Posted tagged ‘shades’

“Mosquitoes, how wonderful! No one puts them in cages or makes pets out of them.”

July 1, 2017

I am late again. This time I can’t blame my computer. It is my fault. It was close to 10:30 when I woke up then I had two papers to read and a couple of cups of coffee to drink before I could face the day. Last night I was restless and woke up several times. Gracie was the sleep disruptor twice, the first at 3:30. When we went outside, it was so dark I had to feel with my foot to figure out where we were: the grass or the driveway. Once back inside, I had to read a while before I could get back to sleep, back to my restless sleep. It’s no wonder I’m tired.

Today’s weather is like yesterday’s but with a breeze instead of a wind. The leaves at the end of the branches are waving but only slightly. I don’t hear my chimes.

Summer has officially started. The house next door has its first renters of the season. I heard them this morning. They weren’t loud but the open window a bit above the couch where I sleep faces their small deck and slider. I haven’t figured out how many are there yet, but I think there is only a single car.

My house is dark though the clouds are light-colored, not like storm clouds. I can feel the humidity. I’ve nothing planned for today but I might switch out the spawn eaten lights for the new ones I have. The spawns prefer red for chewing.

We didn’t have many organized summer activities when I was a kid. The playground under the trees on the field at the end of my street was about the only close place to spend a summer day. The pool was another spot, but it was about as far away from my house as you could get and still be in my town. Sometimes we’d bike ride to a pond in the next town and go fishing. The library was another place to spend some time before leaving with an armful of books. Other times we didn’t do anything but stay around the house.

My mother kept the living room dark. All the shades were down. She believed this was the best way to keep the house cool. We didn’t have AC back then, and we didn’t have any fans. Upstairs was a hot box. It took a while to fall asleep.

My father had an obsession about mosquitos. He always yelled for us to close the outside doors quickly; somehow, though, that didn’t work. My father hunted down mosquitos.  They were his prey. He had a rolled-up newspaper as his weapon of choice. He’d jump on beds to whack the mosquitos on the ceilings. He woke us up a lot when the beds rocked as he walked across the mattress swatting bugs. All the ceilings had smashed bug marks and a few splotches of blood. My father announced each kill, each triumph. He was a mighty hunter.

“Oreos come in packages. Otherwise known as a gift. Cherish it.”

July 2, 2016

My wish was granted. Last night it was a mighty storm. The thunder started way off with small rumblings then it got closer and louder. The lightning lit up the room. One thunder clap was right over my house. All three animals looked up as if the roof was falling. Mother Nature celebrated the 4th just a bit early, and her display was spectacular.

The air is cool this morning with a slight breeze, but the humidity will return later. I have opened all the windows. This room, my den, is always wonderfully dark and cool in the morning as the sun doesn’t hit it until the afternoon.

My mother always put the shades down all summer. She said it kept the house cool. She also made a pitcher of Zarex most days and left it in the fridge, but she hated it when we opened the fridge door as we generally stood there by the door to check out the fridge. She said we were letting the cold out.

Weekdays in the summer we entertained ourselves. We’d bike ride totally mindless of the heat or we’d spend the day at the park on the field across from the bottom of my street. On those days we’d go home for lunch which was always a sandwich, usually bologna. I don’t even remember what other cold cuts my mother bought. To my sandwich I’d add hot peppers which I had cut in half. Mustard was my condiment of choice; of course, it was always yellow mustard. The bread was always white. I don’t remember any specific dessert, but my guess is it was Oreos, a wonderfully portable dessert. I still love my Oreos, but once I went crazy and bought peanut butter Oreos. They were pretty good though really what’s not to like about peanut butter, but I’m a traditionalist prone to buy the original though double-stuffed is always tempting.

“The sun burnt every day. It burnt time.”

July 18, 2013

Yesterday I went on the deck to fill feeders and water plants. That was my only visit to the outside world. Today it may reach 90˚ here on the cape for the first time all summer. The rest of the state is in an official heat wave, 90˚ weather three days or more. Today is day four. I have to go out, a no choice errand. I’m already dreading the trip.

I have become intolerant of too much heat and too much cold. Maybe it is because I am so much older than I was. My mother used to keep her heat so high in the winter the rest of us wore t-shirts. When I lived in a hot country, I abided the heat. I had no choice. Now I leave the air-condition running. I think today is day three. My feet get cold so I put on slippers. I think having cold feet in the middle of a heat wave is a wonderful thing.

None of my windows have shades. I have never liked them. I might have gone with blinds, but I didn’t think of them, and I probably would have put them only in the two bathrooms. The windows in the den here and the ones in the dining room have nothing, not even curtains. The window in here facing east is my favorite view of all the windows. From it I can see the trees in the backyard, the bird feeders and the now opened red umbrella on the deck. If I were a painter, I would use water colors to paint my view. The living room lace curtains came from Ireland. I bought them in a store in Dublin. The rest of the rooms have a variety of curtains: valances, full curtains and half curtains with valances. The ones in my bedroom came from India. I bought them on-line. The ones in the guest room came from Bradlees, a store no longer in existence. Soon the upstairs bathroom will have curtains made of cloth from Ghana which matches some of the cloth in my new shower curtain. Grace said she saw the cloth in Accra at a market and will buy it for me. That’s kinda neat when you think about it: there’s the Ghana connection still so strong and the market and cloth and my former student who is 60 or 61 and happy to shop for me but won’t call me by my first name. I am Madam or Miss Ryan.

When I was young, I lived in a cave, not a real cave but a darkened house which resembled a cave. My mother put the shades down in every room to keep out the heat. I remember walking outside and not being able to see because of all that sun. We had morphed into moles.

“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.