Friday, February 24, 2017

Baile Rochel Going "Modern"

That's in centigrade
Toasting the toasty room, even before
the pictures were rehung. 
OK, maybe for some of you, this is very 20th century deja vu, but here we are in the middle of the second decade of the 21st century and this family, OK more accurately an alte kakker couple, just got its very first modern "airconditioner," which unlike the ones of the mid-20th century heats as well as cools.

When we planned and built this house over thirty years ago, we tried to be as modern and clever as possible. I had read of "passive solar heating" and hoped that our large eastern and southern windows, plus specially constructed double walls, would make expensive heating almost unnecessary. The idea was that the free solar-from the sun- heat would enter the house and stay on sunny days. Even though our winters are the only season it rains, and even snows some years, most winter days are sunny. Of course, clever me ignored the simple reality that the summer sun would bake us...

Somehow we did survive those early winters by using a simple kerosene heater in the winter, a few small blow-heaters and the heat a large family plus guests add to a house. In the summer, we'd leave the windows open and pretend that it wasn't all that hot. But as these magic heat/cool airconditioners became more and more common, our bodies just wouldn't cooperate with the "con." Having a fan blowing the hot air in the summer just made the house like a giant convection oven. And in the winter I went around in half my sweater wardrobe and multiple socks each day.

Finally, after muttering for years that "we must get an airconditioner," I assigned the job of choosing a technician to my savvy son-in-law. We ended up hiring a young man who had been a student of mine. I wasn't all that happy about having a former student see the mess my bedroom is, but I was tired of needing to sleep with a hot water bottle, dressed heavy pajamas, socks and gloves most winter nights. And one of the reasons why our room stays a mess is that it is too cold to enter to clean. It was more like a giant walk-in freezer, and it's impossible to straighten up wearing heavy thermal gloves made for arctic winters.

For years I'd been saying that I only function a few weeks a year, spring and fall, since it's generally either too hot or too cold.

Well, my student was happy for the business and sent a couple of young neighbors, his cheerful technicians, to do the job. I had tutored one of them a number of years ago, too.

My husband was home that day and had the chore of clearing out things from our room and the living room near where the airconditioners would be. I still have lots of things to put back in place. Though I'm mulling over the idea of actually getting rid of many... Yes, I know that the trick to a clean and orderly house is to "purge" or "declutter" unneeded THINGS. The big problem is the definition of "unneeded."

The mess and the big decision of what can really be thrown out must wait until after Shabbat...

And of course you want to know how much better we feel now that there are airconditioners here in the house to keep us warm. I think for that answer, we'll have to wait until next winter, since Israel is now experiencing an "early spring." That's no surprise, since Ol' Murphy rules...

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