The past couple of weeks here on Martha's Vineyard have been some of the hottest I can remember.
I'm not complaining; I like a little heat. Growing up in NJ I was used to steamy summers. And when the kids were small our little house was often sealed up for days against the heat, air conditioning running day and night.
This is our 10th summer living on the Vineyard. There's not a lot of air conditioning out here. We just open all the doors and windows and let in that amazing sea breeze. Maybe turn on a fan or two when the temps crawl over 80.
But the thermometer in my back window has hit well over 90 several days recently, and over 100 at least twice. And suddenly my children (and I use the term loosely as they're 16, 19, and 22) morph from rather reasonably articulate beings into whining spoiled toddlers.
"It's sooo HOT. I'm dying," my youngest moans yet again, sprawling across the family room couch with about 10 (okay, four) fans blowing directly upon her. "Can you please put in an air conditioner?"
She is referring to the small window air conditioner we have stored in the garage that once spent its summers in a NJ attic bedroom.
But for some reason I dig in my heels. It's not that uncomfortable with all the fans going. I mean, you don't really need to hear yourself think over the whirring of the fan blades, right? And if I put in the air conditioner I'd have to hang up sheets in doorways to trap the cool air in the family room and keep it from drifting off into the rest of my sauna-like house.
"Why don't you hang out in the basement?" I offer one more time. This is actually a great idea. The basement is finished and has a wonderful cozy room complete with couches and TV and a game system. Most importantly, it's nice and cool.
"I don't want to be in the basement. I want to be up here," she wails. "But it's too hot."
When I was growing up we didn't have any AC. Just a pitiful attic fan that my parents pretended actually made our nights a little less unbearable when all it really did was blow hot air around.
My mother would command my sister and I to strip to our underwear and go play in our unfinished concrete basement to keep cool. Sure it was dark down there, but it was at least 10 degrees cooler than the rest of the house.
If we were really lucky she'd turn the hose on us or set up the sprinkler. Or maybe even send us over to call on the trashy neighbors she didn't approve of, but who had a swimming pool.
Do my children realize how fortunate they are to live on an island off the coast of New England? Are they aware how much hotter it is in-land? And how lucky they are to have a pool, a cool finished basement, and the promise of cooler nights, courtesy of the ocean mist that rolls in like clockwork each evening?
No, of course they don't. Because lord knows, each of them has at least one friend with AC so why can't we have it too? Maybe if they were over 65 and had heart conditions I'd consider it. But I'll choose to be stubborn on this one.
"You'll live," I tell my daughter, channeling my mother.
And perhaps, in the meantime, I'll take her out for some ice cream. Ice cream, I believe, makes everyone happy.
And... the store has air conditioning.
How are you surviving the weather where you live this summer?