The dog days of summer are here, and it’s not pretty. It’s not pretty at all. I’m persistently perspiring, and the co-pilot is about to melt. He’s really, really not happy with this current experiment I’m running: this year, despite the fact that we live in a desert area where the temperature frequently flirts with triple digits (and sometimes walks right up to them and gives them a big kiss), I decided that we’re not turning on the central air this year.

Instead, to keep the house livable in the heat, we’re relying on a window-mounted evaporative cooler that we bartered a TV and DVD player back in January. Which work great in our dry, desert climate, for about 20 hours of the day. Now, the other four hours…those are the tough ones. The ones where the livingroom temperature creeps up through the 80s, until around 7:30, when the outside temperature starts to drop, triggering a chain reaction of cooling that brings the temperature inside back down.

I can handle this. I was born in the tropics and raised in a desert that’s much hotter than this one. I’m good. The kids don’t seem to notice much one way or another, pretty much like I didn’t when I was a kid. The co-pilot, on the other hand? Well, like I said, he’s not happy. How could he be? He generally looks like he’s about to either melt or catch fire. Sometimes both, as improbable as that sounds.

And I sympathize. I really do. It’s hard enough to suffer for convictions when they’re yours. Suffering for someone else’s convictions, however, is pretty miserable. And yet he hasn’t broken. He hasn’t rebelled. He hasn’t shut the windows, and defiantly returned us to the glories of central air. He’s been a little grumpy, but he hasn’t flipped his lid, or the switch.

So here’s to you, dear co-pilot, builder of worm bins (and partial chicken coops), wrangler of chickens. Thanks for melting with me, and melting my heart.

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