1902 Victorian

Bringing our old house out of the disco era and back into the Victorian.

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Tuesday, March 14, 2006

Old Times There are Not Forgotten

I'm going to make some people jealous with this post (namely, Halloweenlover). Apparently, in Alabama we have skipped right over spring and gone straight to summer. All winter I've dreamed of the mild spring days when the house would be lovely and comfortable and require no artificial temperature moderation of any kind. Well, we had about half a day of that.

Now, we are sleeping with a bedroom window open and a fan blowing. And Darwin's still hot.

I'm actually not feeling the heat much yet. Today it's a delightfully sunny 64 degrees outside (down from highs in the low '80s this weekend) after a big storm last night. Inside, the house feels wonderful to me. I can sit for hours in front of the computer obsessing about my listings on eBay without turning into a shivering, quivering lump of frozen flesh.

This weekend when I was re-arranging my closet, I had to change out of my requisite winter sweatpants and into shorts! That's right, I said SHORTS! I was actually SWEATING!

It's so wonderful to sit and watch TV without trying to keep every inch of skin tucked under a blanket, without wearing layers of clothes, without a heater forever drying out my face!

I don't think I've ever appreciated spring this much. Last year, we were less conservative (read: stingy) with the heat, so the onset of spring wasn't nearly such a relief.

Now the new game begins: How long can we last before we turn on the A/C? We made it till nearly the end of May last year. This year my goal is July! Do you think I can do it?

My motivation for not turning up the A/C isn't so much about money (we have electric A/C vs. gas heat) as ... hmmm, what is my motivation? Part of it is that I like having the windows open. The cats like it, too. (Darwin not so much. He's always paranoid about the cats bursting through the screens and escaping.)

But I think the main motivation is to use our house the way it was intended. These high-ceilinged, center hall houses in the South were designed to minimize heat. This is what our house does best, and I like to let it do it. When I'm looking out a window, I can't see the TV or the microwave or the faux-vintage stereo. It's easier to pretend I'm living like they did before A/C was invented.

Besides, there's something so pleasantly old-fashioned and Southern about hanging out in a house with the windows open, sweating a little, waiting for the fan to oscillate back your way and blow the humidity-curled hair off your neck. It reminds me of my childhood: family reunions in old two-room schoolhouses, 4th of July with homemade ice cream, swinging on my grandparents' porch, the dark little convenience stores where Daddy would stop and let me get a striped coconut candy bar.

Sounds like a country song, huh? But like any good country song, there must be a lament. Maybe all these things still happen somewhere, but most of them have disappeared from my life. For years now, the family reunion has been held in the air-conditioned church basement. Doesn't that say it all?

So I'll hold onto this little piece of humidity while I can. Just remind me of this when I start complaining about the heat come May ...

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12 Comments:

Anonymous said...

I do believe that mint juleps were invented to help out there, too ;-)

Heidi
http://statelyenglishmanor.typepad.com

11:20 AM  
John said...

Don't forget the sweet tea either.

As for making it to July, I bet y'all can. We're still living in our crappy little ranch house, and last year we nearly made it to July without the benifit of cross ventilation.

If we make it into the Queen this Spring (fingers crossed) we'll be conducting a similar experiment.

Lovely post. You've made the hot, humid summer sound like a long lost love. Sweating never sounded so go.

11:55 AM  
halloweenlover said...

Too funny, I was about to ask if you'd made sweet tea too! I've never had it, but it sounds so lovely, I want to try.

I am SEETHING with jealousy over here. We are having alternating portions of freezing cold with 50 degree weather and rain. Grrrr. BUT, next week I leave for St. Croix! WOOOOHOOOO!

I cannot believe it is like summer there, though. Crazy.

12:38 PM  
Kristin said...

Oh dear, you caught me - I'm the one Southerner who doesn't like sweet tea! I'm more of a lemonade gal, myself - no pulp, please.

1:33 PM  
Greg said...

I'll be the second Southerner (born and raised in South East Texas) who admits to not liking sweet tea. I think I must have turned down more than a million glasses of tea in my life.

We are getting a real winter here now. We had actual snow fall in the city last week. That happens once or twice in a life time if you live in a costal city in the west. It didn't really stick, and it was more hail than snow, but still it did snow in Eureka.

2:12 PM  
amanda said...

I don't like sweet tea either! Woo hoo, I'm not alone (I'm from SC)
We had an 80 degree day yesterday and it was wonderful. I went and got ice cream. Of course, tonight we'll be down in the 30s and snow is predicted this week. A girl can dream, right?

2:21 PM  
derek said...

Being Canadian, I have to ask what's sweet tea? I always thought they had the unsweetened ice tea in the states. We have our with sugar up here, it's just called ice tea though.

3:26 PM  
John said...

Derek,

As far as I know, "sweet tea" is Southern turn of phrase. No one here really drinks hot tea, so its understood that it would be iced.

I believe unsweetened ice tea is popular in the North. Hardcore ice tea drinkers here consider unsweetened iced tea a peculiar sort of blasphemy.

4:46 PM  
John said...

Derek,

As far as I know, "sweet tea" is Southern turn of phrase. No one here really drinks hot tea, so its understood that it would be iced.

I believe unsweetened ice tea is popular in the North. Hardcore ice tea drinkers here consider unsweetened iced tea a peculiar sort of blasphemy.

7:57 AM  
Kristin said...

Yeah, here unsweet tea is only for the Atkins dieters, who then add Splenda or Equal. (I'm thinking of my parents here!)

9:53 AM  
Jordana said...

My husband, the actual Southerner (well sort-of mostly) won't touch sweet tea. I, who was born in California and raised in Arizona and Ohio, won't drink iced tea unless it's sweet. But I'd rather have lemonade. :)

5:47 PM  
Lenise said...

I looove sweet tea. I was born in PA, though I'll be living in NC for the foreseeable future. Lemonade's good too.

I must say, I was disappointed that the country song you linked to was an Alabama song. I just can't get into them. They, Garth, and Shania can all go live in top 40 land for all I care. Give me Sara Evans, Terri Clark, and Collin Raye!

9:22 PM  

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