Back in the day, we lived in a house. Unlike Kiwi and Aussie houses, which tend to be low and spreading, Canadian houses go up and up. And in a Southern Ontario summer, things got hot upstairs. Our family room was on the third floor, and it was positively melting when the thermometer crept above 30 degrees Celsius.
Except, we had air conditioning. It was a power-wasting luxury, but, being home with small kids, I loved it. It was hard to adjust correctly - you were always too cold in one place and too warm in another - but we didn't much mind. One did have to be careful, though; one summer, the a/c broke down while we were at the cottage. Sadly, our fish tank was situated at the top of the house, and, by the time we got back, the fish had liquefied. We moved Fish Tank Mark II down to the second floor with better results.
When we moved aboard Papillon, we had a tiny plug-in air conditioner, much like the window-mount units people often have in apartments. The first time Erik and I tried to wrestle it into the companionway for the night, we managed to drop it on my leg.
|Yes, it hurt just as much as you think it did.|
We sold the air conditioner when the opportunity arose, and happily sailed through the topics without it. Sure, it was hot, but we were in bathing suits most of the time, and swimming all day long. Who needs a/c?
In New Zealand, we had the opposite problem, and had to fire up the diesel heater to fight the damp and cold. But in Australia, it is hot. Really, really hot. Erik reports that, when the wind starts blowing where he works, it feels like walking around in front of a hair dryer. Even here in town it gets hot; we took a drive through the Adelaide Hills on the weekend, and this sign caught my eye.
|That's 96.8 Fahrenheit, people.|
Last week we had a few hot nights, which did not help the precarious sleeping situation around here. I mentioned this on a call to my parents.
"Don't you have an air conditioner?" asked my dad.
Oh. Yes. Yes, actually, we do. I'd forgotten all about it.
(Indy just asked me what an air conditioner is. I pointed out the unit in our apartment and explained its function. "Oh," she said. "I thought that was a hand dryer.")
Later that morning, the maintenance man for our building came through the apartment to check on a few things. We chatted about the rising temperatures, and he was horrified to discover that I hadn't even turned the unit on yet. This was a serious breach of protocol. He abandoned his work to give me a quick overview, and to set the air conditioner to a decent temperature.
He told me - quite seriously - that 19 C was the way to go. That sounded a little frosty to me, but who am I to ignore expert advice? So, we set the unit to 19 C, and the day went on.
I quickly began to lose feeling in my fingers. I turned the controller to 20 C. I still craved a sweater. 21. No good. 22. 23. At 24 C, the girls and I agreed that things were becoming comfortable. Instead of an artic blast, we had a cool trickle pouring out of the unit above the couch. People could sit below it without a blanket. Just right.
But, even though it sometimes feels like Hell's foyer out here, we are still trying to enjoy the great outdoors. We spent our weekend at the local park:
|Stylish on the zipline.|
|Mom, I'm not getting anywhere.|
|So much climbing goodness.|
|Sand! We never get to play in the sand!|
|Lunch, now with extra sand.|
And, sometimes, we just sat around and made hats:
|What else do you do with old envelopes?|