Right now, it is 86 degrees inside of our house.
You might be asking why. That is a very good question.
It started about a month ago when things started heating up. For some reason, we never turned the air conditioner on. Instead, we threw open the windows after what felt like a long, long, very long winter, and kept the air off.
A week went by, and the temperature in the house hovered around 76 degrees. At first it was uncomfortable, but then after a few days we were either too busy or spent too little time at home to even mind. After about a week or two we didn’t even notice anymore. And finally when the temperature rises above 76 it didn’t even matter. Hot is hot and if it’s going to be 76 it might as well be 86 because it’s all the same.
Thus far, we’ve made it halfway through June with no air. At this point, it has become a battle of how long can we keep this going. Could we make it the whole summer with no air? How hot would things get before we finally gave up? Hot. Because you should not tempt two triathletes with a dare. Not even a double triple hotty hot dog dare. We’ll go all the way. Oh, we’re going full tilt into this thing and we are not giving up.
And full tilt it is. This week it has been above 80 in here every single day. And that’s just downstairs. Upstairs is at least 5 degrees hotter. Any combination of the dishwasher, dryer, or closed door turns the temperature up even more. And perchance you are brave enough to take a hot shower good luck because we’re talking potential heatstroke on the bathroom floor.
This morning, when the thermostat read a balmy, sticky 82 degrees, when the air hung so thick I could see it collecting by the stairs, I started to crack. In a moment of early morning weakness I said to Chris ”it is almost getting too hot in here.” I looked at him for an escape. He had a questionable look in his eyes as if the discomfort of the heat would be no match for the discomfort of giving something up. His eyes shouted but we’ve gone so far if we give up now it will be a metaphor for everything else we attempt this summer. Honestly, I wish he would just shut his eyes so I wouldn’t have to hear all that, and I could just turn the damn air conditioner on.
But if he can do it, if Chris can last it out, so can I. Not only that, but I’ll top him. This is a highly competitive household. So, I’m sitting here drinking a piping hot mug of coffee. And inside my body is about 112 degrees. I’m even starting to envision my coffee on ice. I will say that again – I just said COFFEE and ICE in the same sentence. Someone slap me with a hot towel. Slap me hard.
Whatever. Fine. We’ll keep the air off. And until autumn we will just view this as an opportunity to recalculate our sweat rate every single day. Our only challenge for day to day survival will be in determining some way to replace all the lost electrolytes. We will live like jungle apes and stink like monkeys. Our home will turn into a sweat box of smelly mange. And while we’re at it, let’s just poop in the corner and go completely jungle fever heat wild.
During the day, we can’t even tell. We’re not home much and there is no point in cooling a house when you’re not there. But at night - each night in the house feels like a night of camping on Ragbrai. Except we’re not in a tent, and we’re not outdoors. And there is no beer garden. And no loud drunk people walking by my tent all night long. Plus Tim isn’t trying to barge in to naked steamroll me. I’ll tell you what, though, this whole how long can Liz survive the heat experiment would be a whole lot more fun if a bunch of drunk people would walk through our house or if Tim showed up naked from time to time. At least I’d laugh a little more.
Because there is nothing really all that funny about the heat. Except for the voice inside my head that is now laughing at myself for even wanting to try to outlast it. Or wanting to make life so miserable for the next few months. Why can’t I just be like the millions of other comfort seeking creatures that sit in their houses cooled to a refreshing 72 degrees all summer long? Why?
Because I’m also going to do Ironman. Which means all sense of rationality, logic, and hope left my body last Sunday around 12:30 pm when I crossed the Eagleman finish line. So now I will suffer all summer long with a rash of crazy, uncomfortable, hard core behavior like riding my bike 7 hours, or shopping for sports nutrition bars on Friday nights, or running 22 miles on the path in a long sleeved black shirt in the middle of the day.
Every night in our home, the windows are wide open and the fan moves what little air there is around the bed. All night long, the neighbor’s air conditioner kicks on. I am convinced she is either made of ice or is harboring the devil who gets easily overheated. The darn thing has been running since April. April?
Aside from that, my only other complaint with this whole life in a hot box is the birds. I see no reason why they need to be chirping at 4:48 am. Give it a rest. I get the point. I GET THE FREAKIN’ POINT. You’re up before me and you are going to get the worm.
So each morning when I wake up at 4:52 am (chirp chirp), I get ready for work. I must carefully pick my clothes because if I overdress for just a minute in the house after taking a shower I fear I will have to go through the whole showering process again. So I dress (appropriately) for the season in a skirt and no sleeves.
But this seasonal attire has not really worked out too well. The other day at work I sat in a meeting and nearly died. Frozen to death. The room had to be about 65 degrees. Unbearably cold. I was goose pimply, shaking, and when it came my turn to talk my mouth was almost too cold to make words. When I looked around, I noticed every one else was wearing long sleeves and pants. In the middle of June. When it was 90 degrees outside.
And I got to think how inefficient that was. It’s not their fault – no – but it is the fault that we have grown so accustomed to keeping our indoors so cold. I was reading an article the other day about some city in Canada where they have proposed to make every day causal work wear day in an effort to cut down on cooling costs. Canada is so much smarter than us. Really. It makes perfect sense – if you actually dress like the season you might actually adapt to the season.
Or you might adapt to what life is like in Hawaii. I believe part of this keeping the house hot thing has to do now with our October trip to Hawaii. You see, I would like to believe I will have no problem running in 1000 degrees if I have lived in it all summer long. Last summer I gave this a good try by overdressing on the run or driving without air. But if I’m going to step it up this year, I’m going to have to step up my level of discomfort too. I am going to have to commit to this heat thing full-time. And come hell or high temperatures around our home, the air is staying off.
And Chris isn’t giving in either. In fact, I think he’s trying even harder not to give in because if I can do it so can he. Yes, things are heating up around our house – and it’s not just the air temperature. Now that we’re both going to Hawaii, the competition is also at an all time high.
Just the other day, in a heated moment – right now, they are all heated moments in our house which you can either find very sexy (no), very sweaty (sometimes), or very dumb (yes! yes! that’s the word!) – he came up to me and said “I will not be outrun by you in Hawaii.”
To which I replied, “I am so going to outrun your corn chipped ass.”
“I’ll swim right over you.”
“I’ll throw my bottles at you on the bike.”
“I’ll empty your special needs bag the night before.”
“I’ll tell them you have special needs.”
Ah yes, it going to be a long, hot summer in our house. A heat wave of sizzle and sass is moving through and it’s going to be very long indeed. Not to mention no air.