The things we take for granted.
What did folks do in olden times, before the invention of modern-day amenities? And I am not referring to things like heated floors in your bathroom, or pot fillers by your stove. I am speaking of things like lights and refrigerators, dishwashers and washing machines, and in the summer, when it is so hot outside that your glasses keep fogging up (hey, let’s add glasses to the list and throw in the invention of penicillin for good measure), when it is so hot outside that you literally could cook an egg on your driveway — what did anyone do before the invention of the air conditioner?
I grew up in a house with central air. Husband #1 grew up in a house with central air. And yet these two geniuses (I am referring to myself and husband #1) bought a house that did not have central air. Apparently, we were only concerned with a bathroom in the master bedroom and the fact that the house was so clean when we bought it we could eat off of the floor — and I am not even exaggerating. I was nine months pregnant with son #2, weighing in at, well, we won’t go into it, and I just wanted a clean house. Didn’t even think twice about the rickety wall units that emitted clouds of smoke when you first turned them on. “Oh, that always happens, just needs some time to warm up,” we were told. I was so tired and pregnant, you could have told me that little elves came in at night and cleaned the windows. I didn’t really care.
The house we had seen before this one smelled like someone died in the basement. I had to waddle out of that one pretty quickly, for fear of puking all over the really ugly basement carpeting. But everything happens for a reason, and we were very excited about our new home. And about making it ours.
We moved in with baby #1 and baby #2 and my days were spent entertaining these adorable little creatures. The heat didn’t faze us, nothing fazed us, because we were in a bubble of nursing, sleeping, playing, nursing, napping, screaming, playing, nursing, sleeping, and so on and so forth and what have you. And then baby #3 decided to come along to make things even more interesting.
Now this cutie was born on Friday, September 1, and it was a very hot weekend when we had his shalom zachor. I, of course, was not there, because I was still in the hospital, all alone, but that is another column altogether. Anyway, so the shalom zachor is literally steaming — like there is actual steam rising in the room, filled with all of the lovely friends who decided to come and share in our simcha. But the sweat was dripping and I heard it was mildly stifling. So when the shalom zachor was over, my father-in-law said, “That’s it. I am getting you guys central air.”
God bless Grandpa Ganchrow. So for 18 years we have continued to sing grandpa’s praises, and for the most part, the AC has been great. And if we ever had a problem, all I had to do was call Don the Sta-Cool guy, and he would come to Teaneck all the way from Monsey to help us out. A real mensch.
And now let us fast forward 18 years. The upstairs unit is not being very cooperative. Let’s just say it doesn’t like staying on. Or cooling anything down. In fact, as I am putting together this little work of prose, the new amenity in my house is the 83 degree sauna that used to be my master bedroom. Come on over and take a shvitz! It is quite relaxing, and so very good for your pores! Now if it were up to my dear husband #1, we might keep it as a sauna and just put the house on the market, but, alas, I think we might have to bite the bullet and get it fixed.
After all, when my future daughters-in-law come over, God willing, at the right time, they will already have a crazy, but also funny, mother-in-law to talk about, so at least I want the temperature to be comfortable. Because I’m going to be that kind of mother-in-law. Please keep your snickering to a minimum.
I hope your AC, along with all of your other amenities, is working properly and making this time of year even more enjoyable!
Banji Ganchrow of Teaneck might actually make it to the beach next weekend. That will be a fun adventure if she doesn’t get harpooned. But if she does, it will definitely make a great column!