How the Un-Air-Conditioned Half Lives

Hey guys!  Did you know?  Have you heard?  IT’S FUCKING HOT!

Thank God we’re only red today and not pink. Because there’s such a difference between “balls hot” and “really balls hot”.

And nowhere is it hotter than in my house.  As I’ve mentioned before, we are one of the seven Americans left that doesn’t have air conditioning in their home.  Every year since we’ve moved in, we’ve said that we would use part of the tax return money to install central air.  And every year, by the time June rolls around and it’s hot as balls in our house, we realize that fuck, we forgot about central air and now the money’s all spent.  Every goddamn year.  The summers that I was pregnant were bad, and the summers with newborns in the house were exponentially worse.  Unfortunately, we’ve only been in the house for seven years, so that pretty much covers every summer we’ve lived here.  It’s tough being a breeder.

At any rate, for all you rich assholes enjoying your artificially cooled air, let me share with you a few of the unique challenges us backwards country folk deal with when living without air conditioning:

1.  Babies hate the heat:  Like I said, the summers with babies are the worst.  While Surrey is still relatively good-natured, she’s probably the least appreciative of this heatwave.  She is not a warm-weather person.  Nursing and naps are probably the worst.  Holding a sweaty naked baby up against your body for an hour or so while they nurse and nap is not good times.  The back of her hair is damp from sweat all day long.  She’s also the only baby I’ve ever seen that doesn’t mind sitting and playing about two feet in front of a fan.  Since she was born in the summer, I feel like we’ve been unfairly punished this time around by having to deal with two summers in a row with babies.

2.  One does not blindly reach into a sink full of dirty dishes: If it’s summertime, and you have every single window open, and the back door is being opened and closed 789796 times a day, bugs are going to enter your house.  Furthermore, if you have a big-ass rip in the screen of your back door that doubles as a doggie/kid door, and at least two windows with the screens completely pushed out, you most definitely have bugs in your house.  If you work full-time and don’t necessarily have the time to do the dishes every single day, the bugs that enter your house are most assuredly going to be flies.  Flies, in case you’ve forgotten, enjoy warm, moist places, preferably with old food, to, um, reproduce.  Meaning you better take a close look at that dirty bowl in the sink before you decide to pick it up and put it in the dishwasher.

3.  The expiration date for food has been dramatically sped up: This goes hand-in-hand with #1.  The window of time that you can allow food and drink to sit out in the open is now very small indeed.  Food should only be left out while actually preparing and eating it, plus maybe a fifteen-minute “Wait!  I wasn’t doneyet!” window.  After that, uneaten food should be tossed and leftovers stored.  Otherwise, you’re really just feeding the flies, which FUCK YOU, FLIES.  I can’t explain to you how much I hate flies.  Seriously, if someone offered me the choice of living in the same house as a colony of bees or one single fly that could live for years, I would double down on the bees.  At least the bees serve a purpose besides being gross, pointing out what a terrible housekeeper you are, and terrorizing you with suddenly buzzing right next to your fucking ear.

On top of the constant threat of bugs, the temperature alone is going to spoil things pretty quickly.  In the words of the great Ron Burgundy, milk is a bad choice.  I gave one of my kids a glass of milk last summer at 10:00 am, trusting that they would drink it immediately, like a normal human being.  I found the glass at 2:00 pm.  It had barely been touched, but had already solidified.  So, basically don’t let your kids walk away with any food item that you would be frightened to learn they had eaten eight hours later.

4.  Cold showers: they’re not just for teenage boys in PG-13 movies anymore: A cold shower is your reward for surviving an entire sweaty, cranky day with your kids.  When I’m at home with my kids in hot weather, I spend the entire day fantasizing about the cold shower I’m going to take once they go to bed.  I get really jealous of their bath, and am incredulous when they tell me the bath water is too cold.  Not possible.  When the inside of your house is ninety degrees, it’s not physically possible to run a bath that is too cold.

5.  Goodbye butter (and any other semi-solid substance): Did you know things melt in the heat, even if they’re not sitting outside?  It’s true!  Some of these things include the following: the stick of butter you have in the butter dish on the counter, that ice-filled glass of pop you poured ten seconds ago, and your daughter’s toothpaste.  That last one was a nice bedtime surprise.  We opened the top and it literally just poured onto her toothbrush.  “Mom, it tastes like water.”  Sorry, kid.  Add it to your list of topics to discuss with your therapist in twenty years.

6.  Clothes are optional: I’m not exaggerating when I say my kids have greeted me at the door naked every single day this week.  When getting dressing on my days off, I ask myself, “What’s the minimum amount of clothing required in order to still feel comfortable answering the door to a neighbor or delivery person?”  After dark, that question is replaced with, “What’s the minimum amount of clothing required to prevent essentials parts of my body from sticking to the furniture?”

7.  You’ll probably lose weight by the time the temperatures cool off: This is actually a bonus, in my opinion.  Since it’s so goddamn hot, and the last thing you want to do is stand in your hot kitchen and use that hot thing that makes food, the menu in your house is going to change.  Yeah, you can get pizza, but if your budget looks anything like mine, you can’t really do that more than one night a week.  It’s been hot all fucking week up in here.  So, yeah.  You either throw a bunch of food together, pop it in the oven and walk away until it’s finished, or start serving up PB&J and fruit several times a day.  What you’ll also find is that very often, when you’re hungry yourself and feeding the kids isn’t necessarily a consideration, you’ll choose keeping your ass parked in front of that box fan over making yourself food.  Being hot makes you hella thirsty for water, but doesn’t do much for your appetite. Hence, you lose weight with minimal effort.  In fact, thanks to the Heatwave Diet, I’ve lost two pounds this week!  GO HEAT!

8.  You’ll find out exactly how much time you have left with your current refrigerator: This is crunch time for your fridge.  The way it behaves under the stress of having to keep your food cold while operating inside the inferno that is now your kitchen will tell you how much time you have before it decides to quit on you.  I’ve been saying for years that in terms of appliance death, my money is on our refrigerator.  I just get a bad vibe from it.  However, it’s proven me wrong time and again, as other appliances bite the dust while it keeps chugging along.  This summer, though, may finally prove to be the refrigerator’s undoing.  I have that fucker cranked up to the highest settings, and the ice cream is still kind of soft when I take it out of the freezer after bathtime.  Not alarmingly soft; but soft enough to be disquieting to someone with exactly $-12 in their checking account.

There are still some people making it through the heat of the summer without air conditioning. Find out how these brave souls make it through the hottest parts of the year in this funny post!So live it up, you bourgeois bastards, because when the zombie apocalypse or Superflu finally arrives and wipes out electricity, we’ll be the well-adapted, sweaty saviors of the human race.

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24 Responses to How the Un-Air-Conditioned Half Lives

  1. I remember the Good Old Days without air conditioning. My parents thought it would spoil us to have it in our bedrooms, so there was a unit in their bedroom window & in the living room. The living room one couldn’t be turned on unless it was over 95 degrees or my father felt like turning it on.
    I’d lay so still I thought I was actually becoming a part of my mattress at night, just sweating.
    Good times.
    You might want to check out free cycle and get your asses a window unit. Because milk is actually kind of delicious.

  2. Oh holy crap, you’re hilarious. My air conditioner quit working last summer, so I know what this is like. Plus, I grew up in a trailer court (birth to age 21, thankyouverymuch), which means I know the tricks to surviving 110 degree heat while sleeping inside a metal box.

    Plus? You say fuck a lot, which I appreciate very much.

  3. Aimee says:

    This comment has been removed by the author.

  4. Aimee says:

    Ohmigod… I feel like such a douchebag for the blog post I just wrote. And, my BFF lives in a country that ends in “stan” and only has electricity for plusorminus 4 hours a day. Sheesh. Yeah. I totally feel like a bourgeois bastard. I don’t see how you do it. And keep your sense of humor on top of it all. I’m learning. Slowly learning what’s worth getting my blood pressure up over and what isn’t. Slowly. You’re my hero!

  5. Janel says:

    Kim: we may have a window unit on the way, hopefully soon. Hooray!

    Yvonne: it’s, like, my favorite word.

    Aimee: Naaaaah, you’re not the douchebag. We’re the dummies that keep wasting our money on dumb stuff like bills instead of necessities like central air. You keep on being awesome!

  6. Mandy says:

    That Was hilarious.

  7. Sara says:

    Sweet! I’m part of a very elite group–the seven families without air conditioning. 🙂 I can’t complain too much, though. We live in the northwest and haven’t been hit by the killer heat…yet. And our current house was built in the late 1940s, and seems to have been designed to withstand summer heat. It has deep soffits, air circulation vents, and great shade trees. BUT it’s a brick house, and once this mofo gets hot, it takes forever to cool down.

  8. Janel says:

    Sara — it’s an elite club! Glad you’ve been spared a tour through Satan’s backyard. It’s pretty wretched, but in contrast, I’ve heard that the Pacific Northwest is basically awesome weather-wise all year round. I’m a bit jealous, I admit. I’m the only Michigander who doesn’t use the phrase, “But I would miss the seasons!” when they discuss moving to a more pleasant climate.

  9. Molly says:

    I don’t have air-conditioning, either. Actually, my apartment has one in the window but my electricity bill goes up so much if I use it for just one day– I don’t bother. So, basically, when I am home– I sit around and sweat. Also, my coconut oil is always in it’s liquid form– BONUS.

  10. Molly says:

    This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

  11. Janel says:

    Bright side! I’m actually heartened by the number of people who have admitted to not having air conditioning of any kind. I feel like less of a dummy for never getting around to doing something about it. We can’t ALL be dummies, right?

  12. i too hate flies. with in the ugliest hate there is. ants are also on my shit list. you’re fucking hilarious.

  13. This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

  14. Janel says:

    Thanks! It’s hard to explain how deep my hatred runs for flies, but I’m glad you understood. 🙂

  15. Mama D says:

    Ahh! We are the same, every summer we vow to use our next tax return on an AC unit or two, but every year, we are stuck in the middle of July saying, “Oh fuuuuuck.”

    Cooking in this weather is a form of torture, I am so fucking sure of it.

  16. Janel says:

    It’s definitely an indication that we did something terribly wrong in a past life. Or within the past five years.

  17. Arnebya says:

    So after reading the comments I can say no, there are at least 9 or 10 of us! Ha!

    We too sweat it out and look at people incredulously when they ask all amazed how we make out in all this heat. We just fucking make out. Drink some water, suck some ice that you better pop in your mouth in less than 10 seconds or that bitch’ll melt in your hand/cup/napkin/why’re you using a napking for the ice, child, make some sense! I will admit that we do have a window unit (for our three level hot ass house) BUT it has got to get to the point of the devil coming in saying you bastards are crazy, I’m leaving, before we’ll put it in. Tank tops and drawers, that’s how we roll. Say hi to the mail lady; she’s used to it.

    Yes, we get cranky, and it’s no fun to be drunk in the heat, using liquor to ward off the crankiness (although it does help you pass out faster), but for the most part we just suck it up and say a fuck you to the electric company who so doesn’t need anymore of our money.

    I will admit it gets to me sometimes. When it’s 100 out, 92 in the house, yeah, I want to turn it on because I will forget and get up too fast from the leather couch and every bit of skin from ankleback to underbutt feels like it just ripped off. But then I say nah, let’s run through the sprinkler (which is actually just the hose set to spray because GHETTO INNOVATIONS).

    The kids complain, their friends all have air, no one wants to come to our house because they may as well be outside. Uh huh. My plan to keep others’ kids I probably don’t like out is working. Now move, you’re blocking the fan.

  18. Janel says:

    Tank tops and drawers, indeed. And yes, unintended bright side: no neighbor kids want to come to our house! BRILLIANT.

  19. Jenn says:

    I grew up with no a/c. I would dump the watering can over my head to cool off. My mother STILL doesn’t, and now I have to check in on her a couple time a week to make sure she’s alive. We have window units, but I don’t turn them on until it hits about 80 or 82 inside. Central air is too fancy-pants for me.

  20. Janel says:

    We just got a wall unit last week, and I officially feel like a sellout.

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