Keeping your cool

imagesAs my unofficial big brother Ian has already noted, we are in the midst of a heat wave here on the Left Coast of Canada. And we are SO not used to this! We prefer complaining about the rain in winter, not the heat in summer. This is quite the shift for us poor Westerners.

My house isn’t too hot, despite the fact that many of my windows face south. I try to remember to keep those shutters and blinds closed during the day, and when evening rolls around, I can get a pretty good crossbreeze going upstairs because I also have windows that face north, so I can open everything up and let ‘er rip. I have a large and shady north-facing balcony on which to sit and sip a cool beverage in the heat of the afternoon, and a lovely cool basement in which to hang out and watch TV – or nap – if I’m so inclined. Speaking of napping, I have a ceiling fan in my south-facing bedroom, so I’m generally able to sleep okay (other than the usual wee-hours-of-the-morning pee breaks or three-a.m.-menopausal insomnia).

Now, PG lives on the third floor of an apartment building that was constructed in the seventies. His single-paned windows face west. His place is HOT AS HELL (or thereabouts. I can only guess, having never actually experienced the temperatures in Hell. But maybe Egypt in July would be close. THAT I have experienced.)

PG has a ceiling fan in his bedroom, as well as blackout curtains, but up on the third floor of an older, west-facing apartment, that’s not really enough. So he bought himself an air conditioning unit and installed it in his bedroom window on Saturday. fg1tuchHa5hkgv-95KaZmWZl-mtO3Q7P7oiQ18UxPg7a31cSRWl6FUqCPcf_B4hwkcuvKQ=s151

On Saturday night, we had a social function to attend (wow, that sounds like a snooty black-tie charity cocktail party or something! Actually, it was a birthday bbq in a friend’s backyard. Much more to my taste.). The friend lives not too far from PG’s, so it made more sense for me to spend the weekend at his place rather than him to come to my place (my laundry facilities notwithstanding). And I thought this would be wonderful, with his new air con!

And it truly was! His bedroom was wonderfully cool, and he had a floor fan set up to waft some of that coolth (as opposed to “warmth”, get it?) into the living room. It was actually nice in his apartment, considering that it was just over 30 degrees outside.

So we went to the bbq, and got back to PG’s apartment around midnight. It was amazing in there! What a difference 150$ for the air con plus four hours of sweat and labour for the installation makes! I just KNEW I’d sleep well!

PG said he felt quite comfortable, temperature-wise, so he turned off the air con. I was dubious, but since the room was already fairly cool, I figured I’d fall asleep easily and then I wouldn’t notice whether it was on or off.

And that’s exactly what happened. Till I woke up, drenched in a pool of my own sweat, at three a.m. (Yep, the menopausal insomnia, right on time.) I got up, went to the bathroom, then realized that I could just switch the ceiling fan on and all would be well.

And it was. I drifted back to sleep, the gentle breeze of the ceiling fan drying the perspiration off my body.

Till I woke up again, two hours later, drenched in sweat again. Again, I got up and went to the bathroom. When I got back to the bedroom, I realized that the ceiling fan was now off. WTF?!? I turned it back on, and fell back asleep for a couple more hours.

This time the ceiling fan was still on, but I still glared at PG. “Seems to me,” I said slowly, “that if you bought yourself an air conditioner, that you would at least use it.”

He smiled and said something about not using it ALL the time because it’s a “little noisy to sleep with”.

I sat up and looked down at him. “Then,” I hissed, “you should use your ceiling fan. It’s quieter. If you use nothing, it gets VERY EFFING HOT in here. Also, if someone else – LIKE ME! – turns on the ceiling fan in the middle of the night because it’s VERY EFFING HOT in here, you should NOT turn it off!”

He actually laughed. He did. He LAUGHED.

Then I remembered. This turning-off-of-the-air-con has happened before, when we were in Philadelphia three summers ago. This is a pattern with him. This is what he DOES!

I should have taken him out then. I really should have.

Texting is hard!

This week, one of the girls at my school got a new asymmetrical haircut. She’s thirteen and it looks adorable on her: right side longer than the left side by about 5 cm, layered up the back, wispy sideswept bangs. I loved it as soon as I saw it – and thought that maybe such a haircut would work on me! I’m getting my hair done next Monday anyway, so the timing seemed right.

So I asked the girl if I could take a few photos of her hair to show my hairdresser. She agreed, and I snapped a few shots.

That evening, I texted my hairdresser (who happens to be a good friend of DD’s: let’s call her A). I told her that I’d found a haircut that I was very keen to try and that I even had photos to show her. She texted back that she’d love to see them right away so that she could start planning how to do it (or was that panicking about how to do it? I’ll have to look at my phone again.).

So I sent them off. 1-texting_620x414

Except somehow, I selected my uncle A instead of my hairdresser A when my list of contacts came up. I only have like three contacts whose names start with A and yet I still managed to choose the wrong one.

So I actually texted those photos to my uncle A in another province. Now, my uncle A just suffered a heart attack early this week and is in the hospital. (My mom has been in constant contact with my aunt, and apparently he’s “comfortable”, whatever that really means.) But here’s the truly bizarre part: I texted those photos to my uncle A’s landline.


I didn’t know what to do at first. I mean, here I was, sending photos of a thirteen-year-old girl’s cute haircut to my uncle in the first place, and in the second place – uh, wait. Landline. Think about that for a moment, Pinklea. Landline. When you had a landline, did you ever receive any photos that people texted you?

Exactly. You never did, Pinklea. That’s because it’s NOT POSSIBLE to text photos to a landline.

So I retexted the photos – correctly this time – to my hairdresser. She loved the haircut and she’s quite sure she can do it and that it’ll look great on me.

And I don’t have to worry about texting photos to the wrong person. Wherever my uncle may be, hospital or home, he never got those photos, so I don’t have to apologize or do anything about it.

Which is comforting, because I’m not that good at apologizing.

Yet another birdshit story

Yesterday, I borrowed my mom’s car to take DD to Ikea. Using her car instead of mine or DD’s was necessary for two reasons:

One: My beloved BMW is a fabulous car for many reasons, but trunk space is not one of them. Every one of my previous cars had a hatch, so this car’s trunk is frequently a major pain in my butt. I can’t seem to fit anything into it, except for things like groceries. A box? Dicey at best. Two boxes? Not even close. Ikea stuff? No effing way, so don’t even think about it, however briefly.

Two: DD’s beloved car is a hatchback, and can fit many, many boxes of many, many shapes and sizes inside it. The thing seems to stretch the more you try to put in it. We’ve had an entire loveseat tucked in there – with room to spare! But DD’s car lives in my garage for the moment, as it’s uninsured. DD has no parking spot at her basement apartment, and doesn’t really need a car in her neighbourhood anyway. She doesn’t need it to get to university either, as there’s a direct bus maybe a short block away and she has a student bus pass that’s included with the price of tuition. She doesn’t mind insuring her car for a day or so if necessary, and was, in fact, planning to do that when we planned this Ikea expedition. But then my mom suggested that we take her car and give it a good run on the freeway, since she only drives close to home and maybe only once a week at the most.

So, as I said, I borrowed my mom’s car to take DD to Ikea yesterday.

We were in and out in just short of two hours, which is truly amazing, as both of us love Ikea and could easily spend the day there, sightseeing. But she was on a mission to find a small shelf unit for kitchen storage, a coffee table for her living room, and a bathmat. She was armed with measurements and her debit card. And she found a shelf unit, coffee table, and bathmat that suited her needs very quickly. We found the shelf unit and coffee table boxes in the self-serve furniture section equally quickly. There was, miracle of miracles, no lineup at the self-serve cash, so she scanned the items, paid for them, and we loaded them into the car quickly, too.

Back at DD’s place, we unloaded everything, then I put together the coffee table while she put together the wicker baskets that would be stored in the shelf unit, then she filled them with kitchen stuff like tupperware. I started to assemble the shelf unit, and it didn’t go nearly as well as the coffee table had. Holes weren’t aligning properly, and those dinky little wooden dowels that Ikea insists upon using to hold together shelves and partitions kept snapping off. I got frustrated, so we decided to go out for frozen yogourt, then I could tackle the project again with a full tummy.

As we walked past my mom’s car on the street, I remarked how convenient it was that I’d been able to find a parking spot right in front of DD’s house, and also under a tall leafy tree that was providing shade on such a hot day. Then I saw the giant plop of birdshit on the back window. Uh, maybe parking under that tree wasn’t such a good thing after all? “I’m going to have to wash that off before I return Grandma’s car,” I told DD. “But a bird crapping on a person is supposed to be good luck, so maybe that’s true for a car, too. Maybe I’ll be able to finish that shelf unit with no further problems when we get back?”

That’s not how it turned out, however. We actually had to make another trip out, to a hardware store to purchase more wooden dowels. Every single one of the ones that came with the shelf unit broke! What are they made out of these days, balsa wood?!? But eventually, I got the thing together, we put it where she wanted it, she put the baskets in their places, and it looked great! “Just don’t climb on it,” I warned her, “because I don’t think those shelves will hold too well!”

I went home, washed the birdshit off Mom’s car’s back window, then brought it back to her. I told her all about our day, including the trouble I’d had assembling the shelf unit and also about the birdshit on her window. I assured her that I’d cleaned it off, and anyway, that was supposed to bring good luck.

“Oh good,” she smiled. “I’m thinking of going to the casino tomorrow morning. Maybe I’ll win big!”

Mom phoned me this morning. She’d just come home from the casino. She won a thousand dollars on one pull on a slot machine.

I’m glad that birdshit luck went to somebody in the family!