Editor’s note: The following article is an op-ed, and the views expressed are the author’s own. Read more opinions on theGrio.
I just want you all to know that as of this typing, a new HVAC system is being installed in my home so this isn’t a long-term or ongoing issue. But it has lasted long enough that I’m entirely over sitting in the heat in my drawz.
On Monday evening, my AC was working just fine. I live in a three-story townhouse so some parts of the house get cooler than others. Usually, the bottom floor is freezing even if the top floor is warmer than I’d like. Around midnight, though, I heard my unit making some of the oddest noises I’d ever heard appliances make. The kind of stuff that had me up, staring into the outside hoping they’d go away. But in my heart, I knew that anything making that sound was on the way out. Sure enough, after about five minutes of squealing and then yelling (the unit, not me) the whole thing just stopped working. I checked the circuit breaker and the unit had tripped the breaker. I turned it back on and nothing happened. I also, smartly, realized that I had no idea what I was doing and thus went to sleep and called an HVAC company first thing in the morning.
I got a really quick appointment; by 10 a.m. a technician was at my house telling me my AC unit was shot (condensers and capacitors and coils, oh my) and that maybe somebody could fix it, but their company wouldn’t because of how old the unit was and warranties, etc. (Further calls to the manufacturer indicated that the entire system was, indeed, no longer covered by warranty.)
This was Tuesday. In Washington, D.C., on Tuesday, it was pretty pleasant. I think the high was in the low 80s and the mornings were in the 60s. But the Wednesday and Thursday? HOT. Like blazing hot, like so hot that when in the house, even with fans, etc. and as little on as possible, it was warm. Though my kids didn’t seem to notice; sometimes you have to save kids from themselves.
My middle kids, the 7- and 6-year-old love to sleep under a bevy of blankets. They have a bunk bed but usually sleep together on the top bunk and under like six blankets. They get up under weighted blankets and quilts and regular ol’ comforters. When it’s not burning hot in the house, I’m trying to take blankets off of them.
The kids know it’s hot in the house; it’s impossible not to. Yet and still come bedtime, my wife and I have to literally pull blankets off of them. We’ll leave the room and come back in to check on them only to find they have returned all of the super hot blankets back to the bed and they’re laid up under them…sweating. And they’re adamant that they aren’t hot and NEED blankets. It’s quite ludicrous.
For instance, on Thursday evening, with fans blowing attempting to keep some semblance of circulating air moving, the oldest barricaded himself on the top bunk and then tried to BLOCK all of the air from the fan from reaching him. And then, as soon as I took a step outside of the room, he pulled four blankets on top of himself in some arbitrary display of revolution. Meanwhile, he just looked warm. I basically had to stay in the room until they fell asleep and then move all of the blankets from near them to make sure they didn’t hotbox themselves in the middle of the night while the house’s thermostat said 85 degrees…inside.
Thankfully, my wife and I are superheroes (we’re incredible), and we can’t let our kids sweat off a few pounds per night because they are insistent that they MUST sleep under blankets. We, as a duo, believe the children are our future so we made sure they slept in as comfortable a situation as possible given our current household quandary. I think they appreciate it too, even if they didn’t say so; they woke up bright-eyed and bushy-tailed not realizing that had they not listened to us they’d be miserable, sweaty and hot.
Thankfully, my system is being replaced and we won’t have to worry about this (hopefully) anytime in the near future. But I need to get to the bottom of why these warm-blooded kids of mine who always complain about heat somehow can’t go to sleep even in 85-degree indoor, non-circulating heat without December-level blankets.
Kids, bruh. Kids.
Panama Jackson is a columnist at theGrio. He writes very Black things and drinks very brown liquors, and is pretty fly for a light guy. His biggest accomplishment to date coincides with his Blackest accomplishment to date in that he received a phone call from Oprah Winfrey after she read one of his pieces (biggest) but he didn’t answer the phone because the caller ID said “Unknown” (Blackest).
Make sure you check out the Dear Culture podcast every Thursday on theGrio’s Black Podcast Network, where I’ll be hosting some of the Blackest conversations known to humankind. You might not leave the convo with an afro, but you’ll definitely be looking for your Afro Sheen! Listen to Dear Culture on TheGrio’s app; download here.