A Side of Rice

Hopefully Humorous (and sometimes R-rated) Musings About Life


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Two Weeks Notice

It hit me this morning. Hard. In just two weeks (and technically, very delayed from the original date), we will take our oldest son Alex to Ithaca College for his second semester of Freshman year, but only his first semester on campus.

Ithaca went entirely virtual for the Fall of 2020. Can you tell how awesome Alex thought virtual learning and living at home for his first semester as a Freshman was?

That’s probably because he was seeing lots of his high school friends post selfies on social media as they were moving into their college dorms. So he sent me this selfie of his virtual dorm room. Or, as I like to call it, the room in our house that always has clothes on the floor.

Like everyone with school-aged kids, we’ve dealt with the challenges of virtual learning. Alex’s younger brother Nick is a senior in high school this year, but he seems much more happy about the virtual learning situation.

However, that smile may only be hiding the fact that he thinks we don’t know he has been turning in assignments late or (#SoBlessed) doesn’t do them at all. Look, son, September through November is a little early to have “Senior-itis.”

At one point, I advertised that we were willing to sell the naming rights to the dining room, to help fund the boys’ college accounts. I just don’t understand why my ad didn’t generate a single inquiry, because I included a photo: Virtual study hall. Previously called dining room. Willing to sell sponsorship renaming rights to any company. Serious inquiries only.

Maybe I should have clarified that the humans were included. Or, for the right price, we wouldn’t include them.

Our boys eventually found virtual learning to be a necessary evil an unfortunate situation not something mom purposely orchestrated to make them miserable, so just get over it already.

In November, since the teenagers in the house were still schooling virtually, we decided a change of scenery was in order, and we spent a week in Myrtle Beach. The boys attended school online in the mornings and early afternoons.

Ithaca College, Myrtle Beach satellite campus

Their dad and I didn’t work, went for walks, and relaxed. We socially distanced ourselves and spent time enjoying the very sparsely populated beach.

In November, we also received news that the students were going to return to campus for the Spring semester at Ithaca.

And when we received confirmation of his move-in day in January, Alex tried hard not to express any excitement or enthusiasm.

This is my happy face, mom.

We haven’t had the heart to let our dog Mocha know that Alex’s departure is imminent. We’re not exactly sure how she is going to react to the fact that once he is on campus, we can’t visit, and he can’t come home until the semester is over. She’s likely to be devastated — Alex’s lap is her favorite.

Just like everything else about 2020 — the year that knocked us upside down, sideways, and backward — there will be nothing “normal” about this mom getting to take her oldest son to college for his Freshman year. We have to drop him off, not help with moving any of his things in, and leave immediately once everything is offloaded. Thanks, ‘Rona.

Nor will there be anything as cool as this story and video of one of his football teammates being dropped off last year.

I’m hoping the coolest thing about the drop off is me. Because while I’m thrilled and excited for him to start the next chapter of his life, I feel like I’m not nearly cool enough to keep my heart from melting. Even though I’ve had 18 years, 10 months, and 10 days to get used to the idea.

It just feels like I’ve only had two weeks.


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I’ve Got An Announcement to Make

There are a number of things I never would have thought I’d hear myself mutter in 2020. Those include, but are certainly not limited to:

What the fuck is a murder hornet?”

Oh, please. You know you’d vote for murder hornets.

“I need more fabric paint to decorate/personalize my face mask and headband.”

Glitter gold and royal blue fabric paint. But nothin’ for those grey roots starting to peek through.

“Look, I need the steps. Let’s go inside and pick up the food, instead of being so lazy and doing curbside delivery.”

Image courtesy of SafetySign.com. Because who says there isn’t money to be made in a pandemic (see also masks, hand sanitizer, and toilet paper)

“I haven’t filled up my car with gas in 2 months and I still have a full tank. And nowhere to fucking go.”

Image from the Chicago Tribune, courtesy of Paul Sancya/AP

“Well, we’ve watched everything else. So, sure, we can watch John Tucker Must Die – it’s such a masterpiece of American cinema.”

If you ask me, we should watch Bridget Jones’ Diary again.

“Oh shit. I never ordered your cap and gown. I wonder if we could borrow Noah Ferguson’s?”

Thank you to the Ferguson family for the loaner cap and gown, and the awesome packaging you put it in!

“What in the ever-loving pandemic hell do you mean you don’t expect a delivery of toilet paper for another week?”

“I really wish there were more cool memes about whatever the hell this COVID-19 thing is, so that I could share them on social media.”

And my personal favorite? “Hey genius…get dressed before you come downstairs. I’m really not interested in having all my colleagues see you walk behind me again in just your boxer briefs.”

Thank goodness no one was recording our Zoom meeting

The genius I’m referring to is my oldest son Alex. He made the guest appearance in the background of a work Zoom meeting, with about 15 of my colleagues watching.

But, I’m giving him a bit of a break because he’s a Class of 2020 Senior. And his final few months of high school have gone nothing like we ever anticipated:

  • There was no Spring Track & Field season, where he would have competed in the throwing events with his football buddies Will and Ben
  • There was no Prom
  • There was no Senior skip day
  • There was no Senior prank
  • There will be no Big 33 game for him to play in, with the other kids from Maryland who made the team.
  • There will be no Senior Week (now called SWeek) at the beach
  • There will be no graduation ceremony with his entire class
  • There will be no ‘Safe and Sound’ all night party at Adventure Park

And there was no formal, fancy, grand, scrolly-font-on-linen-paper graduation announcement to send out to family and friends, touting the fact that he had achieved this milestone.

Well, it’s not that an announcement like that wasn’t offered. It was offered, but we had no idea at the time if the scheduled June 3 graduation ceremony was going to take place at all. But that didn’t stop me from coming up with an idea for something special, to let everyone know just how special we think Alex is.

I had my amazingly talented designer friend Rebecca create a non-traditional card as an announcement. So, without further ado…

I have an announcement I’d like to make:

Cover of card

Inside of card

Back of card

A final accolade came in after the announcement was printed. Because of Alex’s accomplishments and awards for football in his Senior season, he is being inducted into the Walkersville High School Athletic Hall of Fame.

Globally, things we are familiar and comfortable with have changed. And for our family, things we are familiar and comfortable with will be changing when our oldest heads off to college this Fall.

Change and uncertainty be damned. The Rice family will be over here putting together something good. Maybe even something great. Please join us.

Congrats to all those in the Class of 2020!


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Summer Job Board for Teenagers

The other day, I was browsing through the time suck that is Pinterest…or was it the time suck that is Facebook? Either way, my time was sucked.

I came across this image of (to be read in your most cheerful, sing-songy voice) a clever way to get your kids to help out with chores all Summer:

65185699_661469297613706_7695555077636882432_n

Which made me do this:

Laugh.gif

And not because I was stoned. Or because Kelso said something funny.

It was because I have teenagers. Teenage boys, to be specific. Their idea of a Summer “chore” is having to make their own lunch by ripping into a box of Kraft Mac ‘n Cheese. Or scooping out the proper number of cups from a box of potato flakes so they can (fake) carb load for lunch.

But the image got me thinking about my ideal Summer job board for my teenage sons. Here it is:

BeckyJobChart

And when it comes to “Mom’s Choice”, this is how I roll:

Moms Choice

Got some great ideas for chores? Create your own job board stickies here.


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Top 8 Tips for Being a Volunteer Social Media Account Manager

A couple of years ago, I wrote about why I would never be put in charge of the Community sign board. The real reason, frankly, was that there were not enough symbols in the letter box for all the cuss words I would want to use.

SignBoardLetters

Yeah, I’m gonna need a lot more of these symbols

Flash-forward to a few years later, when my oldest son entered high school and I joined the Athletic Boosters. There was a volunteer opportunity to up our social media cred with a more robust Facebook page and a new Twitter account.

Easy peasy. I just post game results from the paper, shout outs to alumni, and event announcements, right?

Wrong

Here’s what I’ve learned so far when it comes to being the volunteer social media manager.

Tip #1: Be careful about posting more than one image in your twitter feed

One of the Booster accounts for a county rival posted two photos on twitter that caused an awkward appearing ‘headline.’ The red oval is where the two photos ‘combined’ in the Twitter feed, resulting in overlaps of the actual headlines, and leading to the unfortunate looking “Urbana Girls Grab Oakdale Boys” ‘headline.’

Headline merge

Tip #2: Parents will never see the posts about their own kids, so get ready for the blow back

No matter how many times you mention a sport, there will be someone whose kid is on the team and didn’t see the post. My remedy for this? I go back to every instance of me posting about that sport and tag that parent in the comments. Enjoy your ridiculous uptick in Facebook notifications, friend.

Tip #3: Tag parents on Facebook posts

Actual Facebook messenger mail I received: “I see you tagged <name of parent> when you posted about <student athlete’s> name in the paper. You didn’t tag me when <my precious angel> was named in the paper. How can you remedy that?”

I thought of replying with: “Oh my word! I had no idea <your precious angel> was your child, since:  a) the school has over 1,000 students, b) I don’t know every damn kid in the school, and 3) I don’t know your family or kid at all. Perhaps if you’d join the Boosters for the mere $25 a year membership fee, it would jog my memory when it comes to tagging your ass in every post for <my precious angel>.

Instead, I responded with: Thanks for letting me know. We’re always looking for new members and volunteers – hope to see you at a Boosters Meeting in the future!

Tip #4: Tag students on Twitter posts

They love to see themselves tagged and will “like” and “retweet”. A lot. So will their friends when they see it.

Just know that you will probably have to wade through a whole bunch of …

  • @hotbod69
  • @bootygirl4U
  • @BIGlaxstick
  • @team_balls_out

…nonsense twitter handles to find some of these athletes. Hey kids – do yourself a favor and set up a handle that reads more like someone trying to impress admissions officers at colleges, and less like you are trying to impress your potential Tinder dating pool. Except for you, Jacob Wetzel. I love your handle: @wetzhispants

Tip #5: If you are posting daily athletic contest schedules, be ready for Mother Nature to %*@! with you

I hate snow and rain, which has impacted every sport so far this year, multiple times this year. Even the indoor sports. When school is cancelled due to weather, so are all after school activities. Then they get rescheduled. Over and over.  So, be ready if Mother Nature is having a bad day/week/month/season. You’ll get carpal tunnel keeping up with all the changes.

Tip #6: You are not in charge of the @Wendys or @UMBCAthletics accounts.

While it would be a life goal of mine to be the person in charge of either of these accounts (filled with humor and snark – and getting paid for it!) I am currently NOT in charge of an account like this:

UMBCWendys

I really only got snarky/funny twice. Once, when a cross-town rival taunted our football team at a game this past Fall. We had graduated amazing groups of senior football players in 2017 and 2018, including Jacob Wetzel – the 2016 County Defensive Player of the Year, member of the 2016 State Championship team, member of the 2017 Conference Champion team, and 2017 County Offensive Player of the Year, who is now at Old Dominion University. The student section from the other team brought a sign, and I snapped a photo and tweeted about it:

Wetzhispants

I give Jacob a pass on his Twitter handle; it makes me laugh every time I have used it

And the second time, when our girls soccer team was a State finalist, and a local business wished them well.

RoysStates

I know Wendy’s knows what’s up also, but there isn’t a Wendy’s in our community.

Tip #7: If a sports emoji is missing; get creative. Literally.

We are the blue and gold Lions. Every social media post for our accounts concludes with 💙🦁💛 and then the emoji for that sport. 

For the first year, there was no softball emoji, so I used a blue diamond, for softball diamond: 💙🦁💛🔷. For lacrosse, I used the net: 💙🦁💛🥅 .  I am totally geeked out that I can now use the actual emojis:

softball lax stick

 

 

We have a swim/dive team and I made a request for a springboard/platform dive emoji from Unicode. Basically, Unicode told me I have to create an image to submit for consideration.

Since I’m not a graphic designer, here’s my submission, Unicode: 🖕   How’s that for creative?

Tip #8: This is a volunteer gig, but one that matters to your community.

It’s tough, sometimes, to take the flack, to listen to the complainers, to always be asked for more of our time and energy.  However, I keep this in mind for all my volunteer work in the community:

Who was watching

💙🦁💛


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WWTTMD (What Would This Team Mom Do)

I have never had the chore  drudgery  onus  privilege of being a team mom for any of the sports my boys have played. The list of sports since 2008 includes soccer (briefly), baseball (until this year), football and basketball (still playing both), and lacrosse (since 2014). Next Spring, we start track & field.

I have had 40 seasons (spring-summer-fall-winter) over 10 years to offer my services as team mom.  I have not volunteered even one time to actually be the team mom. However, positions I have held include:

  • team photographer
  • team fundraising organizer
  • team baker
  • team cheerleader and spirit wearer
  • team face painter (my own and others)
  • team snack maker
  • team dinner server

Of course, the position I am always actively involved in and exercise the most is team eye roller, when I hear parents  snivel  whine  bitch  offer criticism about anything team related, including (but certainly not limited to):

  • more playing time for their kid
  • location of events
  • referees
  • our coach’s play calling
  • the other team’s rudeness (coaches, players, fans)
  • why we can’t have names on uniforms
  • having to work the concession stand
  • team dinner sign ups
  • team pictures process

So, if you’d like to know what I would do as team mom (and why I will never actually be team mom), here’s the list:

Your complaint: More playing time for your kid

If I were team mom, I would tell you there are:

PlayingTime

But I don’t have time to go over all 12 tips because I have other parents who have the same  annoying damn question. So, in the interest of maximizing my time, here are all 12 tips synthesized into 12 easy words:  Not one of the kids on this team is going pro. Deal.

Your complaint: The Location of Events

If I were team mom, I would tell you that unless you want to double the time you are voluntold to spend in the concession stand, it is sweet blessed relief to travel to another team’s field so you can give that knowing look to the parents in that concession stand when you order the luke-warm diet soda and foil wrapped, smashed hotdog.

Your complaint: Referees

If I were team mom, I would tell you that we don’t have the money to fund the lasik surgery they all clearly need. And that I have no interest in heading up the fundraiser it would take to pay for it.

Lasik

(C) John McPherson/Distributed by Universal Uclick via cartoonstock.com

Your complaint: Our coach’s play calling

If I were team mom, I would tell you to volunteer your weekends and weeknights for practices and game days. This would also include listening to <insert number of kids on team here> parents tell you as a volunteer coach exactly what you are doing wrong and how to correct it. And please listen to all of these experts and then not tell them to f*ck off.

ParentCoach

Your complaint: The other team’s rudeness (players, coaches, fans)

If I were team mom, I would tell you that unless anyone from the other side (player, coach and/or fan) looks like this, just shut up and cheer your kid and our team on.

San Diego Chargers v Oakland Raiders

Your complaint: Why we can’t have names on uniforms

If I were team mom, I would pull out this sign and shove it in your face. Plus it costs money to personalize jerseys, so I will just ask you to cut a check for every player’s jersey if that shit so important to you.

 

Jersey

Your complaint: Having to work the concession stand

If I were team mom, I would tell you the money we make from concession sales helps to fund things for the sport … like parents who insist that every player get a personalized jersey every year. So, shut up and make the sno-cones.

Calm SnoCones

Your complaint: Team dinner sign ups

If I were team mom, I would bark back at you that I’m the one who has to nag the shit out of people to sign up for the 18 slots available, when there are 50+ kids on the team. Oh yeah, and it’s the same parents who sign up every week. The remaining 30+ wait until all the slots are full and will then fight over who gets to bring a package of napkins – which isn’t even on the list.

Drinkit

Your complaint: Team picture process

If I were team mom, I would remind you that Ansel Adams has no kids on the team, so Victor O’Neill (who doesn’t have any kids on the team either) and his Studio flunky assigned to this team on this day are the people in charge.  Just to be clear, there are also two important elements that I don’t control. They are 1)  that your kid joined the team late and missed picture day, and/or 2) whether or not you would have preferred the jersey with their name on it for the picture.

danger

So, now that I’ve covered the basics of team momming, let me know if you have any questions.

dumblooks


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Fashion Weak

As the mother of two boys, I resigned myself long ago to the fact that when it comes to clothing, my choices to outfit them would be limited to dinosaurs, animals, super heroes, planes, construction equipment, stripes, and sports.  As they have gotten older, the choices narrowed even further to plain, minimal stripes, and (the very expensive) sports team/logo wear.

My boys hate the feel of jeans, so when we find a pair of sweatpants/shorts that fit and are deemed cool enough to be seen it, we buy them in every color they come in. Which brings us back to limits once again, as the color choices they have started gravitating to in their teen years are shades of grey, navy, and black. Hooray for the neutrals, because they will go with any of the outrageously expensive logo wear/sports team tops they pick up from the floor and sniff before shrugging their shoulders and putting on the offensive smelling item anyway.

Recently, we relented and went shopping for Fall/Winter clothes for our oldest and a few items to fill in the gaps of the hand-me-downs for our youngest. Because who doesn’t want to spend a Saturday evening in crowded rural mall, shopping with two teenage boys who could care less about clothing?

thisgirl

Our first stop was Old Navy. My husband and I spent a lot of time trying to decipher what “I dunno”, “whatever” and “sure” really meant as we held up options for our 14 year old to decide on. It got even tougher to tell what he thought as he moved into the non-verbal responses of “major eyeroll”, “shrug”, and “heavy sigh while snapping one’s head back”.

Which pretty much made me do this:

eyeroll

After finding a few sweatpants styles and some long sleeve shirts that fit – and buying them in the three neutral colors available – we headed to H&M. I’d heard the clothing was affordably priced. What I hadn’t heard about was how much I wouldn’t be hearing after being in a store that blasts hipster emo tunes. #OldPeopleProblems

The clothing options were minimal at best and we quickly determined that our decidedly non-emo sons would not find anything of interest. On our way out, I spotted this:

img_1919

$30 for a sweatshirt that comes with holes already in it? Uh…that’s a big “fuck no.”

I immediately snapped a picture and commented, “If you boys want something like this, I’ll take you to my parent’s house and you can pick one from granddad’s closet. For free.”

Next it was on to American Eagle, where I spotted this and told my husband “if you become a stripper and wear these sparkly blue underwear, perhaps we can afford all these clothes we have to buy the kids.”

img_1985

The salesgirl smirked and asked if she could help me find them in my husband’s size. My husband then rolled his eyes, shrugged, and let out a heavy sigh while snapping his head back as he headed toward the door.

By the time we got to the fourth store, my sons’ and husband’s enthusiasm for the whole shopping excursion had really waned (as if it going lower than from where it started could even be a possibility). Their diminished enthusiasm was almost inversely proportional to their growing hunger for dinner. My oldest spent a solid three minutes in the store, where he picked out 3 shirts (same style, different colors) and quickly made a beeline for the exit to discuss restaurant options with his dad and younger brother.

Our shopping trip had taken less than an hour and a half. I think we spent more time on dinner at the restaurant when you count driving to it, waiting for a seat, ordering, eating, paying the check, and driving home.

Fast forward to last night and just three weeks after buying the new clothes. My oldest walked through the family room and I yelled “Stop!”.

“Are those a pair of your new sweatpants?”, I inquired.

“Yes,” was his response.

My close to 6′ tall, size 13 shoe-wearing oldest stood while I took a photo. The new sweatpants are already too short.

img_2049

He’ll just have to hope he doesn’t grow any taller because I can’t update his wardrobe with new navy/grey/black sweatpants every three weeks.

Boys’ fashion is certainly not for the weak of heart. Or the weak of wallet.

 

 


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My Mom Interest Survey

At the beginning of each school  year, my kids have to fill out forms with answers to a bunch of questions so that the teachers will know who the potential trouble-makers are have a sense of the personalities in their classroom.

My youngest started 8th grade this year and filled out the form. He showed it to me and you can certainly understand why I was looking for an eraser after reading it:

nick-form

In case you can’t read it, the second of the two common activities he does when he gets home is watch YouTube. Just another check mark in the #ParentingWin column, folks.

I did have to admit, though…it is Nick. 100%.

It also got me thinking. How would I fill out a form like this today? So I typed up a copy of the same questions, printed it out, and started writing in my answers.

becky-form-final

Hard to read? Here, let me make it easier for you to get a peek into my psychosis psyche.

top-half-final-version

bottom-half-final-version

What this really tells you about me is:

  • I keep telling myself every day “50 is the new 40”
  • I think this election has been a shit show, and out of 350 million people, I can’t believe these two yahoos are the best candidates we have to put forward
  • I’m a snob about the tequila I drink
  • I must have skipped the chapter on parent/teacher conferences in What to Expect When You’re Expecting
  • I read too much People magazine
  • At best, my taste in movies is questionable and relatively non-Oscar worthy
  • I shouldn’t be in charge of the music playlist at a kids’ dance
  • I am deluded into thinking “perfect” wives cook, clean, and do laundry
  • I fully acknowledge my husband didn’t get the perfect wife (but you shouldn’t feel too bad for him — because I’m so awesome in spite of not cooking, cleaning, and doing laundry. And humble. I’m very humble.)
  • And finally, I think karma needs to step up its game against people with no/a very questionable moral compass

I’m looking at you Trump, Hillary, and  fuzz-out .

 


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My 20/20 Vision Sometimes Gets a Little Blurry

Today is Alex’s first day of high school. I was able to obtain the obligatory first day of school picture. Evidently, once you hit high school (or teenager status), smiling is no longer allowed  cool  something you do, just so you can annoy the snot out of your mother.

IMG_1755

This is my happy face, mom.

Was it only a few short months ago that the parents of 8th graders were jammed into a school gym with no air conditioning to celebrate the milestone of middle school graduation? Editor’s note: Sorry for the quality of the video – that’s what happens when you are a lame parent and don’t think to film the entire room, so you have to steal  swipe  use some fancy technology to copy as best as possible an uploaded version to Facebook by a parent who does have their shit together  was thinking it would be a good idea.

Was it only a few short months ago that my kid was already practicing his ‘we shant smile for anything when mom asks’ look, so that it took at least three tries to get a semi-usable photo of him next to the school mascot?

IMG_1372

This is as happy as my face gets, mom.

Was it only a few short months ago that the video compilation of pictures moms and dads submitted was played at the ceremony?

Was it only a few short months ago that the parents, grandparents, and guardians in attendance realized there was one problem?

Tshirt

You see, our 20/20 vision for these kids’ future was a bit blurry. Because tears of pride will do that to you.

Whole class

Walkersville High School Lions Class of 2020


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Naked and Afraid … We’ll Never Have A/C Again

Seven years ago, my parents gifted us with a portion of some found money from an inheritance. We took our unexpected windfall and bought this:

Our island

That’s right – a poster of a tropical island. We hung it above the master bathroom tub and began dreaming about what it would be like to enjoy amazing alcoholic drinks on the beach in the picture.

Which, in my mind, would be something classy like this:

Classy drinking gif

But would actually turn out like this:

Cinderella gif

With the money left over after the poster purchase, we decided to buy something that would really up our street cred as cool parents. Our kids thought that meant a family vacation to Atlantis.

What we actually invested in was a new furnace and A/C unit. So, as you can image, the kids were totally on board:

Wait-say-what-GIF

Fast forward to Thursday of this past week — which also happened to be the hottest/most humid day of the year so far. I got this text from my husband:

Text Message

You would totally understand my WTF, if you knew our history with this particular unit (Carrier sucks). It’s gone up on us three times (Carrier sucks) in the 6 years we’ve had it (Carrier sucks). Twice it happened right after the technician came for the semi-annual check (Carrier sucks).

Per the beleaguered technician who showed up, the upgraded unit we had been convinced to purchase has “known issues”, but not well known enough for Carrier (sucks) to replace it. Upon his inspection, our “options” were:

  1. Stretch your hammies, because you are about to bend over and grab your ankles. Hard.
  2. Have the compressor replaced, but pay for the labor and cross your fingers nothing else goes wrong before the warranty totally expires. And if something else does go wrong, you’ll still have to pay for the labor. Even though Carrier (sucks) knows there is a problem with this unit.
  3. Buy a new unit, that will come with a new warranty. Don’t forget to be grateful that the new unit is being offered to you at a greatly reduced price, as a favor from Carrier (sucks) because they are aware of the problems with this unit.

"Rock, Hard Place" Road Sign with dramatic clouds and sky.

We opted for the new unit at the cost of a family vacation we won’t be taking this Summer for a consumer-screwing “generously reduced” price. To add insult to injury we had to wait until the following Tuesday — six miserably hot days — for the new unit to be installed.

But the experience wasn’t a total downer. Actually, we learned quite a bit. And I’m happy to share my new-found knowledge with you:

  1. Get naked! Or as close to naked as you are comfortable with. Because temperatures outside when there is no breeze will mean the main floor of your house will be about 89 degrees in the evening after a day in the mid-90s with high humidity.
  2. Sleep naked! Your upstairs bedroom is probably 10 degrees hotter than downstairs, and the beast that sleeps in between you and your partner is 75 pounds and wears a fur coat all year. Or, you could sleep naked and downstairs, where it is 10 degrees cooler. Unfortunately, there’s really only enough room for your kids on the couch.IMG_1557
  3. Save electricity! Turn off every light in the house to reduce heat production. Besides, you’ll need to save some money for the new “greatly reduced” A/C unit you are purchasing, and for the unexpected expenses of #9 you will now be incurring.
  4. No cooking! There’s no reason to add even more heat to the house by turning on the oven to make dinner. Or breakfast. Or lunch. Which is pretty much my motto, even when the A/C is working.
  5. Don’t obsess! It’s hot. It’s fucking hot. Checking the thermostat every 1/2 hour won’t change that. And it will just make you more angry every time you see that “system malfunction” message. System Malfunction
  6. Go swimming! If you are fortunate enough to have a pool in your backyard, your community, or one close by with pretty lax security so there’s little chance you’ll be arrested if you break in, go get wet. No pool access or don’t need another blemish on your rap sheet? Take a cold shower.
  7. Have empathy! Take special pity on the members of your family who can’t get any more naked than they are. We fed the dogs ice constantly.  And we tried not to complain too much when they were hogging the fans.
  8. Get creative! Remember that ice bucket your parents gave you as a Christmas gift last year? Fill it with a large bag of ice and place a fan behind it to blow cool air across the room. Stand in front of it and bitch about how it’s barely cooling the room off, let alone your naked body. Then notice the light of your neighbor’s fire pit and fantasize about how it’s probably cooler by their fire pit than it is standing naked in your family room in front of a big tub of ice. IMG_1553
  9. Spend Money! The first night of being A/C-less, we ran out and bought two big fans that cost us $60. IMG_1552We spent money on ice (see #7 and #8) twice a day. We ate dinner out. And for some reason (probably because we were delusional from the heat), we went to an air-conditioned sports mega-store and bought our youngest son a bike, along with a bike rack to haul around all four of our family bikes.
  10. Avoid sex! Because hot, grumpy, and miserable is the least sexy thing you can imagine. Which — in an ironic twist — is a waste of the whole naked thing, I’m afraid.