Life Before Air Conditioning

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I’ve run the Mothership” around here for years, and have lived through a litany of complaints from my kids about the rising heat and the need for air conditioning.

“Why don’t we put in a pool like Rebecca’s family?” Not.
“It’s too hot to go out, we’ll just watch TV all day.” 
Not.
“We can’t sleep upstairs, the walls are melting. We’re sleeping downstairs on the couch.” 
OK.

And like all parents, I pull the generational “before you were born” -thing with my kids:

“When we were young, we ran through the sprinkler…A little sweat didn’t kill us…Have you ever heard of a fan?” 

Then came my final stand, “Do you know Americans use twice as much energy air-conditioning our homes than we did 20 years ago…and more than the rest of the world’s nations combined?” 

Although I live in what is considered to be a cooler Northeast climate, the rising temperature in my neck of the woods has left me sweltering.

I threw eco-caution to the wind and started my own whiny campaign to bring air conditioning into my home. Come hell or high water, and both seemed to be happening, I needed cool air to think straight. I tried rationalizing my case to my ultra-conservationist husband.

Me: “Do you know how much extra laundry I’m doing cleaning sweat-soaked sheets, tee-shirts and towels? Running the dryer day and night will kill the environment. An air conditioner could help!”

Husband: “You’re exaggerating, my dear. And the electricity generated to power air conditioning carries a larger environmental consequence. In burning fossil fuels such as coal and gas to supply electricity to homes and workplaces, power plants discharge clouds of soot and other pollutants into the atmosphere. Among these are mercury and carbon dioxide. Did you know air conditioner use in the U.S. results in an average of about 100 million tons of CO2 emissions from power plants every year ? Also, you emailed me this blog post, 10 Design Tips To Help You Live Without (Or Use Less) Air Conditioning

Me: “Pleeeze, don’t throw posts back at me, I’m a blogger. Bloggers can make anything sound sexy. I can’t work. My keyboard is damp…sticky. I’m sure the Apple manual clearly states, moisture on the keyboard will not be covered under warranty.”

Husband: “Air conditioning is a twisted way to stay cool. If you want to stop warming the planet why would you want artificial cooling? There’s nothing natural about that.”

At this point, guilt got the better of me and I gave up, realizing it was just too damn hot to bicker.

Then it happened. After hours of pushing a hand mower (4 acres of grass and no riding mower…of course) in the latest brutal heat wave, my sweet husband’s defensive brain fried, and he ran to the hardware store and bought one of those portable air conditioners.

Kidding aside, in the age of climate change, can we possibly put air conditioners into the deep freeze? Probably not. My family held out as long as we could, but bucking a culture that is not making the connection that what we’re sending up into our atmosphere is reigning down on us in the form of hot and hazardous weather, is a daunting prospect. But if we adjust our ethos, and take serious measures to power our homes (and air conditioners), using clean renewable energy – wind and solar, and stand with President Obama’s ambitious climate action plan to stop global warming, we have a fighting chance.

Will our leaders compromise and put an end to the warming trend? Or will our kids have to sweat it out hugging air conditioners instead of trees?

Ode To Dog

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“Mom, you have no idea what the dogs are thinking.” Like most pet owners, I often regard our dogs as if they are my children. Maybe it’s an empty nest thing, but my son reminds me not to anthropomorphize my pooches by trivializing them.

Of course, dogs can experience emotions such as love, disgust, elation and guilt. The “caught in the act” photo of Darwin, our 7 yr. old lab, is testament to that. This poem probably sums it up best.

Ode to the Dog 

And he asks me
with both eyes:
Why is it daytime?
Why does night always fall?

Why does spring bring
Nothing
In its basket
For wandering dogs
But useless flowers,
Flowers and more flowers?
This is how the dog
Asks questions
And I do not reply.

~ Pablo Neruda

Photo: Jen Kiaba

Future Engineers

“More than a princess. We are the champions.

This GoldieBlox musical manifesto featuring little girls with big voices and an even bigger mission made me smile. How about you?

Mental Vacation

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Mental Vacation: “A mild cerebral hiatus from consciously entertaining expectations from the perilous and numbing things that infiltrate our lives. It can last as long as one desires, and, depending on one’s skill, can go completely unnoticed.” ~ Urban Dictionary

Small simple stressors build up. We all need a mental vacation from time to time. I took one last weekend with an inspirational visit to DiaBeacon, a beer at The Hop, and Korean take out on my screened-in porch. We wrapped the day with a viewing of Before Midnight at Upstate Films. Ah.

Do you step away and allow your mind and body to relax? How?

Image: Design Seeds via Pinterest

Bye Bye, Google Reader

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Google Reader RSS feed service is ending today, July 1st. If you subscribe via RSS Feed to Econesting, you’ll need to migrate to an alternative. I switched my blog feeds to Feedly and actually like it much better!

How to Switch from Google Reader to Feedly: 

  1. Log into your Google Reader account.
  2. Go to Feedly.com. There’s an easy-to-spot big blue button denoting Feedly’s one-click import feature.
  3. Grant permission for Feedly to import your Google Reader bookmarks and data. Super easy!

Here is a list of crowdsourced alternatives to Google Reader.

Of course, you can have Econesting delivered right to your Inbox. Just type your email into the subscribe space on the right side of this page. Super, super easy!