Copyright 2002 Linda Marcas - All Rights Reserved

Crank's Corner

                                                    Heat Exhaustion

     The heat index today is hovering at around 100 degrees; I'm sitting quietly in a dark, air-conditioned room,
wearing loose, lightweight clothing, not having a hot flash at the moment, and I'm still way too warm.  Ordinarily,
I'd take this in stride as part of the usual summer weather in the Great Black Swamp, along with thunderstorms,
drought, and the occasional cold snap, but this year it's been too hot for too long, and I'm tired of it.

     Our main living room faces west, and gets all of the afternoon sun.  Once the bricks of the building heat up,
they tend to stay that way, even after the sun goes down.  They've stayed a little cooler since hubby painted the
place white a couple years ago, but this year our main air conditioner decided to go on strike.  It runs, and
pretends to blow out cool air, but it's not really doing the trick because it probably needs to be re-charged with
coolant.  A friend had given us another big old A/C, so hubby installed it in one of the living room windows.  He
tested it first to make sure that it ran; it fooled him into thinking it didn't have the same low-coolant problem as the
first A/C, but it does.  Or maybe it just decided to go on strike, too.

     We have curtains, solar film and plastic blinds on the front windows; I added some experimental panels of
strung-together CDs, hung shiny side out, in an effort to block some of the sunlight and heat.  Right now it's 89
degrees in the front room, and, unless I carry the dishes to another sink to wash them, they're just going to keep
piling up in the sink until it cools down enough that I can bear to go up front and wash them.

     We've been hiding in the rear section of our home, where three small window unit air conditioners manage to
keep the temp at 80 or a bit below, depending upon which room one happens to be in at any given moment.  
We've been sleeping in the guest rooms, because our master bedroom is in the front section where the A/C isn't
working, and spending our evenings watching TV in the Red Room, which has a table, a sink, a refrigerator, and a
fold-down futon sofa bed, but no stove.  Of course, we've been living on salads, cold sandwiches, and take-out

     I don't want to cart the dishes back to the Red Room to wash them, because that will create heat and humidity
in a room that is hovering at a bearable temperature.  Likewise, I've been avoiding washing clothes, because the
washer is in a "cool zone," too, and I just can't bring myself to wash clothes in cold water.  I'm used to not running
the dryer during the summer, because it's on the same circuit as the main A/C, and a big fuse will blow if both get
turned on at the same time.  I ran the vacuum cleaner today, briefly, and was amazed at the amount of hot exhaust
it emitted.  Light bulbs, televisions, stereo equipment, even fan motors..........everything seems like a heat source,
and I go around turning things off, even if I'm going to be back in the room in two minutes.  I won't even let the dog
breathe on my leg.

     We could carry on this way indefinitely, or at least until the weather breaks into a cooler streak, but we have
house guests coming tomorrow.  We'll give them the guest rooms, and we'll sleep either in the Red Room or on the
bed in my workshop, if I somehow manage to un-bury it from the trays of buttons and beads and bags of papers
and hunks of wire and Halloween costumes and broken ceramics awaiting repair and books and boxes and
shipping envelopes and sheet metal and all the other junk I've been piling on it for a year or so now, since the last
time we used it as a bed.  I'll have to wash the dishes and the guest room sheets before they get here, and merely
thinking about that much hot water and activity has caused me to break a sweat!

     Despite the air conditioning, I haven't been sleeping well in the guest room.  The ceiling fan makes irregular
ticking noises and froglike groans, the bed feels like a giant heating pad, the 40-watt bulb in the reading lamp
seems like a blowtorch, my nightgown gets twisted from tossing and turning, and fluffing my pillow and turning it
over for a cooler side provides less than 30 seconds of comfort.  I'm glad that hubby just came home and told me
that the A/C repairman will be here the day after tomorrow; I've been too hot for too long.  I have heat exhaustion,
and I want some rest.