Friday, August 27, 2010


How do you know if your mind is preoccupied?

When you notice you've poured your orange juice in your cereal bowl instead of the glass.

That was my first clue on a recent day filled with the expected and unexpected. I've been quietly empathetic with the fact so much of the country has been experiencing unusually hot weather this summer while we've had a cooler summer than ordinary in Southern California. Yeah, there was a little bit of me that was feeling sorta smug about our nice weather -- a feeling that should have signaled me I was in for retribution for allowing even an eensy weensy thought like that to enter my mind.

Sure enough, the previous night I had noticed the house beginning to feel warm, though the air conditioner was running. The thermometer confirmed a high temperature greatly exceeding the thermostat setting. My check of a wall register revealed warm air flow instead of cold indicating A/C malfunction. I was awake the rest of the night ready to phone in my SOS to the A/C repair magicians soon after daylight seeped though my bedroom windows. The call was made with my plea for help duly recorded by the A/C group’s automated machine, giving me hope my service would be added to their technicians schedule for that day. Just to be certain my message had been noted by staff I phoned again when the office was open. I was disappointed to be told no one had noted my call and all service calls had long been scheduled, not only for that day, but at least through the end of the week.

I was desperate because we were in the midst of an excessive heat alert with temperatures well into three digits coupled with high humidity. I recalled when my husband was living that due to his medical problems he rightfully was automatically given special service during power cutbacks for certain medical and appliance malfunctions. I benefited as a household member, but I’ve believed I was no longer in need of such special considerations and have not requested any. On this occasion I decided to “play the age card.” I stated my age, adding that unfortunately, my body no longer tolerated extreme temperatures and heat as when I was younger. I reported I hadn’t been able to sleep at all the night before and inquired again whether they could possibly provide service sooner. I was asked to “hold” while another person was consulted. The resultant message was my A/C unit would receive service the next day.

The rest of the day the house interior gradually heated up. I managed to get a few “glowing” soaked hours of sleep during a few intervals throughout the day. In case you didn’t know, “horses sweat, men perspire and women glow,” as I recall a saying from my mother's horse and buggy days. I was surprised to be feeling much too listless to leave the house to go to an air conditioned movie theater as the day before I had thought I might. The night’s cooling air failed to infiltrate sufficiently throughout my home, so despite a fan focused on me I experienced more erratic sleeping hours. The A/C thermometer indicated numbers just below three digits, so I stopped checking it.

Here's jazz vocalist Ella Fitzgerald singing "We're Having A Heat Wave" with accompanying photos of her and Marilyn Monroe who many think generates heat of her own.

After another heat-filled night, during which I had little sleep, when morning arrived I was amazed to discover my strength seemed to be sapped. I came to understand first hand what my mother had meant years ago during her older years when she would say, “The heat tires me.” I rotated my morning activities of personal care and dressing with lying down on the bed. Later preparing breakfast alternated with resting in the recliner while I ricocheted back and forth to stand before the refreshing electric table fan blown breezes.

Clearly I needed to activate Plan B. My mind plotted how I would spend my day and evening in air conditioned comfort at various locales. Just then my thoughts were interrupted by a welcomed phone call reporting my home was next on the A/C service list. An hour or so later one of the A/C dealer company owners from whom we had purchased our unit many years ago arrived to diagnose the problem. Seems a “capacitor had blown” which he reported was happening to other unit types, too, during this heat onslaught. He replaced the capacitor which was relatively inexpensive, costing less than the labor, as is so often the case with mechanized, electronic and digitized products today. The total cost was reasonable and worth every penny to me as the welcomed cooling air circulated throughout my home.

Now I can keep my mind on whatever I might be doing. I’m confident my breakfast beverage will no longer occupy my cereal bowl since I can’t really imagine microwaving my oatmeal in orange juice. Still – maybe I should try it.


  1. I'm glad they responded to your call and I'm glad that you played the age card. Sometimes you just have to! I know full well how the heat can tire you. I used to love high temps. but this year, they have sapped my energy on more than one occasion.

    We have had 3 new capacitors in the last 3 months, so I hope yours is better quality than the ones our service company bought. The third time, he put in a different type, so we hope this one will give years of service rather than a month!!

  2. Kenju: Oh, wow! Hope your capacitor holds up -- three! -- that's incredible. Sure hope the one installed in my A/C lasts a long time. Didn't think to ask about its life expectancy. I'll find out, won't I-- just hope it's not the hard way.

  3. Glad you weathered the crisis well!! Playing the age card isn't a bad thing if you need it.
    I think we need to yank it out now and then if something poses a threat to our health and well-being.

  4. I'm glad you got service! And, I agree with Judy and Kay...You do whatever you have to do---and playing the age card, as you put it, is a very real an honest thing to do.

  5. I am so glad your problem was fixed JoAnn...there's no time to fool around in a heat alert with high humidity. It tires out everyone. I don't do well in extreme heat anymore...that's why I love cooler weather so much more. When my air-conditioning unit stopped working in my bedroom, my son and I were out the door right away to find me a new one. I've learned you do whatever you have to do for your comfort and your health. The hot weather will soon be gone ; but until then...stay cool. ~Joy

  6. old bodies do not adapt to extreme tempertures and you were right to use the age card. I'm glad you can keep cool now. I am living on borrowed time with my AC because it is 30 years old. I know the heat pump will go out on the coldest or hottest day of the year. I will use the age card when it does.