The Love Bus has many admirable qualities but functional air-conditioning is not one of them. And so, with the recent heatwave that has hit our fair city, we have found ourselves under house arrest.
My friend KT rang and said “I don’t know how Anne Frank did it.”
What do you mean? I asked.
“Stay in those small rooms for so long.” she replied. Uh, I expect the fact that her country was being run by people who wanted to kill her might have played some small part in her staying power. The heat – however ferocious – doesn’t quite match the intensity of the Third Reich.
But still, here we are on Day Three of temperatures of 43° C and above (that’s 109.4° F, baby), with a “cool change” predicted at some point soon, sending temperatures plummeting to a positively chilly 35° C… And all this has dovetailed nicely with the end of the six week summer break, so everyone is on their most charming behaviour anyway.
I found myself on Day One wondering out loud on Facebook (as you do) about how much TV would be considered too much when it was over 40 degrees outside. ValleyGirl came up with the most reassuring answer:
Um – enough is probably enough when the sun has gone down, they’re all asleep on the sofa and you want to transfer them into their beds. Aww, those tired little glazed tv eyes, so cute.
Meanwhile, another friend, who I think has now converted to Foxtel as her new religion, said that the TV was simply turned on with the air-conditioner the minute the heatwave truly hit. After the TV had been on for more than four hours, her ex-Steiner educated son turned to her and said “This is the best day ever!”.
Anyway, here’s a little diary I’ve kept of my own TV and air-conditioner usage over the last few days:
DAY ONE OF HEAT WAVE: Implement stimulating morning program of painting, drawing, waterplay, science experiments, the collective- making of frozen chocolate-covered bananas (etc). Air-conditioner turned on at 10:30AM, TV on at 12:50. Both stay on for longer than my conscience would normally allow.
DAY TWO: Air-conditioner on before 7:00AM. After shouting at the children for painting each other’s bodies before breakfast, TV resolutely switched on at 9:30am. TV switched on and off throughout the day, as required (turns out it is required a lot).
DAY THREE: Air-conditioner still on from the night before. TV on at 7am. Most likely will be on all day. Past. Caring.
At least I have air-conditioning. When friends of mine bought their house a year ago, they tossed up between fixing the garden or installing an A/C and the husband persuaded his wife that the garden was far more important. When I last spoke to his wife, she was muttering menacingly about making him do the gardening in the 42 degree heat when he got home from work that night 8pm. And yes, it really was still 42 degrees at 8pm that day.
My own husband came up with the brilliant idea of squirting the kids with the hose before I embarked on the short walk to KT’s house for dinner last night. He said it would “keep them cool” and I believed him. Being the responsible parent that I am, I of course informed the kids of my plans well in advance and actually got them all excited about it – after all, water restrictions make the hose even more off limits than the treats cupboard. But when I actually did the squirting, Mr Justice burst into tears because “he wasn’t ready yet”, The Pixie started wailing because I had “RUINED. HER. PARTY. DRESS.” and Tiddles McGee just screamed like I was torturing him. All I could do was laugh the long hysterical laugh of a woman who had been shut up far too long with her children during the school holidays and squirt myself with the hose. And then go to that Happy Place in My Mind during the longest and hottest five minute walk of my life, whilst everyone else managed maintained their rage.
So to all the other mothers in my fair city – and beyond – who have found themselves confined to small quarters with small people, I lift my TV remote in salute to you all and offer a silent prayer that the cool change comes in soon. I don’t know about anyone else but 35°C is looking pretty good right now from where I’m lying.