I am looking at the last few days as a practice run for the rest of the summer, a quick test to help hone our heat survival skills. Here’s how we’ll keep cool without having to resort to the dreaded, energy sucking air conditioner:
- Do chores early in the morning. Dishes, hanging out of laundry, weeding, vacuuming. This will have to include blogging as well- when I attempted to turn on the computer in the evening, the fan was working so hard that I feared for its health and promptly shut it back off. Hence my lack of recent posts.
- Keep curtains closed against the sun.
- Eat an early lunch. Wait too long, and it’s just too hot to eat.
- Enjoy a lazy afternoon. Cass and I hunkered down in the coolest room we could find with a pitcher of iced tea and read our way through the heat of the day.
- Get wet. I don’t know how eco-friendly this option is, but we shared the Y pool with hundreds of others, and we took mere 60 second showers afterward.
- At dinnertime, re-open the curtains and eat by natural light. (On Monday this was our only option as the power went out for several hours.)
- Eat lots of fruits and veggies. For dinners we had big salads topped with leftover steak and chicken we had grilled up in bulk on Sunday. Also, I froze watermelon slices, grapes, and sliced strawberries to put into lunchboxes so that everybody would have cool treats during the mid-day heat.
- Drink lots of water. I froze a gallon for my poor husband, toiling away at his construction job. He drank most of it and used the rest to dampen the bandanna he wears under his hard hat.
- Run the dishwasher after dark.
- Strategically place fans for maximum cross-ventilation.
- My kids like to soak bandannas and freeze them. Then they like to put them on and yelp. Once the bandannas become bearable, they use them to keep cool at bedtime.
- Early to bed and early to rise. We’ll take advantage of those fresh morning hours as much as possible.
The trade-off for the heat and oppressive humidity is the thick perfume of honeysuckle. (If only I had smell-o-vision so that I might share it with you!) Sadly, we have no honeysuckle on our own property- a situation that I hope to remedy- but there is plenty further down the road, and the sultry closeness of the air allows the sweet scent to travel through our open windows.
There is no substitute for awakening on summer mornings to the intoxicating smell of honeysuckle and the laughter of woodpeckers. Running the air conditioner, I would miss that.
Hermetically sealed in artificial coolness, I would miss how wonderful the cool morning air feels in comparison to the sticky hot of the night before. I would miss the happy trill of the Carolina Wrens nesting outside my window.
Soon, the babies they are hatching will learn to fly. It is a long and heart-stopping process. I would miss all that.
I don’t think I’ll miss the air conditioner, after all.