Tuesday, June 20, 2017

On The Cusp Of The Summer Solstice

The summer solstice (Northern Hemisphere) will occur tonight at 9:24 p.m. Pacific Daylight Time, so I am going to dig in my heels and say that today is not the first day of summer. If we wait until tomorrow we can go for shaved ice with T once he returns from bike camp.

It's hot. I don't mind, really, except I need to remember to put on sandals if I intend to walk outside on pavement. The official max temperature was 102° yesterday, with a forecast of 106° for today, and 107° tomorrow. The A/C kicked on before 9 a.m. today, and that's with it set to 80°. Even set at 80° (82° overnight) it ran for 9 hours yesterday. I expect it to run for at least 12 hours today.

We could try to do without A/C. I grew up without it, and scientists say it is nearly 8-10 degrees warmer now than it was then (okay, those number are for 50 years ago and I am talking about 40 years ago, but still, it's hotter), but we could make it work. People have to, because not everyone can afford housing with A/C and/or the electricity to run it.

So we'd adjust, getting up earlier and then estivating during the hottest part of the day before taking advantage of the slightly cooler late evening hours.

The biggest question on a morning like today is To bake, or not to bake ... because baking heats up the house, but not baking might result in insufficient snacks and the wasting of bananas that got so ripe they weren't even fit for the freezer (too soft).

I baked.

In the middle of baking the power went out, then tried to come back on, then went out again for about a full minute. Just long enough for me to wonder what I was going to do about muffins in the oven (which, although it is gas, doesn't run without electricity). I had clothes in the washer as well, but those I could have finished in the bathtub, so that wasn't a big concern. More worrisome would have been the food in the freezers and refrigerator. Oh, and the A/C.

The power grid struggles to provide all the necessary power to the region on hot days. They ask us to cut back, and we do, not running the vacuum, washing machine, or dishwasher in the afternoon, and keeping that A/C temperature bearable but not frigid.

It's days like this that I remember that some day we are going to install a solar system, one we own, not leased. Preferably before the federal tax credits expire. I'd prefer a system with a good battery bank so that we can use our own power even after dark.

We're talking about window awnings, too, as we know our house used have them (the tracks are still up). The front of the house faces mostly west (perhaps we could say WSW) and the front rooms get very hot in the afternoons. The sun is welcome in winter, but less so in summer. Overall, someone was thinking when they built our house: the side of the house facing south is mostly protected by a nice carport.

The muffins have been baked, the laundry is hanging, the vacuuming is finished. It's time for a bath, I think. Then, on this last day of spring, we'll do our errands/appointments and then hide inside the house, away from the smog and heat. Come 9:24 p.m., I'll welcome the first night of summer with a cold drink on the porch, my feet up, and the porch fan on high. It will be cooler in the house, but I'd rather spend the moment outside anyway.

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