You can’t expect the weather … except … you really can. It’s unexpectedly hot around here. But it’s summer, so this unexpected heat wave was entirely expected and is completely normal.
The electric company apparently didn’t expect it and have gotten quite hysterical about the whole thing. You’d think it was their homeowner customers who created this emergency by our derelict over-usage of electricity. It’s not the mall which refrigerate the entire space to 65 degrees when it’s 100 outside. Oh no, never the commercial customers.
Meanwhile, it’s freaking HOT and the humidity is up there too. A couple of days ago with this weather visible on the map and the television meteorologists getting all excited, National Grid swung into action. It has been a pretty dull weather period, more notable for what isn’t happening (rain) than what is, namely muggy, gray days during which it looks like rain, but doesn’t.
National Grid started sending out (pardon the pun) heated warnings.
I got the first two via email, then two more via early morning robot calls.
Turn down your air conditioning to 78 degrees! Avoid high bills! Don’t stress our power grid. (Subtext: We need all the power to keep malls at 65 degrees. You homeowners are not big customers, so you can sit at home wheezing and sweating.)
If I turn the A/C to 78 degrees in this house, the humidity will turn our home into mold city.
In the spirit of coöperation — and in hopes of not getting an electric bill that will knock me off my feet — I turned it up to 75 degrees. This is an older house without central air. Just window A/C. and even that, not in every room. We don’t cool rooms we don’t use much. Which is, to put it mildly, not as efficient as we might wish. It’s all we’ve got and summer is short. Our A/C units are less than two years old, so this is as good as it will get here.
By the time evening rolled around, the house was disgusting. We were disgusted.
Sticky. Hot. Everything was damp, especially us. The dogs wouldn’t sleep on the sofas, preferring the hard floors where it’s cooler. They’ll go outside only if threatened. Even so, they were throwing us dirty looks which hadn’t been washed this century.
By nine in the evening, I looked at Garry and said “How hot are you?”
“Bad,” said Mr. I Love Summer. “How are you doing?”
“I’m miserable,” I said. “I was thinking — damn National Grid. I can’t breathe!” I have asthma. The humidity was making my lungs work a double shift.
I turned the air conditioning to a more breathable 73. After an hour, air returned to the house.
I’m betting the people who write electrical usage “guidelines” are not sitting and sweating in their houses. I bet they have central A/C set for their personal comfort. They are not sweating out the heat wave. I know power is an issue, but so is quality of life.
Flash message for guideline issuers: OLDER PEOPLE TOLERATE HEAT POORLY.
That’s right. You get older and your body is not as efficient at regulating core temperature as it was in youth. Those of us with other physical stuff, like arthritis, asthma and heart problems? Our ability to tolerate days of sitting in heat and humidity is dangerous to life and the continuation thereof.
I’m sure I’ll get the bill for this mad, crazy need to breathe. The bill alone might give me a stroke. Right now, I don’t care. I just want some air.