Estrogen-Packed Battle Axe

Willis Haviland Carrier. I didn’t know who that was either until I looked it up. This darling man invented the first modern electrical air conditioning unit in 1902. People had been attempting to cool air for thousands of years and he finally made it practical. Why don’t we have a day for him? I think that millions of peri-menopausal and menopausal women around the world would love to take a day to celebrate the man that took the edge off of this hormonal hell. I would think men would want to honor him for the same reason. I think there will be a special place in Heaven for Mr. Carrier.

I’m not sure how people really survived prior to Mr. Carrier’s invention. I was watching “The Tudors” the other day and in the episode there was supposed to have been a heat wave. They showed characters layered in velvet and fur with sweat running down them. I try not to romanticize the past and definitely not that period. Most people that do romanticize the past usually place themselves in a more important position than they would have been in reality. After a day or three of not bathing, no tooth care, dragging your clothing through the straw covered floor full of rodent excrement and picking their hair out of your food before you eat it, I think most would have some more appreciation for life today.

The house I grew up in was an old farm house with meager insulation. Mom and Dad converted the attic into a large open area with window dormers where we had bedrooms prior to another room addition. It didn’t take a day with Mr. Science to figure out heat rises. I don’t think we had an air conditioning unit in the upstairs until just before my brother Jesse was born and he is ten years younger than me.

It was a blessing that we lived in the country and didn’t have close neighbors or buildings to block the breezes that brought moments of heaven in the windows. I learned early on that the corn years were the worst. Our story and 1/2 house would be surrounded by eight-foot tall corn that felt like a wool blanket in the summer. Not only that, but that is also prime canning time, so our kitchen downstairs would be going all night sometimes so Mom could can vegetables during the coolest hours of the day.

It was the strangest thing to me though that no matter how hot it was, Dad built a fire in the back yard almost every day he was home or in the evening when he got home. It makes sense now because we would congregate in the back yard, make baked potatoes or “Hobo” packs right in the ashes. Hobo packs are sliced potatoes and onions oiled and seasoned, then wrapped in aluminum foil packets and cooked in the ashes of the fire. Sometimes Mom would put hamburger patties in there as well for the full meal. I would lie out by the fire and almost go to sleep watching the stars at night.

I still have dreams where I am lying in the cool grass, watching the stars, feeling the cool night breeze tease my arms into goose bumps, and listening to the wind rustle the trees into a lullaby for me. I think that’s what Heaven may be like sometimes. I miss that time. That comforting feeling of being completely open, completely safe, completely content.

I have to work very hard to get to that point again. There is always something I am supposed to do that I’m not. Grownup stuff. Animals need fed, watered and attended to. Husband needs fed, watered and attended to. House needs attention. Laundry is piling up, dishes don’t take care of themselves. Work needs done in the shop. I’m wasting time on Facebook and now blogging. Going outside now is mostly misery. I can’t be in the sun, heat makes me ill, and I have become imprisoned by this very thing that made me so happy to have in my life, air conditioning.

I went out last weekend and did nothing but stare up at the sky for two nights. I did have a purpose, I was waiting to see the Perseid meteor shower. My husband came out with me for a while the first night, but he doesn’t really share my love of the sky. He was raised in the country as well, but under a canopy of large oak trees in a wooded area. Not quite the same. He was confused as to why I was crying when I found out there would be a full moon last weekend. He is confused a lot by my behavior, but he just as well get used to it because I am moving into that phase of life where I am confused by my behavior.

We were in the local restaurant a few years back with my sister Tonya having supper. It was obvious the couple behind us were in the midst of an argument, so we tried to not pay much attention. At one point the man stopped and called his significant other an “Estrogen-Packed Battle Axe”. Well, we couldn’t ignore that. We let loose with a laughter that stopped the restaurant. If you happen to know my sister, if she finds something funny, her unstoppable laughter reaches a decibel level that harmful to humans. I asked my husband if that could be my new nickname.

Little did I know that at times now, I live up to that title. I may be imprisoned by time, circumstance, and biology, but I can still dream of that dent in the grass and thank the men that makes my life worth living, my Husband and Willis Haviland Carrier.


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