Saturday, July 19, 2008

Mid-Summer Report

I realized this morning that there are only five weeks of summer left. Not official summer, of course, but summer vacation summer.

What's amazing is that we've passed summer's midpoint and I've yet to fall into my typical summer funk. Normally by now I'm in some state of despair. Mostly I blame it on air conditioning. By mid-July I am typically chilled through--my bones, my toes, my brain, my soul. I feel stuck inside, claustrophobic, in need of fresh air and birdsong, but a quick walk to the mailbox is enough to convince me that the direct July sun isn't my friend either. So I stay inside and wither.

But not this year, baby. This summer has been a brand new ballgame. Why? Two words: screened porch. I eat breakfast, lunch and dinner on my porch. When I get a chance to take a break from chores and herding boys, I take it on the porch. When the AC gets to be too much, I thaw out on the porch. This is the most time I've spent outside in summer since I was a camp counselor at Belton Lake in 1984.

The other thing that has made this summer bearable is an almost completely open schedule. In the past I've signed Jack up for three or four day camps, which means loads of driving hither and yon, and have also hired a babysitter for a few afternoons a week so I could write. Weirdly, none of this seemed to buy me much time in the long run, mostly because I was spending most of my waking moments coordinating chores and errands and carpools and picking up and dropping off the babysitter and dropping off and picking up Jack ...

This summer: one camp. That's it. Jack doesn't mind. He likes being able to sit around all morning and then going to the pool in the afternoon. We all like it. I like it especially now that Will is swimming. I still get in the water and play with Will, but he's pretty happy just doing his own thing a lot of the time. I've even sat at a table and read a magazine a time or two.

There have been hectic days, and I still feel oddly routine-less. But I don't feel depressed. I go through mild to moderate depressions from time to time, and summer is one of the worst times (February is the other). I do have five weeks to get through, so it's possible that I'll still get hit by the funk. But I have my fingers crossed that this summer the black dog will pass me by.


This morning I went to the Farmers' Market at eight, thinking I'd beat the crowds. I didn't. It wasn't quite as crowded as it is at ten, but there were a lot more people than I'd expected. Nonetheless, I felt like I could take my time and explore a little more. I bought peaches and grapes, basil plants, two kinds of potatoes, corn, carrots and tomatoes (we have lots of tomatoes on the vines, but they're all green). And I bought a pound of green beans, which I blanched and froze when I got home. My first attempt at food preservation! We won't starve this winter, boys, no we won't.


Tracy said...

Dh & I have yet again been discussing cooling options. We had evaporative for four years, about 5 houses ago. It was wonderful.

Heather said...

My girl starts kindergarten on August 7th. Don't they know it is 180 degrees in the shade in August? This is messing with my seasonal obsessive disorder. I like my September to be about school and August to be about wishing for cold weather again, not walking to the bus stop!

Left-Handed Housewife said...

Tracy, tell me what evaporative is. I haven't heard of it. I would like to find an alternative to AC one of these days, although I would prefer that alternative not include moving to the far reaches of Siberia.

Heather, I can't believe your daughter has to start school so early--is it a year-round school, or is your school board simply nuts? Will starts kindergarten the 19th of August. We'll have to compare notes!

Heather said...

They are simply nuts. And not even the good kind like cashews... just the broken weird bits from the bottom of the can.

Tracy said...

In Australia we have a few cooling options:

1. Ceiling fans (or whatever fan you can get your hands on.

2. External canvas blinds that you pull down when you need to shade the windows from harsh sun.

3. Evaporative Cooling. It uses water and a fan through duct work in the ceiling to push cool air through the house. You leave a window open in each room just a fraction so the air has somewhere to go. It is controlled by fan speed. The cooler you want the house the more fan speed you need. Great for dry hot climates like ours.

4. Refrigerated Cooling. Regular AC cooling that requires the house being all shut up to keep the cold air in. We would need ducted as we have nowhere to put a split system unit.

We have the fans and the blinds but it's still too hot in our house through summer. Evap is cheaper to buy and meant to be cheaper to run. Refrig is colder and you can set a temperature for the house to be at, whereas with the evap you need to keep ahead of the heat by turning the fan up.