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“It was luxuries like air conditioning that brought down the Roman Empire. With air conditioning their windows were shut, they couldn’t hear the barbarians coming.”

August 31, 2015

The air conditioner was turned off for a bit this morning so the house could have some fresh air, but the AC is back on as it didn’t take long for the house to get hot. I am spoiled now with central air. I think back to when I was a kid, and we had only one fan. It was moved from room to room. In the evening it was in the living room always facing my father. He and fans had quite a history. Once he was trying to clear off the fan blades while the fan was on. He cut all the fingers on the one hand. It was not a surprise to us given my father’s abilities with anything electric. My bedroom was always hot, and I think I sweated myself to sleep every night. Nobody had air conditioners in those days. Even after we moved to the cape, we still had that one traveling fan. While I was in Ghana my parents moved. The fan went with them and at night took up its customary place in the living room facing my father.

When air conditioning was common, my parents bought three: one for each of the two bedrooms and one for the living room. My dad then had one of his brilliant ideas. He tacked a sheet over the molding on the archway between the living room and the hall. Its purpose was keep all the cold air in the living room. It looked silly but it did keep the living room cooler.

When I bought my own house, I bought a couple of those famous move from room to room fans, and I had another put on the ceiling of the guest room, not so much to cool my guests but more so I could keep my own fans. When it got really hot, I slept downstairs on the sofa bed with the back door open and the fans whirling away the whole night. I finally bought an air conditioner for my bedroom as I seldom spent a summer night sleeping in my bed.

Putting in central air was one of the best decisions I ever made, electricity bill be damned. I am now into creature comforts and being cool on a sweltering summer day is a prime comfort. I deserve it.

“Anyone who’s just driven 90 yards against huge men trying to kill them has earned the right to do Jazz hands. ”

February 1, 2015

That noise you hear is me running down the street screaming. The cause? More snow is coming starting later tonight into tomorrow. Luckily we are only getting 4-6 inches while Boston is expecting 8-12. I have no idea where they will put all that new snow. The street corners already have tall piles too high to see around. It seems Mother Nature is making up for what had been a snow-less winter.

The big game is tonight. All the hoopla will finally come to a head at kick-off. I am and have always been a Pats fan, even through the lean years, the pre-Brady years. It is just being faithful to the home team, an obligation of sorts.

Local Channel 5 is my go to it news station. This time of year especially I have noticed they have a hierarchy of sorts. It seems older announcers become on-site weather people who go to the places being highest hit. They stand outside during the storm’s ferocity getting buffeted by the wind and soaked by the rain or snow, all the while talking about how bad it all is. During the snow storm we just had, one announcer disappeared, blown off-camera by the wind.

My dad loved the Giants but changed his allegiance to the Patriots when the new league was established. He’d sit in his favorite spot, at the end of the couch nearest the TV. He was an ardent fan who yelled, castigated and complained. At Thanksgiving, he ate quickly so as not to miss any of the excitement. Most of the time he was by himself watching a game. My mother hated sports of any kind so she seldom would watch with him. If I were visiting, I’d spent a bit of time sitting and watching, but mostly I’d play Big Boggle in the kitchen with my mother. My dad would chit-chat with us when he made his forays into the kitchen during commercials or half-time. Usually my mother loaded up on special snacks for him so he never went back to the living room empty-handed.

My dad would have been so excited about the Super Bowl and his Patriots, and I’d probably have watched with him. My mother, being a wonderful hostess, would have made appetizers and joined us in the living room for this big game even though she knew nothing about football. One time she was cheering but the other team had the ball. We didn’t bother to explain. It was good of her to cheer.

“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.

“Mosquitoes remind us that we are not as high up on the food chain as we think”

August 2, 2010

Last night had a fall feel about it, like a September night when the chiminea is lit, and we warm ourselves by the fire. By the time the movie had started, we were bundled in sweatshirts, and I wished I’d worn socks instead of sandals, wool socks. My friends had hoods up and heads covered. A few days ago it was sweltering, and we complained. Last night it was cold, but we still complained. The evening, though, was great fun. I went all out, something I really hadn’t done much in the heat of the summer, and made muhammara and marinated olives (which I hate but my friends love) for appetizers. We had beef kabobs with yellow peppers, rice pilaf and panzanella for dinner. I bought lemon cupcakes for dessert. We wanted a light movie so we chose Pleasantville, and, despite the cold, it was still great sitting out on the deck to watch a movie. I do wonder what my neighbors think.

Today we have been blessed with another beautiful day, sunny and dry. Every night this week  will be wonderful for sleeping, in the low to mid 60’s. The summer is whizzing by us.

We had one table fan when I was a kid. I only remember it because my father tried to fix a blade while the fan was running, and he cut all his fingers. The fan was metal and made a lot of noise as it spun from side to side. It stayed in the living room while we watched TV and in my parents’ room at night. Our bedrooms were always hot, but I don’t remember ever having trouble falling asleep. We were so busy all day long we were exhausted by bedtime.

My father was a fierce hunter. I remember him waking us up when he went mosquito hunting. With rolled newspaper in hand, my father went from room to room trying to kill the mosquitoes before they got us. I guess four kids going in and out gave those bugs lots of opportunities to come inside. My father would stand on my bed and jiggle it as he swatted at the mosquitoes near the ceiling. I’d wake up to hear him announce his latest kill. Sometimes I’d hear him say too late on that one. I knew exactly what he meant.

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