I was driving back to school this spring and I got pulled over. I guess I had kind of lost focus on my speed because I was thinking about all my assignments. I had a quiz, two papers, and two presentations that week and all this was going through my head as I was driving back to school The police officer pulled me over and explained how fast I was going. I tried to reason with him but the officer did not care one little bit. He issued me an appearance ticket. The courthouse was scalding hot when I showed up to plead my case. The receptionist very impolitely informed me that their central air broke and that it won’t be fixed anytime soon. So, I sat in the courtroom and waited for my chance to plead my case. Of course I went absolute last, so I had been sitting in the courtroom for hours sweating away in my suit. By the time it was my turn to talk to someone about a plea deal I was at wits end. I was sitting in the courtroom without air conditioning for far too long and I was cranky. I told person talking to people about potential plea’s that I feel like sitting in their courtroom with no HVAC should be punishment enough and they should cut me a break. The prosecutor then proceeded to give me the full ticket cost and no bargain. I told them to take the money and put it towards having an HVAC technician come in and fix their torture chamber of a courtroom.
It was bound to happen eventually. I knew that I had been too lucky in the last five years of teaching. I was finally called up to teach summer school. I had hoped to get away without having to teach during the summer for one more year. Sadly that is not the case. For the entire six weeks of summer I will be spending half of my day inside a classroom with students who did not want to do the work during the regular school year, what made people think that they would want to do it now? I was bummed but I knew there was no way out of it. It is sort of like jury duty, you just have to grin and bear it. The first week of summer school went by pretty quickly. At least the room that I was in had air conditioning. Only the classrooms on the bottom floor of the school were allowed to have air conditioners. I guess administration was afraid of one falling and hurting someone from one of the top floors. Week two however was the hottest week of the summer and of course halfway through the week the air conditioner stopped working. I knew I was not going to survive four more weeks of summer school without and air conditioner. I was not happy about the current situation. The school principal promises me that he will have it fixed right away. I hope he does. I will not be happy if I come in next Monday and there is not a working air conditioner in my room.
I absolutely hate grocery shopping. It takes so long to pack up the kids and the stroller for the baby, who is too small to sit in the grocery cart and double check that I have everything, my wallet, list etcetera. It takes to much time to turn around and go back to the house to get anything that was forgotten. The kids are generally well behaved. It only gets really frustrating if there are a lot of other people in the store. It is not easy to maneuver a shopping cart and a baby in a stroller down busy grocery isles. I particularly dislike having to take the kids with me in the summer time. They just want to play outside or swim in the pool. On really hot days it takes longer for them to fall asleep for their naps, the heat is just too much for them and they can get very grumpy.At least while we are in the car I can turn the air conditioning on and everyone can ride far more comfortably. Amazingly for how hot it is outside and how wonderful the air conditioning in the car feels. When we are in the grocery store I actually put on a light sweater and the baby covered himself with his blanket. The cool air conditioning in the grocery store became too cool as we continued shopping. Stepping back into the summer sun felt wonderful on our cool skin. The comfortable feeling of cool skin and warm sun did not last very long, by the time I got the kids strapped into their seats and the groceries packed into the car, I was sweating and the kids were grumbling about being too hot and needing ice pops to cool off.
I am a student teacher right now and I have an older lady as a substitute. This older lady has no idea what to do with technology in general. It is kind of annoying since I have things to get done and now I have to do her work. The smartboard is like a unicorn to her and the computers just plain confuse her. I am now glad there are things that happen automatically in the school. Thank goodness we have no access to the HVAC unit at the school or a thermostat. I do not also want to handle the heating and cooling of the room. I have needed to explain everything to her and in detail. It is kind of exhausting handling her confusions, my work and now I am dealing with small children. I feel like I should be the one running the heating, cooling, lighting and everything to do with the room. It is amazing how helpless some people are. Especially the older generation has no idea what to do when technology is present. How has she not adapted with the times? Does she not use a smartphone and smart thermostat? What does she use? What about for zone control air conditioning? I wonder if she just uses normal fans in the home. It is bizarre to me that she does not know any adaptations in our world. How does someone live in our world who does not understand simple computers and smartboards? It is going to be a long day for me guiding this woman through the process.
I was thinking about conductors and insulators the other day. In science class kids learn about good conductors of heat and insulators. I remember not really getting how to tell which is which until we learned about walking on coals. Walking on coals can be done because the wood insulates the heat. This means all the heat is absorbed into the wood. Additionally the wood has pockets of air that let out the heat. That means you are not stepping on an open flame. The wood coals in reality are not that hot. Also in a coal walk you move quickly to get to one side. I find it interesting heating systems do not really pay attention to conductors and insulators of heat. My gas furnace has a glass pane on it. The glass is a good conductor of heat. The heat is in the glass and it makes it super hot. Anytime I go in front of my furnace I worry about burning myself. The glass gets so hot that it is very scary. Really metals should not be a prominent component in a heating unit. The metal gets too hot that it is impossible to touch. I never can clean my heating unit if I has just been on. Also I worry about my small children touching the hot glass on the heating unit. Obviously whoever made the furnace did not think about conductors and insulators. They must have made the furnace with what materials look best. The heater looks great, it just can get kind of dangerous.
When I was in college I was a diver on our swim team. I always was in the pool or on the diving board. The swim team was my life all throughout college. Once I graduated I made sure to live near home where my family pool was located. Now that I am married and with a home, I had to get my own pool. There are so many expenses with a pool I found. I gave up on looking into different diving boards, they are too expensive. For right now I am focusing on the pool. I want an inground pool that is heated. I refuse to swim in a freezing cold pool. It doesn’t have to feel like a hot tub, in fact it can be quite cool. But I do require some form of heat. The problem I was seeing is that a heater for a pool is quite expensive. After doing some research I found out that a boiler system can be used to heat your pool. Guess what heating system I have in my home? I own a boiler system. I use the boiler to heat my house and additionally my family’s water. It was such a relief to learn that my boiler can serve another function. The boiler is honestly more crucial to my life than my wife. If the boiler gave up one day my whole life would go up in flames. Now that I know I can heat my pool with existing equipment, I can spend more money on the actual pool.
I have been teaching young students spelling words as directed by the school curriculum. We have a set format on what we teach and how we teach. We get a list of spelling words that we need to teach the students. This most recent week we received the list and furnace was one of the words. I always have the students read the word aloud and attempt to give a definition. Next the students try to use the word in a sentence. For starters the kids could not even say the word. Then once I told them, they did not know what it was. I did not know how to define furnace for young students. It is a forced air, central heating system. It can be gas, oil or electric. The fuel source depends on your home and how energy efficient you want to be. Gas is more abundant but has several health and safety risks. Oil is more expensive but the furnace lasts longer. Electric is more costly to work but it will not have any potential hazards. You can’t exactly share all of this knowledge with younger students. What do I tell them? I basically tried to compare the furnace to the heating system in Home Alone. I also said it is like a warm fire but in a machine. It was a terrible explanation but young kids do not need to know what a furnace is. Who deemed that the word furnace was right for seven year old children? I was mad about the word and the kids hated it too.
My mother went to great pains to raise my brother and I as conscientious individuals. Any time we were doing something wrong, whether it was being wasteful or not considering the feelings of others, she would reprimand us and make us repeat after her, exactly what the mistake had been. I used to hate how strict and heavy handed she was, but in retrospect I am glad she went about it the way that she did. No matter what somebody might say about me or my brother, there is no disputing that our mother did everything in her power to raise us right. Even the most simple things are still evidence of our good upbringing. For example, last month my HVAC system had to be upgraded. The old system at my house simply was not heating or cooling properly anymore. It was a long time coming to be honest, as that old HVAC system was original to the house, which was built over fifty years ago. Of course I wanted the new climate control system to be energy efficient. I was sick of paying staggering bills every month for mediocre temperature control. I also wanted to make sure that I got a good deal on the new heating and cooling equipment. Luckily, an old friend of mine runs the local HVAC supply shop, so I knew I could turn to him for advice. In the end, after doing some extensive climate control research and consulting, I think I got my new system for a third of the cost of most HVAC bundles out there.
It is a Saturday afternoon in the middle of May. I have been looking forward to this day for about three weeks. It is the first day, in a very long time, that I have nothing scheduled. I have no need to go into work. I have no family commitments, no need to buy groceries, and no household projects started. My plan was to spread a blanket on my back deck, lay in the sun with a big glass of iced tea, and read a book. I figured that in the middle of May, I could count on a nice, sunny day. I was even hoping to have a bonfire in the evening, and maybe roast some marshmallows. Instead, my day has been ruined by the weather. It is so cold and rainy outside that I actually have my furnace running. There’s no hint of sunshine in the sky, and no hope of spending any time outside. Instead of drinking iced tea, I am drinking hot tea. Instead of getting a tan, I am wrapped in a thick blanket. I keep bumping up the thermostat a little higher every hour. I can’t believe that I’m going to be paying a heating bill in May. The spring weather this year has been absolutely terrible. I’m worried that I’ll still be operating the furnace in July. I certainly don’t need to worry about air conditioning. It feels more like winter than spring outside. All of my spring flowers are blooming and in danger of being killed by frost. I am very disappointed in how I am spending my Saturday.
At my house, we call my husband “Toilet Man.” This title is because we constantly have problems with our toilet. My poor husband is always the one stuck dealing with these problems. We certainly can’t afford to call a plumber every time the toilet isn’t working right. I’m not sure if the issues are caused by our hard water, ancient plumbing system, or our family of five relying on a single toilet. Sometimes the toilet runs and runs, using up all of our water. Sometimes the toilet continually clogs, and flushing becomes a rare and awesome achievement. The toilet frequently leaks all over the floor. We have learned to jiggle the handle, hold the handle down, and use very little paper. We replace the toilet every couple of years, but it doesn’t seem to make a difference. We’ve bought the cheapest toilet available, and also invested in expensive, state-of-the-art models. We probably need to have our entire plumbing system replaced, but that is a costly and very involved project. I have paid to have the sewer pumped, hoping this would help, but there was no improvement. My husband is so proficient at replacing toilets, that he handles the whole job in under an hour. Whenever there is a problem with the toilet, the kids begin to chant, “Toilet Man.” My husband raises his plunger up high, and then gets to work. We keep replacement parts on hand at all times. We have wax rings, flappers, and even extra toilet seats. We have a variety of sizes and styles of plungers.