Wednesday, August 04, 2010

Air Conditioning or Fresh Air - a choice

I have a love/hate relationship with air conditioning.  I'm not a fan at all of recycled air.  I don't like that it's processed through chemicals to keep it cool, I don't like that I have to keep the windows shut, I don't like that it seals out the world while cooling my living space.

Now, on the flip side, I LOVE that it brings the temperature to a beautiful place for me.  I sleep better when it's cool, I love that it draws the moisture out of the air so I'm not dripping every time I move and I love the feeling of relief when I move into an air conditioned space.

When we were growing up, we lived in parsonages owned by churches.  We didn't have central air in a home until they built the new parsonage in Sigourney - we moved into that house in 1977.  It wasn't until the late 60s that we even had a window air conditioner and of course Mom and Dad believed it should be in their bedroom.

In the first parsonage in Sigourney (1971-1977), there was a window unit on the main level and the one Dad put in the upper level was in a window back by their bedroom.  I remember many nights in the summertime, plastering myself against the screen in my bedroom trying to get any semblance of breeze that might be flowing so that I could sleep.  Mom wasn't terribly comfortable with that since my room faced the square, but oh well!!  If you remember seeing a girl's face pressed against the screen - that was me. 

And we all remember flipping our pillows to the cool side.  It was never a good sign when you flipped it so quickly that the pillow hadn't had a chance to cool down at all.

Our vehicles weren't air conditioned (Dad wasn't about to spend the extra $500).  When I bought my first car, the salesman told me that I had a choice between air conditioning and a nice stereo system.  Guess what this girl chose - oh yah ... the stereo.  It wasn't even that great.  Fortunately I was moving to northwest Iowa and hoped that the summers wouldn't simply kill me. 

Ok ... it did try to kill me, though.  One summer I ended up as a counselor for a summer camp at Okoboji.  The entire week it was over 100 degrees.  Every morning I would take a cold shower to bring myself to a state of alertness and every afternoon I'd be back in the shower trying to cool off.  One more before I went to bed and I'd do my best to sleep.  When they asked if I would do it the next year, I just laughed at them.  Nope, not that stupid.

There is something strange here at the cabin in the (close to the) woods.  I find that I am able to tolerate a much higher temperature.  The inside temps hover around 87 by early evening and I'm perfectly comfortable.  Were I in the city, surrounded by all that asphalt and all those buildings, I would be screaming crazy from the heat.

I love having fresh air moving around me; a couple of fans during the night and the early morning, a dehumidifier to draw the moisture out of the air when I close up the place and I'm in great shape.  It's amazing how little I need to have the place absolutely freezing. 

There are a lot of these things in our lives, aren't there!  Things we love because they make our lives more comfortable yet we wish we didn't need them.  And my goodness we freak out when they break down!  I can't tell you the number of summers that I had to spend waiting for an air conditioning unit to be repaired.  And a couple of years ago, when it was finally replaced, I thought I was going to lose my mind in the heat. So, I'll continue my love/hate relationship with my air conditioners and just be glad I have them to love and to hate.

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