At work, I have the wonderful blessing of sitting right under an air vent, and of course, air conditioning pours down upon me every minute of every day at work. I have sat at that same desk for several months now, and although I expected to get used to the air conditioning, that, sadly, has not happened. I am still just as miserable because of that air conditioning as I was on the first day that I moved to that desk! To cope with the air conditioning, I make sure that I always bring a jacket and a blanket with me to work. In case I forget, I actually have a sweater stored in my desk as an emergency backup. In addition to that, I have a small space heater under my desk that I keep running pretty much all day, except when I go on break. My space heater at one point was considered contraband because management sent out an email banning all space heaters and electric blankets! I could not give up my space heater, though, so I just made sure to put my space heater away whenever I left my desk, and to only use it when absolutely necessary. One day, my boss came over to my desk on a day that I was not using my space heater. He was shocked by how cold it was when the air conditioning was on! I sheepishly admitted that I used a space heater to cope with the air conditioning, and he gave me permission to use it from that day forward!
Last week, my sister and I went house-hunting. It was quite an interesting experience. I have never been involved in the house buying process. Finding an apartment to rent for twelve months is completely different than buying a house to last twenty years! To make things worse, my husband is currently deployed, so I have been handling most of this process on my own. Our wishes are not too absurd: we just need a house with four bedrooms and two bathrooms, with a yard and good-sized bathrooms. We do not need an open concept, wood floors, giant rooms, or perfect paint colors! One house that my sister and I looked at seemed very promising, and it had the things on our wish list, along with a large bonus room at the back of the house that looked like it would be a perfect spot for a playroom for the kids. Upon closer inspection, though, I noticed that the bonus room was very warm, and I could not feel any air conditioning, even though I definitely felt air conditioning as we were walking through the rest of the house. As I looked around the bonus room, I realized that I could not see any air vents, either. I began to think that this bonus room was an addition to the main house, and was therefore not hooked up to the main HVAC system and ductwork. I checked the windows, and I did not see even a window air conditioning unit! I marked that house off our list; having air conditioning in all rooms is essential!
After almost three years of teaching, I have discovered that my students could care less about my bulletin boards in my classroom unless they are somewhat interaction-based. A bulletin board with a cute cartoon character and phrase? I might as well have just put up a blank sheet of paper on the wall. Coming up with interactive bulletin boards is a little bit harder, but I am willing to put forth the effort to keep my students engaged. This month, I decided to stick with the Thanksgiving theme and have them all write a paragraph about things for which they are thankful. I passed out the cards and collected them last weekend, but did not have time to read them until today. Along with all of the cards mentioning typical things like family, friends, and food, I came across one that mentioned air conditioning. One of my students (my favorite, if I’m allowed to have one) wrote that he was thankful for air conditioning because he is warm-natured, so he uses it all the time. In the car on the way to school, his parents let him control the thermostat in their car, and he loves to keep the car at an ideal temperature to keep everyone comfortable. His paragraph about air conditioning was well-explained, with perfect spelling and grammar. He even used a semicolon properly! I was so amused to read his paragraph about air conditioning, but the more I thought about it, the more thankful I became for air conditioning too! I am sure that I, too, could write at least a few paragraph about why air conditioning is so amazing!
There was a time during my youth when I studied abroad and I lived in a magnificent old city that was so much unlike anything you would ever come across here in our country. I choose not to mention the name of the city or the country because the separation and corresponding longing simply hurt too much. I am a nostalgic individual and my heart weeps at my long lost paradise. I originally hoped to move there, but my unfortunately I was unable to actualize this dream. So I figured why not just make my own little version of paradise right here in the states? I opened my old-world scone shop two years ago and it has been lovely. The HVAC system has actually been almost more important than the scones themselves. You see, climate control was central to my concept as I wanted to simulate an outdoor cafe. Here however, air conditioning is absolutely necessary if you are trying to enjoy a scone. To match my indoor air quality and temperatures to that of the old city I miss so much, I had to have a special HVAC system designed specifically for my space. Then, in addition to this fantastic climate control wonder, I had my artist friend paint the walls and ceiling to complete the simulation. As the air conditioner cranks out that fresh air I miss so much, the lifelike scenery seals the deal. The thermostat usually needs to be set around 65 degrees. To accomplish this, the A/C system works hard. Some guests find it too cool, so we offer complimentary sweaters at the door.
When you spend most of your time on the road for work like I do, simple comforts that other people take for granted can seem like magic. For example, you know when you come home from work and you get a wave of that comforting, familiar smell that only your house has? Well, that is something road warriors such as myself never get to experience. Even something as simple as a favorite recliner to read a book from, is completely foreign to me. Every night brings a different room, a different bed, and so on. The motel rooms never quite feel like home. Recently, my company had to make some budget cuts and unfortunately hotel funds were decreased. So now, things like broken A/C window units are things I can expect on a weekly basis. The cheap hotels simply don’t put climate control on the top of their priorities list. They only worry about what you can see in photos and indoor air quality is not one of those things. As long as the brochure looks nice, right? Well air conditioning is one of my top priorities. I simply cannot relax in a stuffy room. In order to unwind, the HVAC equipment wherever I am staying has to be on point. In fact, I would go so far as to say that climate control is essential to getting any sleep at all. Put that in context of driving constantly and air conditioning becomes an essential aspect of survival. Therefore you can see how this HVAC factor makes me feel completely uncomfortable with my job.
The oldest living member of my family is my great grandfather, who has somehow managed to reach the astonishing age of 105 years. In all honesty, it does not seem like he will be leaving us any time soon either. Sure his knees give him trouble and he is no longer the most mobile person, but otherwise he seems to be very healthy. The greatest thing is that he is still sharp as a tack mentally. Every time I see him we talk for hours and of course he has the greatest stories. When you have lived for such a long time, you have experienced an unimaginable amount. Last week he told me about his childhood home in the mountains. The fireplace seemed to be his fondest and most vivid memory. Imagine, the only source of heating in the entire house was a single wood burning fireplace located at the center of the house. The whole family would gather around it. Nowadays, HVAC systems are kind of just behind the scenes and taken for granted. At least to most, the climate control system is not something they need to think about. Normally, as in my case, the heating and cooling system is the burden of one person, the homeowner. Back then, the fireplace was a source of entertainment and comfort beyond the simple, though necessary function of heating the house. Everybody who was able, helped cut wood. Even that, just as the evening fireplace gatherings, was a family activity. In a way, back then, heating the house was a central bonding activity for the family.
I sure got a tough work out the other day! My lawnmower had been broken for close to 3 weeks, so my lawn was “waving” at me, to say the least. It actually looked like a miniature jungle. I was finally able to get my lawnmower fixed last Thursday, so I was able to tackle the mowing. It was not an easy job. It took me 5 hours just to mow the front portion of my property! It took me 3 more hours to do the back. After I finished, I went inside and turned on my furnace. Most people like to turn on the air conditioner nice and high after sweating all over the place due to a massive workout. For some reason, however, the heat from a furnace soothed my achy muscles. The quicker I was exposed to furnace heat after a workout, the less amount of muscle soreness I would experience. So, I went inside and adjusted my thermostat in order for the furnace to circulate a large amount of heat through the ductwork. After about 20 minutes I took a nice hot shower. After I finished, I went into my bedroom and relished in the nice furnace heat. I was so glad that I had decided to invest in a brand new heating and cooling system last spring. My new HVAC system did an amazing job of providing me with great climate control. Once I knew that my muscles were safe from developing any soreness, I got up and turned the air conditioner on. It was much too hot now!
I belonged to a group of similar minded individuals. We gathered together once every two weeks to debate such topics as current events, history, science, and other enlightening subjects. Each of the members took turns hosting the event at their house. This really helped to keep things fresh and fair. This past event was my turn to host the “brainstorming session.” Unfortunately for all of us, my HVAC system was under the weather. My air conditioner had been acting very strangely lately. Some of the time it would have no problem providing good climate control, while at other times it seemed to make no dent in the furnace like conditions at all! We lived in a very hot area of the country, so it became quite difficult to live a normal life without a decently working air conditioner. We decided to stick to schedule, however. We kept the gathering at my house, and decided to tough it through the lack of air conditioner. We had a nice little dinner before we started our discussion. We were all sweating by that point because of my lackluster cooling system. We chose to discuss new and emerging styles of heating and cooling systems. There had been many technological advances in the area of HVAC systems over the last 20 years. We had a great time talking about zone control heating and cooling systems, radiant floor heating, and even smart thermostats. Perhaps I would invest in a new HVAC system option when I had my air conditioner repaired. It was something to think about anyway.
I was at the back end of completing a project I had been working on for close to 4 months now. If my stress levels were visible on my face, I would like like I was 176 years old, give or take a millennium. To say I was happy to be so close to finished, would be a huge understatement. When I was done with this project I planned on taking a 2 month vacation to the islands. As I was dotting the last “i”, I heard a clunking noise coming from the little closet where I kept the air handler part of my HVAC system. I ignored the sounds emanating from the HVAC system, and did my best to ignore the warm air that was now coming out of my ductwork. This was something that could be handled while I was on vacation. I finally finished my project, and called up an HVAC technician before I celebrated my work place victory. I described the clunking noise that came from my air handler, and the HVAC technician said he would need to take a look at it to get to the bottom of the problem. He said he could come by later that evening, so I decided to let the HVAC technician take a look at it before I left for my island vacation. The HVAC technician arrived promptly at 6 pm and inspected my heating and cooling system. When he was done, he told me he could have my HVAC system back in good working order within a week. I told him to go ahead with the repairs. My trip wasn’t scheduled for another week anyway.
My boys and I went to a bachelor party for one of our College roommates. We knew that it was going to be one hell of a night, so we got to hotel rooms in the city. We didn’t want to drive back home after drinking, and we knew that we would all want to drink. We were all pretty drunk by 10 at night, and then things took a turn for the worse. We met another person at the bar, and they thought it would be a good idea for all of us to smoke a joint together. I was up for anything, though I knew it probably wasn’t a good idea. I started to feel sick immediately, and excused myself from the party. I immediately went back to the hotel room, and laid down on the bed. The entire room was spinning and I was feeling uncomfortable. I turn the A/C system down a few degrees, and stood in front of the A/C vent. The cold air coming up from the A/C unit felt great, and I almost felt a little better. When I moved away from the A/C system, I immediately felt sick once again. As soon as I got my bearings back, a few of my friends entered the hotel room. They were all drunk and carrying on like crazy people. They made a comment about the A/C system, and how cold it was in side. Everyone was screaming and shouting, and I wasn’t having very much fun at all. I passed out a little while later, and woke up covered in sweat. Someone must have turned off the A/C system completely, because it was early in the morning and 84 degrees inside of the room.