Monday, June 20, 2011

THE WAR IS ON! by Diane Kelly

Summer in north Texas. Ugh. Surely hell can’t be any hotter than this!

Yep, we’ve been battling the heat. But unlike the Dallas Mavericks, who successfully battled the Miami Heat for the national championship (neener-neener, Lebron!), we are losing this war.

Battle number one involved the upstairs air conditioning unit. The system developed a leak three years ago, but despite a dozen visits to our house, fluorescent fluid run through the unit, and a virtual dismantling of the entire system, the tech was unable to find this elusive leak. The A/C was recharged several times with coolant, and we’d eke through another month or so. The only upside of this problem was that the upstairs space includes the game room and two bedrooms, all of which are used exclusively by our teenaged son and daughter. The warm upstairs temperature lulled them into a droopy-eyed lethargy, so at least they lacked the energy to give us the usual teenage rebellion and drama. We recently replaced the entire system, including the ductwork, and now, nearly eight-thousand dollars later, the upstairs is tolerable. Not cool. Tolerable. Apparently, even a brand-new two-ton unit is no match for day after day of 100-plus temperatures.

The soaring temperatures are also causing problems with our water heater. For some reason, the architect who designed our house placed the water heater in the attic. I guess he thought it would be a hoot if the thing leaked and came crashing through our ceiling. At any rate, after an extreme hailstorm a couple years ago, we had to get the roof replaced. The roofing company rep convinced us it would be a good idea to place air vents along the angles of the roof to help air circulation in the attic. He assured us the vents would keep the attic cooler and lower our electric bills. We’ve seen no reduction in our bills, but what we have experienced is the vents providing the perfect amount of airflow to blow out the pilot light on our water heater. Before we take a shower, we have to test the water to see if it’s hot and, if not, make a trip up into the attic to reignite the darn pilot light.

The final battle involves varmints. Ants, desperate to find water, keeping finding their way into the house. We’ve sprayed so much Raid and Black Flag around the house it smells like a chemistry lab. So pleasant. Of course the chemical smell is sometimes overpowered by the musty stench of wet dog. Our Dalmation-mix dog has decided that taking a dip in our backyard pond is the perfect way to cool off. And what better way to spread the joy then running back inside and shaking muddy water all over the place?

I have found one good way to cool off, though. It involves a lime-flavored concoction in a salt-rimmed glass.

Help! How do you beat the summer heat? Post your suggestion here, then email your mailing address to and I’ll send you a fun swag bag!

Diane Kelly's debut novel, Death, Taxes, and a French Manicure, will be released on November 1st and is available for pre-order now at online booksellers.


Christie Craig said...


I'm with you. It's hot!!!

Pass the margarita, please.


Carolnb said...

Are your titles "Christmas in High Heels" and "Sweetheart in High Heels" in print format? If so, do you have an isbn and publisher for ordering them?

I tried writing to your email and you said to go here. I am an Acquisitions Librarian trying to track down information for purchase.

traveler said...

I deal with the summer heat by drinking carbonated water through the day, walking either early in the morning or the evening, eating lightly and showering frequently.

B. A. Binns said...

Me and the pool renew our intimate acquantiance during the summer heat. And I rediscover the joy of air-conditioned movie houses.

And there's always good, olf-fashioned Ice Tea.

Brandy said...

I place bottled waters in the freezer until they've reached the slushie stage and then drink them. I also keep all the blinds closed in the house, have ceiling fans in almost every room and spent LOTS of time at the Y's pools. (The olympic sized pool is kept at 74 degrees-trust me BRRRRRRR!)

Jane said...

I also keep some water in the freezer. During lunch I'll sometimes head into a department store or any clothing store for the air conditioning.

Diane Kelly said...

Margaritas and a pool sound wonderful!!!!! And great idea about sticking water bottles in the freezer. I think I'd be tempted to tuck the frozen bottles in my undies and bra to keep cool. : )

Gemma Halliday said...

Hi Carolnb -

I sent you an email re: the High Heels titles. If you need more info, feel free to email me at: gemmahalliday at gmail dot com