too many words by laura lemay

too damn hot

We are having a vicious heat wave out{.broken_link} here in California right now, with ten days straight over over 95 degree weather and plus 100 for the last two. Yesterday on our weather station the temperature peaked at 109.9. This was just about bearable, thanks to air conditioning, until about 7PM when apparently too many other people in my neighborhood had the same idea and the power went off. Yay.

The power was off for a few hours, just long enough for the house to heat up well and good. We thought, optimistically, that we could just leave the air off overnight because it would cool down. Ha ha! It didn’t cool down overnight much at all. At 6AM it was already 95 degrees. As I write this at 9AM its 105. Today isn’t going to be much fun.

I’m really not good with heat. When the temperature gets up in the high 80s my mind starts to shut down. I get really cranky and unpleasant to be around over 90. Over the last three days, even with air conditioning, I’ve pretty much been in a state of perpetual heat exhaustion: tired, dizzy, headaches, dehydrated, sweaty, kind of delusional. Yay. I’ve been trying not to do much of anything and feeling guilty about it. I have no idea how people who have 100+ weather all the time manage to live their lives — I’m just completely blitheringly incompetent at it.

We have air conditioning but a very poor organization of vents in the house. Mysteriously the vents in the bathrooms work really great; the ones in the main rooms and bedrooms not so well. Overall the system is horribly ineffecient. I suspect we are aggressively cooling the underside of the house and the crawl spaces where the ducting runs. I quake at the thought of our electricity bill this month. You know when you’re a kid and you stand in front of the refrigerator trying to decide what to have as a snack and your mom yells at you “close the door! are you trying to refrigerate the entire world??” I’ve heard nothing but that voice in my head over the last week.

My plan for today is to shut down everything in the house and I’m going to go camp out with a pillow and a big bottle of water on the floor next to a air conditioning vent in a bathroom. I’m thinking later on if I start feeling too guilty I might go lie out on the lawn in the hammock and turn the sprinklers on. Perhaps I’ll just dodge the whole thing and go out to the movies. All day.

Thanks to the heat wave California set a record for power usage yesterday. I found the page for the California ISO (Independent System Operator) power grid which shows real-time electricity usage for the state. Right now we are running above projected demand but short of capacity — but its only 9AM. Its 5PM where there will be trouble. More blackouts.

The meteorology guys say that maybe things will start to cool down on tuesday. Maybe.