Tuesday, August 30, 2005

The Whole is Hotter Than the Sum...

The heat here is tremendous. And by “tremendous” I mean: absolutely fucking awful. It’s old-folks-death hot down here. That means that my air conditioner has been running like New Orleans water pumps for the past month. Which leads to budget-blowing electricity bills. Which then ends up with Craig pulling out his hair because his bill is astronomical, yet he still sweats like a slave when he sleeps. What. The. Fuck?

There are multiple problems that are contributing to this issue. None of them are in and of themselves ruinous in terms of ambient home temperature, but they all join forces like the fucking Voltron of hell-heat and cook my crib. A Reese’s Peanut Butter cup MELTED on my kitchen counter last night. It’s so badass… I just… fuck. It’s not good in any way.

Here's my list of fabulous contributors to the ruinous crib-heat:

Shitty windows. Man, I cannot stress enough the importance of avoiding two-bit window panes and frames. This aluminum, no seal bullshit with rice-paper-thin glass on the market today is just plain garbage. I can feel the heat pouring in all around the opening, like an open oven. I already caulked and sealed the edges, but there’s nothing I can do for the frame structure itself. ‘Tis hopeless, unless replaced. Damnit. I am considering thick-ass drapes to just block that shit out entirely. That or a wall of bricks. Fuckin’ windows.

Crooked door frames. Either my back door, or its frame, is rhomboid in shape. That means I have great seams all around it. At the base, you can see daylight peeping through. It’s awesome. The bugs LOVE it until they get inside, realize it’s magically HOTTER indoors, and subsequently die where my girlfriend can get upset at seeing their up-ended carcasses in the kitchen. It’s super sweet. Like eating an old tennis ball.

Hot-ass lighting. Light bulbs, whether anyone registers it or not, emit heat. For serious? For serious! That’s why northerners will place a plugged-in bulb on top of their car batteries over night, during the winter. To keep the battery heated, so it won’t die. So having lights on at the crib is like having little heaters going, all over the place. So I’m switching to low-watt bulbs and stumbling around in the dark more often. Good times.

Electronic shit. All electronics produce heat. VCRs, TVs, computers, microwaves (no shit Craig? Yes, no shit!), alarm clocks, battery chargers, blah-blah-blah. Just like the lights, these are little heaters, spread all over the place. The more you have, the more heat is produced. And if you cluster these things (entertainment center), you have a full-blown space-heater in your crib. Might as well be a fireplace. So I unplug that shit when it isn’t in use.

Cooking. NOTHING heats up a crib faster than boiling some water on the stove while baking a cake. The humid, hot air created by that process is mad-intense. If you are like me, and do not have a real stove hood (mine sucks the air from the stove top and exhausts it to the ceiling, not to an outdoor vent. It’s brilliant), then the heat created by cooking just kicks it with you. Your whole place becomes a broiler. There is nothing that can be done about this within reason. Sure, you could cut a hole in your roof and install a vent yourself (good luck with that) or just stop cooking altogether. Just eat cold cuts and hot dogs fresh from the package. Life would be bad either way.

Showering with any degree of heat. This is a given. I remember when I stayed with friends in New Orleans (bless the souls of that city) a few years back, in an apartment with NO air conditioning, in 100+ heat… fucking miserable. We only took cold showers. Cold water to wash dishes. Cold-cold-cold. If they had a hot water heater, we never used it. Fuck that. But even at my crib, a mildly cool shower produces enough heat and humidity to make the house unbearable for a few hours. It gets mighty tropical in there. Rather nasty and sticky. Almost impossible to sleep in.

Alright. Enough crying. I’m done with this topic. Just had to vent for a minute or two. Any suggestions would be much appreciated. Any tricks of the trade you may know, or whatever. “I’d piss on a sparkplug if I thought it’d do any good”…


Anonymous said...

You could do like those conspiracy theorists and put aluminum foil on your windows. To block out the heat producing mind control rays, of course. You know, I read this article where they said that transmitted mind control rays can heat your home up by as much as 4 degrees (F). At our old crib, we used to stuff rags and towels in the cracks where the doors were not square. Remember our front door, the cat used to come in and out through the gap between the door and the floor. I'll think of more later...

firedancerdancin said...

at the casa de K and M, we too have had astronomical electric bills. OUT. OF. CONTROL.

We have decided we need to get the hole in the attic patched and perhaps some new insulation---and even a replacement for our crazy old thermostat that says it's 71 degrees when it's actually 82 degrees.

I have also taken to keeping as many blinds closed during the day as possible and being a cave-dweller....although that's not as good on the psyche as previously hoped.

damn tejas. first the gas prices, then the electric prices, and then they add the damn emissions testing. i'm getting my car inspected tomorrow and tejas can kiss my arse for another year.

Anonymous said...

I agree with Vance about the aluminum foil. Ghetto, but it works wonders. I swapped out the incandescent bulbs to the florescent variety. Takes a while to warm up to full brightness, but savings here and there I guess.
Down here it's not any better. Sweltering.

brother nick.

Girl With An Alibi said...

I had a similar experience when I stayed in Philadelphia one summer. Here's what worked for us....

1. See alot of movies... theaters have air conditioners.
2. Work at your local gym... gyms have air conditioners and sometimes pools.
3. Eat out at nice restaurants... they have A/C too.
4. When you finally must come home to sleep, position an electric fan at your bedside, take a tee shirt and underwear and run it under cold water. Put on the wet clothes and then jump in bed and let the fan and cold wet clothes create your own personal A/C. then pray you fall asleep before your clothes dry.
5. Also place a glass packed full of ice by your bedside. When you wake up sweaty and parched half way through the night you should have a nice glass of cool water within arms reach.

I have used every single one of these and they work. Have fun.

Anonymous said...

Aluminum foil and heavy drapes let the heat in still, ya gotta stop it b4 it hits glass. Solar window screens help a lot. I've known people to install those rolling plastic shades on the outside of their house to keep the sun from hitting windows, but only good if you don't mind seeing a big blank blind out the window, or going outside when you want to see if it's cloudy. May not be a bad idea depending on your view? Hell, you could paint Playa on the viewig side! White ones still let a sun-ish glow through.
Also, good for armchair or bed - fan blowing over a big bowl of ice straight at you.
Truth or legend - drinking iced beverages makes you warmer because your body has to use energy to heat the liquid for you to digest it...
Did you hear, next week it might be below 98 for a few days - yippfreakineeeeeee


OKAY, OKAY i know this isn't going to sound like a good idea, but just here me out. I FUCKING HATE HEAT - BUT in the last year or so, i have been doing alot of hot yoga (105-110 degree room). WELL since i have been doing that, and remember i live in Houston, much hotter that A town - it doesn't phase me as much, this is pure honesty - not to say i wouldn't move to the North if someone asked me...in a heartbeat. BUT hey it is a good temporary fix and at the same time you can strengthen the body and look absofuckinglutly fantastic.

Sara said...

Where we are in the desert here, and in trailers, we all have swamp coolers. I guess it's the lower humidity here. But when it does get humid, and it does sometimes, swamp coolers do NOTHING. But I knew some guys who used to put dry ice in their swamp cooler. That could work.
I didn't have any kind of cooler or AC for years and I often would put a (clean, sometimes wet and sometimes dry) sheet in the freezer in the morning and then use it at night. That helps too, especially if you have a fan.

Truecraig said...

FANTASTIC recommendations! I’m totally cool with the mind control rays. Everyone can blame all my idiocy on someone else for a change. My neighbor does the aluminum foil thing, and it kinda creeps me out, so I’ll pass on that one. I can’t fit a swamp cooler anywhere in, on, or within any legal distance of my property. I would have done that already. We had those in Houston too, and even though it was tropical there, they still worked. I like the freezing sheets idea. That’s effin’ creative. I also like the wet-clothes-with-fan thing. That’s sweeeeeeet. Knowing me, I’d soak my shit and it would just get all swampy in my room. Nice. Yoga sounds like a way to COPE with the heat, not beat it. I don’t want to get accustomed to this shit. I want to DESTROY it. With an iron, iced, fist of comfort.

I really appreciate the ideas. Keep ‘em coming, and feel free to share amongst yo’selves.

Debbie said...

That's hot, yo. HOT!

I lived through one heat wave in Toronto, moved to Montreal in time to catch the heat waves here. I didn't complain because the winter here will bite me in the tail.

I'm sure the heat here could not compare with what's happening in Austin.

I say, eat only salad and head to the movies.

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