Thursday, August 12, 2010


Today Chicago is under an excessive heat warning for the first time since 2006. Apparently the record string of 80+ high temperatures this summer has just been practice leading up to this.

We have air conditioning, sort of, except we can't use it without destroying the walls of our home. Our blower is in the attic, and the installers routed a drainage pipe into the stack, which is black steel pipe. Trouble is, whenever it's really hot and humid -- whenever my cheap ass would actually turn on the AC -- the cold water makes that stack pipe sweat profusely. Kind of like I am right now.

I want to paint the Virgin Mary on the wall of our stairway and charge admission to those who want to see the weeping Madonna. As an extra bonus, they can see the weeping homeowner watching his plaster walls disintegrate.

The obvious question is, Why don't you get the drain pipe rerouted so you can use your AC? While two companies have diagnosed our problem, neither expressed any interest in fixing it themselves. If you saw our attic, you'd understand. It's going to require the equivalent of arthroscopic surgery to redirect a pipe up there. Until I find a company that hires child labor -- say, four-year-olds -- we're probably just going to have to sweat it out, either through perspiration or pipe condensation.

Over the past 42 straight days of 80+ temps (that's the entire month of July plus August so far), I've learned to live in this sauna. I don't love it, but I can tolerate it. Then yesterday, on the eve of the most dangerously hot day of a hot year, I woke up with the dreaded summer cold. Not cold as in temperature, but cold as in that pesky virus. Therein lies the misery. It started with a sore throat and advanced to post-nasal drip by evening. Sometimes I can't tell the drip apart from the beads of sweat, though I'm pretty sure that's sweat on my forehead. Throw in an occasional cough for good measure, just to shake loose the droplets of whatever.

My mother would ask if I'm taking anything for it. Yes, I am, but since it's that OTC crap with the pseudo-ephedrine substitute (thanks a lot, you meth-cooking bastards), it hasn't been very effective. It was good enough to let me fall asleep last night, at least. But today, when it would be nice to seek refuge in the AC of a local business, preferably one with endless refills of Coca-Cola, I don't feel like leaving the house.

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