. I had opened the conversation with him by explaining that my phone line did not work. I told him I had tested the phone by connecting its line to the modem and the phone worked so I knew the problem was the line. He started to ask questions phrased as if to a five-year old. I interrupted him and said I had explained the problem and didn’t a walk-through from him. He then said he would reset the modem. I slowly explained it wasn’t the modem. It was the line coming from the wall. He then asked a few more questions, all of which had been answered in my first explanation. He then concluded my phone was not working. I told him I was talking to him on that non-working phone. He paused and then told me to remove the line from the modem and reconnect it to the wall. I explained the call would end once I did that. He took my cell number, and when the phone went dead, he called me back on my cell. It was 25 minutes from the start of the call when he said I think there is something wrong with your phone line.

“Then Sister Aquinata abandoned the nonviolent methods and produced a rolling pin from somewhere.”

September 6, 2014

Today hasn’t had the best start. I turned off the air conditioner and opened the doors and windows upstairs and downstairs. When I opened the doors, a blast of hot humid air immediately made me regret the decision so I went around closing the doors and windows and turned the air back on; of course, Gracie then wanted out so I opened the door, let her out, shut the door and kept watch. She stood by the stairs for a few minutes surveying the yard then turned around and wanted back in so I opened the door and let her in. She did it again and so did I. After she came in, I sat on the couch and noticed one of the cats had been sick on my computer top. I cleaned it up, sat down and started to read the papers. Gracie sat close on the floor by me and stared, just stared and drove me crazy. I gave her a treat which she ate on the rug then she got on the couch for her morning nap, mission accomplished. I then opened the first paper and finally had my cup of coffee. That it didn’t spill I found amazing.

A thundershower for today and rain continuing into the night and maybe into tomorrow is the forecast. The day is dark. A small breeze ruffles the leaves on the oak tree. No birds are at the feeders this morning and not even the spawn has made an appearance. They must be hunkering down before the storm. I guess that’s what I’m doing.

Mostly everybody I knew went to St. Patrick’s Grammar School. Each grade had two classes loaded with kids. Some of my classes had as many as thirty-five or forty kids, but despite the number, there were never discipline problems. When I was young, I thought the nuns were scary and crossing them was done at one’s own peril. Nobody even whispered. I do remember an acceptable sound. When kids raised their hands to be called on for an answer, they’d wave their arms and say “Sisster, sisster,” hoping to be noticed. It always sounded like hissing from a roomful of snakes. Lunch time meant we could talk quietly. We could even get out of our seats but only for a basement or trash run. At our school we didn’t ask to go to the bathroom. We asked to go to the basement as that was where the two bathrooms were. The older we were the higher we were and the longer the trip. The first graders had to go down two sets of stairs while the oldest kids had to go down six. The girls’ bathroom was really old with wooden stalls and exposed pipes across the ceiling. Sometimes there was water on the floor, but I loved that bathroom. It meant freedom if only for a short while.

 

“What shall you do all your vacation?’, asked Amy. “I shall lie abed and do nothing”, replied Meg.”

July 10, 2014

Yesterday was a sweat producing day, a day for the air-conditioner which was on all afternoon and night, but I turned it off this morning though it is still a bit warm. It’s just that the mornings are so lovely I hate to miss them sitting behind closed doors and windows. Right now there is a little breeze from the window behind me, the birds are singing and the neighborhood is gloriously quiet as if I’m alone in the world. I like that feeling sometimes. Last night it rained, but I didn’t hear it. Today might reach 80˚ but it will drop to the 60’s tonight. Tomorrow’s forecast has the nighttime temperature at 59˚. That sounds delightful.

My energy comes in spurts sometimes dictated by my back. Yesterday my sole accomplishments were to re-set the flag holder and screw in the hook off the deck which holds a bird feeder. Both were victims of the wind. The bird feeder had been filled but it fell to the ground and was emptied. I’m thinking the spawns had a picnic. Now that the hook is fixed I’ll go and retrieve the items which fell off the deck and refill the feeder. I am already on my second load of laundry, and I have to go buy Gracie food and drop a few things off at the dump. That, for me, is quite the busy day.

My sisters used to give my mother dandelion bouquets. She’d act thrilled as if she had been given the rarest flowers. She’d put the bouquet in a jelly glass and then in the middle of the table. The dandelions were brilliant yellow and didn’t seem at all like a weed should be.

My father always got two weeks’ vacation, and he took them in the summer. Most of the time we didn’t go away as it was too expensive though I do remember the trip to the island in Maine and the Niagara falls trip, but that’s it; instead, we’d go places close to home. I remember going to the beach on weekdays when the traffic was light, and there were parking spaces near the water. We’d stay most of the day. A couple of nights we’d go to the drive-in. Sometimes we’d go to Maine for a weekend and stay at my father’s friend’s cottage. I always found that boring. The water was too cold, and there was little to do. The museum trips were my favorite. I remember standing in the Egyptian section at the MFA and marveling at how tall the sarcophagi were. I still get that feeling when I visit the MFA even now. Once during the two weeks we’d go out to dinner, a rare occasion for us. We’d go to Kitty’s where the food was cheap and plentiful. It never occurred to me that we didn’t have enough money to go away. I never felt deprived, and I loved being surprised by every day.

“The love of books is among the choicest gifts of the gods.”

February 9, 2014

The sun was shining while we were having a small snow shower earlier. It was kind of pretty. I stood at the door and watched as if I haven’t had enough snow already this winter. I think, though, it was the gentleness of this snow which drew me to watch. The flakes were wispy and tiny. The storm lasted but a heartbeat. Clouds took over, but the sun is breaking through them, and the day is brightening again. I’d like some sun.

I have decided that getting older has given me the right to even greater creature comfort. When I was younger, I tolerated extremes of heat and cold. Now I crank up the thermostat in winter and turn on the air-conditioner in summer. I stay in warm cozy clothes on the coldest of days and hunker down at home. My meals are a mishmash of whatever is in the house. Rice Krispies aren’t just for breakfast any more and adding a banana raises that cereal to new heights. Yesterday I had a messy grilled cheese sandwich, comfort food at its best. I added avocado and bacon. That sandwich was like manna from heaven. I don’t know what is on the menu for today, but I do have a couple of sweet potatoes and some pastrami so maybe a sort of hash.

I started reading the Stephen King. It is fine for downstairs reading, but because of its size, the book is unwieldy for reading in bed so I’ll have to choose a new upstairs book. When I worked and drove more, I also had a car book which doubled as my lunch time book. On long trips, I listened to an audio book. That always made the time go so much faster. I remember trips to Europe in the summer and trading books with other backpackers. I also remember trying to find the only English language bookstore in some cities; Quito was one of them. When I went to Ghana, I filled my iPad with e-books, and I read several of them while I was there. I do love the feel of a real book, but sometimes a real book is not practical and travel is one of those times. My iPad is right up there at the top of my packing list, and I doubt anything will unseat it as number one.

“God, it was hot! Forget about frying an egg on the sidewalk; this kind of heat would fry an egg inside the chicken.”

May 31, 2013

I never did get to the garden center yesterday because Gracie and I went to the dump. She saw me bringing trash to the car despite my stealthiness and got quite excited at the prospect of going to one of her favorite places. I couldn’t disappoint her so off we went. When I got home, I sat for a bit and that small break drained me of any ambition. It was around two, and I was sitting on the couch reading and sweating because yesterday afternoon was about 84˚. Why in the heck am I sweating thought I so up I got to turn on the air-conditioner. The house was so hot it took until early evening before it was comfortably cool. This morning I went outside to see if I could turn off the air. Nope!

I had no milk or cream so Gracie and I went to Dunkin’ Donuts. She enjoyed her morning ride and I got my coffee. We are both happy with the start of our day.

I don’t remember being hot when I was young. I remember cold, but the memory of heat escapes me. We walked from one end of town to the other to go to the pool, and I remember carrying my towel and bathing suit in both directions. On the way home the wet bathing suit was wrapped in the towel. I remember walking up the huge hill on the way to the square, but I don’t remember the rest of the walk. I remember tired but not hot. At night, the air was sometimes stifling in my bedroom, but I always fell asleep anyway. It was the exhaustion of a kid in summer.

We didn’t have air-conditioning. Nobody did. We didn’t even have a fan that I remember. My mother pulled down all the shades in the house to keep it cooler. We were moles every summer.

When I lived in Ghana, some days I minded the extreme heat. I’d sit in my chair, and when I got up, the imprint of my body was in an outline of sweat on the cushions. Candles melted sideways without being lit. That’s how hot it got in the Upper Region. I didn’t have a fan then either, never even thought of buying one. I just got used to the heat as best I could. In my mind it was just part of the experience of being a Peace Corps volunteer in Africa.

Every night I’d take my cold shower, no hot water, but the first water from the pipes was always hot, warmed by the sun, and I’d wash my hair quickly. The rest of me endured the cold water. I always took my shower just before I went to bed. I had learned not to dry myself off so I could air dry once I got into bed. It was like I was my own air-conditioner. I think the Peace Corps calls that adapting.

“Diligence is a good thing, but taking things easy is much more restful”

July 26, 2012

The last few days were lovely, but now the air is thick with humidity. I could feel it as soon I woke up so I closed the upstairs windows, came downstairs, closed the rest of the windows and turned on the AC. I gasped when I went outside to get the papers. Gracie, a bit of a barometer herself, spent little time outside this morning. She came in quickly and collapsed on the couch in the AC. She is now deep asleep and snoring.

The older I get the more my life seems, in different ways, to get easier. When I first lived here, I didn’t even have a fan. When it was really hot, I just slept downstairs with the back door opened all night. When I bought a standing fan, I used it down here and then carried it upstairs so I’d have a breeze all night. I couldn’t sleep without it. It was just too darn hot. Finally I got a window air conditioner for my bedroom. The afternoon sun pours in there, and because it is on the third floor, it stays really hot. I used it at night all summer and many times in the afternoons if the heat felt unbearable. On those afternoons the dog and I would go upstairs in the cool air where I’d stretch out and read. The both of us usually napped. Now I just turn the thermostat and the whole house gets delightfully cool.

My lawn gets mowed every week by my landscaper’s crew. I used to mow it myself on a late afternoon or a Saturday. It is amazing how many chores and errands I used to squeeze in on a weekend when I worked. Now I don’t even enough time over the course of a seven-day week to do everything. I keep telling myself I’ll do it tomorrow. My house gets cleaned every two weeks though I do some spot cleaning in the meantime. I used to clean my house every weekend. The only chore I still consistently do is the washing but no longer do I need to iron a single thing. Wrinkles are perfectly acceptable. I do turn on the dishwasher, but most days I hand wash the few dishes I use. I look out the window as I wash and I do some of my best thinking. Most days I make my bed. It makes my bedroom look neater, but if the cats are sleeping on it, I wait, and if they sleep on the bed all afternoon, I don’t make it at all.

I make no apologies for my sloth. I earned the right to do nothing after all those years of working and getting up at 5 in the morning. My new motto is whatever makes my life easier is just fine with me.