The Dog Days of Summer
Without Air Conditioning

I have written hundreds of essays over the past handful of years regarding Randy Pausch’s The Last Lecture. . After watching his Last Lecture, it woke me up to my two dances with death. One of the things that Pausch pushes is thanking people for assisting you in life. Dance with death a couple of times and you will realize that your clock is ticking. While I have always been very appreciative for any help on my journey down my yellow brick road, watching The Last Lecture pushed me further than I had been.

The first half of July this year has been very hot. Unless you are in your car, no one is out walking around in the sweltering temperatures. Everyone stays at home or goes to work in an air-conditioned office. To be honest with you, I lived in Pennsauken, NJ in the late 40s. It surely was hot in the summers, and we didn’t have air conditioning. However, I don’t recall complaining to my parents about it being too hot. That being said, seven decades later, I complained about the heat.

Prior to the heat wave, I had called Hiscox Service, my heating and air conditioning company, which I had used for years. They are located on US-6 in Valparaiso, IN. I wanted them to do their annual checking of my air conditioner. Jeremy, who takes care of my heating and a/c, checked everything. However, the coolant in the system was low. He refilled it but added that there may be a leak in the system. While I heard his concern, I assumed that it would be good for another summer.

It was good…for another two days. By that time, the coolant had completely leaked out of the a/c unit. However, that was a couple of days prior to the 4th of July. Jeremy returned several days later after the holiday and determined that his original concern was correct. He jotted down the size of a new unit that I needed, which meant that he’d have to order a new unit and then schedule an installation.

So, on July 12th, my new a/c was delivered and installed, which meant that I lived in a house where the temperatures ranged from 80-95 degrees during the day for two weeks. During the night, the temperature only went down by a couple of degrees.

It was difficult to write essays and teach online due to the heat and humidity. Sometimes, I’d put Ginger in my car, and we’d go for a drive just to cool off. We both made it through the heat ordeal, but I was really concerned about Ginger.

When the two installers came to put in the new a/c unit, Ginger wanted to watch. She was only slightly interested in staying inside the house watching Steve work on connecting the a/c to the furnace.

Ginger wanted to supervise the work from the outside, which she did.

So, Ginger sat watching the installation done from the outside by Ed. She seemed patient. However, both the installers would play with her when they needed something from the truck. It was as if she was thinking, “Let’s get this job done quickly so that we can have fun playing.”

Finally, all the installation was completed, and it was playtime for Ginger. When they left, Ginger and I went inside watching excitedly the inside temperature drop from 90 to 72 degrees and humidity from 78 to 60%. It was then that I remembered living in Pennsauken with no air conditioning in the summers. Gone were the dog days of the summer, at least inside our home.