Here in the Pacific Northwest, whining about the weather is like a sport. But this week it is hot. Record-breakingly, cook-an-egg-on-the-sidewalk hot.
A house with so-so insulation and older windows — what’s a girl to do? Cope, that’s what!
I’m a native Californian, raised in a corner of the San Fernando Valley that sizzles in summertime. When heat comes to call here in Beaverton, I employ my heatwave strategies.
- Windows on the second floor open all night, box fans on high. Although Portland is 110 miles from the Pacific Ocean, we cool significantly once the sun is down. Unlike, say, Hawaii or the Midwest.
- Lockdown by 8:00 a.m. All windows shut and draperies closed. No exceptions.
- Once the sun is up, forget errands or shopping. You want it, you go and buy it yourself.
Housework / laundry finished (or ignored) by 10:00 a.m. Because the power might go out, right? Once it’s hot, why bother with chores?
- Microwave those meals. If you run out of options, use the grill or follow grandma’s lead and set up an Outdoor Kitchen.
- Quit thinking about an air conditioner. Our windows are too large for one of those clunky window units. And besides, it isn’t worth buying one for one or two weeks of use.
Tell you what, though, this summer we cried “Uncle,” big time. With temperatures predicted to soar to an astonishing 107 degrees, we finally pulled the trigger. Yesterday the cheerful UPS guy delivered to our door a portable air conditioner. We hurried to haul it upstairs and get it running.
Bam! It promptly blew a circuit. What can I say? In the late 1970s, no one guessed that families would use so much power.
It’s always a comedy routine around here, right? My son has a similar AC unit — and it turns out that our bedrooms share a circuit. So now he has a contractor-grade extension cord that snakes under his bedroom door and into the bathroom. Which shares a circuit with the outside power outlet I’m using for the Outdoor Kitchen. (Turn up the roasting pan and Bam! The circuit will blow. But that’s another story.)
So during this scorcher, we’re rejoicing. Because now two of our bedrooms are blessedly cool.