We're having our electrical panel upgraded to 200 amps today.
The temperature is supposed to reach 98 with thunderstorms on the way.
The upgrade will require cutting the power for seven hours, which means:
- No air conditioning
- No Wi-Fi
- All of our food will slowly rot
HOUR 1: It's 7:40, a good hour before I would normally even consider waking up. The two electricians arrived before schedule, which I take as a good sign. They came in and went straight to the electrical panel, then out to whatever electrical thing they're working on outside. I haven't seen them since. They are kindly waiting to cut the power until I finish making my oatmeal. Although that's just how their schedule worked out; I didn't ask them to wait. Because I think it's impolite to use the word oatmeal in mixed company.
I'm kinda bummed that they sent two men to do the work. When will I ever get to refer to someone as Madam Electricienne?
On the one hand, I'm excited to have a super productive, internet-less day, with the added excuse not to paint any more trim because the house is slowly becoming a crockpot and I need to remain as still as possible in order not to become cooked. Like I'm Maggie Pollitt.
On the other hand, I might become cooked.
There aren't a lot of places I can go to cool down and also bring the pup. Bill is leaving us the car, so at least we can sit out there with the AC on if it gets bad. But I'd like to avoid that if possible. Becoming the eccentric couple in an already eccentric small town is quite a feat, and we want to achieve it gradually.
Then again, this is my chance to eat everything in the fridge and not feel bad about it. I am nothing if not an optimist.
HOUR 2: It's 8:34 – AND ALL'S WELL. No power cut yet. Bill had to run an errand downtown and he's bringing back donuts, so Best Spouse award goes to him.
DONUT UPDATE: "Bad news," Bill said when he got home. "No donuts. But I got you this giant muffin, which should feed you for four or five days."
POWER UPDATE: Off, as of 8:38.
And so it begins.
8:40 – GOD NO I’M BECOMING COOKED
HOUR 3: Bill left for work and I instantly fell asleep on the couch. Already turning into one of my most productive days all month!
I’m keeping a close eye on pup, though, just in case these guys are secretly pullin’ a Horace ‘n’ Jasper.
OOH THEY’RE DRILLING SOMETHING OUTSIDE. SOUNDS EXCITING. I feel bad, though, because as much as I’m complaining inside, they have to do this all the time outside in the heat.
There’s a lot of chit chat right outside. I am shamelessly eavesdropping. One of these guys once had to drill through GRANITE. Took him TWO. DAYS. TWO. FULL DAYS. TWO DAYS.
I was wrong. They are not drilling. They are attacking the house with some sort of HORROR DEVICE that grinds and keens and shakes the entire building. IT IS VERY ALARMING. But at least it won’t take TWO. FULL. DAYS. At least, I hope it won’t.
It sort of sounds like the house has been transformed into a giant motorcycle and these electricians are revving the motor. Continuously. For sixteen minutes now.
HOUR 4: Have begun nuzzling up against walls and furniture to leach some of the cool from their surfaces. It’s surprisingly effective.
Word through the floorboards is that they might have to stay longer than expected. “It’s all good. Not like it’s Friday or anything,” one of them said on the phone. Or maybe he’s talking about another job. I shouldn’t be so self-centered.
NOW HE’S TALKING ABOUT THE WATER LINE. This is sounding positively treacherous. Who knows when it will end!
Anyway. THIS IS MY NIGHTMAAAARE
Alright, pup and I are retreating from the living room to the dining room, which is where the window unit and ceiling fan live, and presumably where the last wisps of cold air linger. I’m abandoning all pretense of getting work done and instead reading Harry Potter all day to distract myself.
It’s Christmas at Hogwarts.
The snow is falling down….
11:20 – Silence. Did they leave?
After some investigation, yes. One of the vans (they brought two, not a fleet as you might imagine) has peaced. Presumably with both electricians inside it. No idea where they’re going or when they’ll be back, but let’s hope they bring donuts, because this muffin is all healthy and filled with dried fruits. Not what I’m looking for AT ALL.
In other news, my effort to enclose cold air in the two rooms upstairs for later enjoyment has failed miserably.
HOUR 5: Pup has this trick of lying on the wood floor when we come in from a walk. I am trying it out. Is quite cool down here. Pup is wise beyond her years (she’s almost four). The panting doesn’t do much for me, though.
I hope the electricians don’t come up from the basement unexpectedly to find me lolling about on the ground muttering, “Cool…cooool…”
HOUR 6: Cloud cover! Which means if the world were an oven, right now it would be baking instead of broiling us. If I have scienced correctly.
Only two more hours to go, assuming they do in fact turn the power back on around 3. At the risk of sounding overconfident, I think we can make it. Pup is a Rhodesian Ridgeback, a lion hunter who prefers to hang out in the attic most days because it’s carpeted and straight-up scorching on the third floor. And according to the weather, the solar noon is in nine minutes, WHICH MEANS IT’LL ONLY GET COOLER FROM HERE, RIGHT?
In the meantime, I have been regularly sweeping water down my arms and legs and daubing it on my face, a trick I learned from my mom. It’s like insta-sweat but less sticky and cools you down as you walk around, reverse-engineering a breeze. I also have a wet paper towel wrapped around the back of my neck and one on my chest. Gotta keep that core temperature down, right?
[I would also like to state for the record that I know many people live without air conditioning, and have done so for LITERALLY MILLENNIA. The Amish are doing it right now - BY CHOICE. Still, you may find yourself enraged with my dramatic lack of fortitude and feel an overwhelming need to call me spoiled and entitled, among other things. That may not be entirely unjustified, but I hope you will ignore this urge and instead join me in donating to Dollar Energy, a nonprofit that helps cover utility bills for those facing hardship – the elderly in particular are especially susceptible to heat stroke. If you find yourself similarly inclined, please donate. It’s a super cool (ha!) program.]
Ooh! The “Feels Like” temperature is down to 95 outside! I may go put on a sweater.
HOUR 7: Conundrum: Bill suggested we walk down to the river trail because it’ll be a good couple degrees cooler in the shaded walkway. However, we’d have to walk there and back in the near-hundred-degree weather and return to a hot house. Are a few minutes of minor relief worth it? UNKNOWN.
You know what’s cool? Porcelain. Know what’s made of porcelain? Bathtubs. You know what would be cooler than lounging in a cool porcelain bathtub? Lounging in a cool porcelain bathtub filled with ice cubes. That’s the dream.
Which could be a reality – or at least I could fill it with cold water – but I would want to remain dressed in case the electricians need something like an ambulance and I have to dash down the stairs all sopping wet, at which point they’d ask why my clothes are drenched and I’d have to say IT’S HOT WHAT’S THE EMERGENCY and they’d just think I was that sweaty.
HOUR 8: It’s 2:38 pm. No word from these electro-punks how long they’ll be. But it’s now been almost a full work day. I think, however, that I’m starting to crumble. “It’s so…hot,” I moan. “So hot. When are you going to turn the power on? Just turn the power on. C’mon. Be a pal. Turn it on. Just turn the power. Back on. Please.”
But they never do.
2:41 – WELL BLOW ME OVER THE POWER’S BACK ON