Air Conditioning is a Modern Convenience

I grew up without air conditioning, but the houses and commercial buildings were built differently. They had huge windows, several feet of roof overhang, floors raised up off the ground, high ceilings, screened porches, you didn’t turn on the lights during the day unless you needed them for a certain task or safety, and on the hottest days we had fans.

None of the schools I went to had air conditioning until my senior year in high school when they built a new library and put air conditioning in the library to protect the books. The students’ comfort was not even considered.

Now we live, work and shop in air conditioned comfort. It is unusual to be in a house or building that is not air conditioned. If I ever get the chance to build a cabin or small house, I hope to make it as energy independent as possible and not have to depend on air conditioning to be comfortable most days.

Big Cook Out Plans for Labor Day

Tomorrow is the first holiday this year that I am actually looking forward to. This is one holiday that needs no travel, no expensive gift giving, and I can just relax and enjoy good food with good friends. That is what life is supposed to be about, and I intend to do more of just that!

This weekend has been just like every other weekend, but tomorrow is Labor Day, and my neighbors are throwing a min-block party with kegs of beer, everyone grilling, and people showing up with salads and covered dishes.

I am grilling corn on the cob for my part, and also bought a bunch of melons and spent almost 2 hours today carving out the watermelon, honey dew and 2 kinds of cantaloupes to make a melon salad for everyone. It takes a long time using that little half round melon ball scoop! Usually I just cut melons into chunks for eating at home, but since this is a big party, I thought I would go fancy and make them into melon balls and then put them back into a carved watermelon rind. The carving is not real fancy, but I was able to make it look somewhat like a basket. I should take a picture and post it on Facebook tomorrow after I set it all up.

Looking forward to chilling with friends and neighbors and chowing down tomorrow afternoon. Not much chance of rain, high’s in the 80’s and it should be a perfect day!

Which Extreme Weather Event Scares You Most?

Last year and again this year our country is experiencing a lot of extreme weather. Which extreme weather event is most likely to threaten the safety of you and your family? Is your property adequately insured and have a safe room or shelter from the most likely threats?

The tornadoes in Oklahoma should be a reminder that none of us are safe from a random act of extreme weather. About 80% of America has experienced property damage and loss of life from tornadoes, although most of the tornado activity is in the mid-west. Coastal areas are under threat of hurricanes. The desert and drought areas are under threat of wildfires. Snow covered areas threaten avalanches and mudslides. California and Alaska experience multiple earthquakes every month. And, of course, lightning kills a lot of people every year. But according to a recent news story, more people die in floods than any other weather related event.

Although my home is located near a large lake, I have not worried much about flooding because of the terrain in my neighborhood being very hilly and we are upstream from the dam. If the dam was to burst, the water would be flowing away from my neighborhood. We are more worried about damage from a tornado or straight line winds, as there are dozens of tall, heavy trees throughout the area.

But to answer my own question, which extreme weather event scares you most? My answer would be a tsunami scares me most. I hope I never have to face a wall of water a hundred feet high – or more. A lot of other extreme weather events can be avoided or prepared for. But tsunami – I don’t know how anyone can expect to survive that.

Lazy Sunday and a Quarter Moon

This morning I slept in and missed all the good TV shows. There is a wonderful show early on Sunday morning on CBS, in a magazine format with interesting stories and some great photography at the end of each show – usually of a nature scene or wildlife of some kind. The stories are short, informative and entertaining. I do regret missing that this morning, but I think I needed the couple of extra hours to recharge my batteries after such a hectic week last week.

Yesterday I really pushed it and got all the errands run and everything done that I could possibly take care of so I don’t have to do much today. I cut the grass, cleaned out the car, and even made a trip to the landfill to get rid of a batch of recyclables that have been accumulating in the garage.

This morning I think I will read the Sunday newspaper, spend some time with my dogs out in the backyard, and fix a big dinner so I have lots of leftovers for next week’s lunches. Maybe a roast beef with mashed potatoes and a big batch of buttermilk biscuits – that is sounding really good and I bought all the fixings yesterday while at Kroger getting my week’s groceries.

That’s my plan. What are you doing today?

This Week Has Two Mondays

Yesterday was obviously Monday, but since it was Labor Day and most of us with good jobs had the day off from work, today is our work weeks Monday. I had a hard time all day remembering that it is Tuesday, as it really did feel like a Monday.

Here in Nashville, Labor Day means little. There are no parades, it is not the end of summer as we have at least another month of warm weather, and school started back in August. It is just a day to go to the Lake and fish or swim, or a few lucky ones go out of town for the 3 day weekend.

Back in the Northern Virginia area, Labor Day is a big deal. It means the end of summer. Swimming pools close the day after Labor Day. School starts the day after Labor Day. People with beach houses have to go for the last long weekend with nice weather and pack up everything to shut down the house for the winter. And we do have parades and festivals all over town.

What does Labor Day mean for you? I was glad to have a day off and got a lot of yard work done, washed and waxed the car, and then grilled some steaks for my friend Eric and his girl, Wanda. Only thing that would have made it better was if I had a nice boat and could have spent a few hours sailing on Percy Priest Lake.