Friday, June 3, 2016

Warning Signs

The news has been trumpeting it for days: temperatures in The Valley are going to be hitting the hundred & teens for several days over this weekend. They keep upping the numbers as they get closer. 113 is now forecast for today.

So far Steve and I have been able to avoid this kind of heat, heading north instead. (My personal record is 107, many years ago in Georgia.) This summer, of course, we opted to stay long enough to get both knees replaced, so we'll get hit with the real deal.

So far the AC has been keeping up with it. In fact there are still times where the brunt of it hitting the living room has gotten too chilly, and we've shut it down for a bit even though the rest of the house is still uncomfortable. We're not in the rest of the house, except briefly: in this weather, no constipation allowed. A brief AC shutdown is economical as well as comfortable. So far, however, concerns that our unit will fail during this are minimal, filed away in the I-hope-it-doesn't-fail-yet file.

Yesterday we found a new concern. The power went out. Twice.

First time was mid afternoon. Temperatures hadn't quite hit 100 but were damn close. I had to step outside into the blast furnace for a while and sit in the shade of the patio where there was a hint of a breeze occasionally to help with cooling. Of course, before that I had to get Steve to help me out of the lift chair. I'd been laying back for a little nap. Head down, feet up, chair... immobile. Good thing my pain levels are down enough that it's not horrible to creep forward one hip at a time to assist in my forward progress. Steve was still invaluable both for balance and to guard against tipping.

Also good that I have APS programmed into my phone to report the outage. In about 45 minutes our power was restored. Suppertime news credited a traffic accident taking out a power pole.

The second outage hit after I went to bed, perhaps around 11 PM. I'm still trying to spend some part of the night lying flat there but am only able to manage maybe 90 minutes before the pain wakes me up to shift back into the lift chair. Some nights I only lie there, pain prohibiting sleep. Things are getting better, since for the last few days I've actually managed some sleep in the bed. I keep trying, not only because I need to change positions regularly. Steve wants his chair back.

I was just drifting off when a noise woke me. Not sure what it was. Steve may have bumped into something in the dark, not having my still-reasonable night vision. It may even have been the absence of noise, as there were suddenly no fans rotating.

Steve located his cell phone/flashlight, and brought my cell to me so I could call APS again. This time the recorded answering message informed us there were power outages covering three counties, and all crews were out working on the problem. This time there was no offer to mechanically record our address and phone number for them to make sure it got fixed and verify with a callback, like the afternoon call.

OK, fine, we were stuck with what was. At least the sun had been down long enough that the outside temperature was close to 90. We opened all the windows to assist in any possible air movement / exchange / cooling. By about 2:15 power returned. We left fans moving, windows open - just in case - and turned off the AC for the night. I gratefully climbed back into the lift chair to get some real sleep.

Today will be brutal. Yes, we have to go out. There's a late morning PT appointment (let's hope the elevators work because it's on the 2nd floor, still a major problem), followed by almost enough time to grab lunch on our way to the surgeon's office (also 2nd floor) for my 1st post-surgery checkup and staples removal, plus a new scrip for Perc to get me through the next month. Then there's the trip to WalMart to fill that and another Rx and pick up some other necessities including dog chow. No, we can't put shopping off a few days for it to cool down. If we simply wait till late enough in the evening to get more reasonable temperatures the pharmacy will be closed.

Between each stop, we get to climb back into a car that will have been in full sun because there's no shade at any of those stops. So far nobody's installed those shade panels over parking spaces in those locations to also support solar panels. So far the car's AC has been working perfectly. It should be close to habitable by the time we hit the next stop. At least we hope so. This will be a real test for it.

Of course, filed away in the back of our minds is the question of how long the car AC will hold up as well. Maybe not so far back now, after yesterday's warning signs. I know we'll be fully alert to whether the house AC is working as soon as we walk in. I'm already debating with myself whether to ignore the proscription against full showers or swimming, should the failures keep happening.

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