Wednesday, May 21, 2014

First World Problems

I'm embarrassed. Really, I am. Every time I log in and see a long stream of update posts, because it's been so long since I've sat down to write something.

So I'm just not going to do it any more. You all know how it is - you have kids a life, a million and one things on the calendar, and no time to blog every day. Or even every month or six. As much as I hate the saying, it is what it is.

Tonight I am going to whine about a first world problem.

Our heat pump is on the fritz. We first noticed it a few months back, when some unseasonably warm March weather prompted us to turn on the air one day...and it didn't do much. Since then, we've had three leaks repaired, and the thing still isn't cooling. At all. HOORAY, time to buy a new one! There's $3000 I just had lying around collecting dust, said no single-income family ever.

Anyway, estimates are underway and a new unit should be installed in a few days. It's all terribly inconvenient when it's 78 degrees in your house, because honestly, that's practically unbearable.

I was getting ready for bed tonight, wondering how I'd ever get to sleep in the sweltering heat, when it occurred to me that I have, in fact, survived entire summers sans air conditioning before.

When I was a kid - living in this same house, in fact - there was no air conditioning. Well, I take that back. My mom and stepdad had a window unit in their bedroom (now my stiflingly hot bedroom) and it was always like a little slice of Heaven to open their bedroom door and stroll inside on a hot summer day. It was like walking out of a furnace into a freezer - it was divine. Only, I wasn't really allowed to hang out in there, and was never allowed to sleep in there, even though I would have happily slept on the floor/in the closet/half-in and half-out just to oh my gosh please just have a little bit of the cold air.

My stepdad, who was a very funny guy, did buy a window fan for my room. It filled the entire top half of my window, and he explained how the fan would draw the warm air out of the room and the cool air into the room. Only, you know, there was no cool air outside to be drawn in, so everything stayed hot, with the addition of noisy. (In all fairness, there were a few - and I mean few - mornings when I woke up to a pleasantly cool room, but those were definitely the exception, never the rule.)

I spent a large portion of my time at my grandma's house as a child, and she didn't even have a window unit in the bedroom. There was just no air, period, except for the odd box fan. I'm pretty sure that this is why I like the smell of basements to this day - because hers was the only cool place in the house. Lying on the concrete floor of the basement with a book, there was finally some respite from the hot.

When I slept over at Grandma's house, she would very often soak washcloths in cold water before bed, to be folded and put on our foreheads. I would sleep with Grandma in her big bed, both of us folding and refolding the cloths on our heads, and we'd whisper in the dark until one of us fell asleep. This is quite possibly my only pleasant memory, ever, of being hot.

Back at home, my parents didn't install a heat pump until the summer after I graduated from high school and headed off to college. This was also when they finally got cable television. What was it about my leaving that made them decide to make our home a nicer place to live? Hmmm.

Summers as a teenage girl in a home with no air were very little fun. I remember getting out of the shower and feeling like I would never, ever dry...and the futility of applying makeup that sweated off as fast I could put it back on. (The most memorable occasion was on the day of my junior prom - which I attended with now-hubby. I swear I tried to look pretty, and ended up with the fresh, natural, no-makeup look which I like now, but really, I just wanted to be glamorous for an evening back then.)

I absolutely loved going to visit my dad and stepmom on weekends and, better yet, for whole weeks during the summer. Mostly because they're great people and I love them, you know, but also because those people appreciate air conditioning. They moved a lot when I was a kid, but without exception, every one of their homes were COLD in the summertime. I could sleep with actual blankets in the summertime and not die!! It was heavenly.

Then I met Gene. The first time that I went to his house, I walked in the door and was greeting with a blast of icy cold air from his air conditioning. I knew then that this was the man I would marry. I could never live with one of those "we keep the house at 72 degrees year-round" types. Nope.

So here we are, thirteen happily married summers of subzero indoor temperatures later (my babies wore footie pajamas year-round, thankyouverymuch) and we have no air, and I am going to whine about it.

The thing is, I'm old mature enough now to recognize this horrible, horrible inconvenience as exactly what it is: a first-world problem. I mean, I'm sure there are places that are hotter right now than my bedroom, in Africa or Brazil or something. I am hardly straddling the Equator here in Virginia, but I'm allowing myself to wallow in my own misery as though I were.

I tend to feel bad when I wallow. I realize that so many people have it so much worse than I do...there are people with no bedroom at all, even a hot one. People with no food to eat in their sweltering homes. People who would love an indoor shower from which they may never dry. Heck, even people who would love to have a cat that insists on lying RIGHT ON TOP OF YOU WHEN YOU'RE TRYING TO TYPE AND IT'S NEARLY 80 DEGREES IN HERE. Come on, beast, you're wearing a fur coat - be reasonable.

So I end up feeling bad for being whiny and miserable, and feeling bad for other people instead.

Which means that I'm destined to wallow in something once I get started. It'll just be without blankets tonight.

Darnit, I cannot not update. My dear sweet husband surprised me with a new laptop last Christmas, so I don't have a good excuse not to blog any more, now that we're no long "sharing." Buster is still with us, although working on a slow transition to his forever home. And this school year will never end, as we have been a little slacker-y on all but the main subjects, so we have some catching up on science and history to do this summer. That is all.

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