Give Me Air!

I used to be much tougher; but the older I get, the more I enjoy the comfort of modern conveniences.  Yep, I’m turning into an elderly wimp.

When I was a kid there was no such thing as sunscreen; or if there was, the news of it hadn’t filtered through to our little rural backwater.  As a fair-skinned redhead, sunburns were inevitable unless I wanted to stay indoors all my life.

I didn’t.  I was out all day long in my shorts and T-shirt, playing in haystacks and crawling through tall grass and wading in ditches; putting cool compresses on the sunburn at night and peeling the skin off a few days later until I was one big freckle that lasted until winter.

Our little farmhouse didn’t have air conditioning in the early days, and there was no escape from the muggy heat of a Manitoba summer.  Even with all the windows open, the house was airless.  Clothing and bedding were perpetually damp and clammy from the humidity.

Big black crickets infiltrated the house in summer.  I’ll never forget the first time my brother brought one of his girlfriends home for the first time.  We were sitting at the dinner table when, in a momentary lull in the conversation, there was an audible *plop*.  Yep, a giant cricket had crawled out from behind the wall clock and fallen to the floor before scuttling into the safety of a nearby air vent.  The memory of the look on that girl’s face still makes me snicker.  (Their relationship didn’t last, oddly enough.)


These days I don’t venture outdoors without slathering on sunscreen, swaddling myself in long sleeves and long pants, and donning a hat and sunglasses.

My skin is now sensitive to some invisible critter that lives in grass and dirt, so anytime I’m working or playing outside I have to tuck my pant legs into my socks to prevent giant red welts on my legs.  (This has the added bonus of making me look like a complete doofus.)

If even a single bug ventures into my house I instantly swoop down and annihilate it.  (Unless it’s a spider or a ladybug, in which case I gently pick it up and put it outside unharmed. But all others get heartlessly squished.)

And a couple of years ago we had central air installed.

Here in Calgary, air conditioning is viewed with a hint of condescension (until the temperature tops +30C/86F, at which point it’s regarded with envy).  We usually only get a couple of weeks of hot weather and even then the temperature rarely exceeds +15C/59F at night.  Most people just open the windows when it’s cool and close them during the day.  Air conditioning is for wussies.

So when I sit in my cool, comfortable living room while everybody else bakes… instead of feeling smug, I feel a bit embarrassed.

That is, until a few days ago when the air conditioner inexplicably quit.  And the temperature rose one degree inside the house.


The way I rushed off to phone the service line, you’d think the fires of hell were licking at the crack of my ass.  “OMG, the temperature’s gone up a degree and the air conditioner isn’t running!  What will I DO?!?”

Um… take a pill, that’s what.  A couple of years ago the temperature in our bedroom regularly topped +30C in the summer.  It didn’t kill me.

But apparently now it will.

‘Scuse me while I totter off to my rocking chair now…

* * *

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29 thoughts on “Give Me Air!

  1. “he comfort of modern conveniences”, tell me about it. Special promo’s help on some long distance train trips as I found out – oh the comfort 😀


  2. Great story! I don’t have central air. Last year I suffered through 90+ degrees in my bedroom at night. This year, I bought myself a portable air conditioner and it is much more comfortable now – it should because my bedroom is in my attic area. You guys have much milder weather than we do here in Minnesota – when it hits 90+ degrees outside, inside can easily get to 95+ degrees. GOD I hate the electric bill in the summer time.

    Sorry to hear you have to bundle up in order to go outside but it is better than getting skin cancer. I have a friend who has skin cancer and she has to do what you do in order to go outside,

    Stay cool! 🙂


    • Thanks, Dawn! The brief run of hot weather is over now – we never get more than a few days at a time (which is probably why I can still enjoy it). And you’re right about skin cancer – despite my loathing of sunscreen, I just don’t dare go without. (Gee, talk about first-world problems: “Oh, I just hate wearing the sunscreen that will protect me from painful sunburns and life-threatening diseases!” I’ll stop whining now…) 🙂

      You stay cool, too!


  3. Air conditioning hurts my skin. The heat hurts my skin. I have to wear my winter coat in summer under air conditioning to balance out both effects. Diane, this getting older certainly comes with its quirks!
    Hope you get your AC fixed soon.


  4. Dear doofus with the tucked in pants. 🙂
    Air conditioning in Calgary? Do we live in the same city? I kept my in floor heating on until last week! All right that’s an exaggeration but only by a day or so. 🙂
    I will admit at night a blast of cold air might come in handy. Hoping that repair job gets done soon. Such a funny post. You should write a book or 12.


    • LOL! I’ll get right on that writing thing. 😉 And you’re right, it hasn’t been terribly hot, but our house faces southwest with lots of windows so even when it’s only 24-25C outside, it heats up to 30+ inside even with all the blinds drawn. And the house holds the heat for a long time because it’s stucco with a concrete tile roof. Those few days when it’s around 30C outside, it’s like being inside a clay oven.

      Liked by 1 person

  5. Hotter than the hubs this past week. 33C from morn till night. Cools off to maybe 20 by morning. A/C running full tilt all day. My misspent youth was similar to yours. The old house on the farm was hot in summer cold in winter. When I was young I would tan to the waist. Long pants were a necessity. In my teens, it was farmer tan. Long sleeve shirts were a necessity.
    Friend of mine from a few years back was helping her boyfriend with haying. She was baling and he was raking. In mid-afternoon, she peeled to the waist to get a tan. She said his windrows went all to hell after that.


  6. Don’t listen to the morons who scoff at your precautions. Do not deign even to acknowledge their presence. Sunburn is absolutely no joke. I am wise in these matters. (Wisdom born of ghastly experience, of course. Don’t ask. It’s ugly.)

    And enjoy every single second that your A/C makes you more comfortable. REVEL in the delicious coolness of your abode while others swelter!

    You paid your dues out on the farm when you were a kid. In cash. With interest.

    Soak up the good life like a SPONGE!! You’ve earned it.


  7. Awww I envy you with air conditioning, yes I’m in the UK and we don’t really get hot but still.

    I’m the same with the sun used to be out all day and not care, but then I got really badly burnt one year and now I hide in summer.

    I respect the sun and keep my distance. Who knows one day we might patch things up

    Liked by 1 person

    • I know what you mean – the sun is one of my most conflicted love/hate relationships. I’d be out basking in it all day long if my skin would take it – I just love sunshine! But when the doctor goes ‘hmmm’ and starts freezing off little precancerous spots on my face, I sigh and put on my hat and sunscreen like a good little patient.

      Liked by 1 person

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