Tuesday, September 08, 2009

going down one more time

The sea was calm that night.

Even so, the lookouts saw the iceberg in the water. But enough mistakes came together that Kate Winslet and Leonardo DiCaprio are now the Gable and Leigh of their day.

Well, it would not have happened in my bedroom on Sunday night. Titanic faced almost freezing weather. If she had sailed through the weather in my bedroom, no one would have the slightest idea who Edward John Smith was.

Our hot weather continues unabated.

My only defense has been a small portable air conditioner. After trying several methods to make the unit work in the master bedroom, I decided it simply was not designed to cool that much space.

The main guest room is about one-third the size of the master bedroom-bathroom. I decided to try an experiment.

I want you to be kind at this point. I was trained to be a trial advocate, not an engineer.

But here is what faced me. The air conditioner vents hot air through a hose. The unit is well-designed for double-hung windows. Lift the sash, install the adapter. Done.

The problem is the windows in the bedroom are not double-hung. They are designed to ventilate. By turning a crank, individual slats of glass open or close.

The solution seemed obvious. Take out two slats of glass and put the adapter in the window.

It worked. Sort of.

To do that I had to remove the screen that keeps insects out (cue warning music). And the adapter did not quite fill the space.

But I decided to give it a test. In 30 minutes I could feel the room start to cool.

So, Jiggs and I moved into the guest room for the night.

I could feel the cool air coming out of the unit. I turned out the light and tried to get some sleep. But I felt the strangest sensation. Almost as if a very large mammal was breathing on me.

Cool air. Hot air. Cool air. Hot air. The rhythm of a predator.

And I could see the temperature gauge varying between 86 and 88.

A little investigation indicated that el chupacabras was not stalking me.

The house was well-designed to deal with Mexican weather. For obvious reasons, it is not air-tight. It is supposed to allow air to flow through -- to cool.

And that is exactly what was happening. Air was passing through the French doors and through the spaces between the glass slats in both windows. The house was working as designed. As fast as the air conditioner could produce cold air, the house was allowing fresh air to replace it.

Not entirely. I got up in the middle of the night to carry Jiggs down stairs. The air conditioning unit may be inefficient, but it does some conditioning. When I walked out of the bedroom, I felt as if I had been hit in the face with a hamper of wet towels.

So, here ends the tale of the air conditioner. I have done what I can. I will use it for Jiggs's sake. And just wait for September to pass.

The locals assure me that October will bring cooler weather and small flocks of Canadians (and a few Americans mixed in).

Kate Winslet and Leonardo DiCaprio can go get their own room.


Constantino said...

1 : a person who voluntarily suffers death as the penalty of witnessing to and refusing to renounce a religion
2 : a person who sacrifices something of great value and especially life itself for the sake of principle
3 : victim; especially : a great or constant sufferer

I will vote for description number 3.
Life is too short not to be comfortable. If not for you, for your constant companion!

Felipe said...

Hey, Constantino, don´t forget he´s planning to move to another house in the same sweaty locale when this "house-sit" runs its course.

I slept last night with a blanket over me, and it was about right. Actually perfect and sweet. Had to keep the window closed against the chill evening air. Ahhhhh!

Calypso said...

We escaped the heat of Las Vegas a week ago - I understand your pain. You and Jiggs should get in the car and go find higher ground for a couple of weeks - after all you are having an adventure.

jennifer rose said...

If you'd only listened to Felipe, Constantino, Babs, and me, you'd be enjoying the cusp of fall and a fresh morning rain in the central highlands. You would awaken from a sound, uninterrupted sleep. You would not be forced to drive far for raspberries at Costco. All would be right with the world.

mdoneil said...

Have you thought of a cooling pad for the Professor?

1 Igloo type cooler with a spout.
1 Pond submersible pump
4 meters tubing that fits the spout and the pump
2 hose clamps

Make a closed system in which water from the cooler flows out from the pump and back in through the spout.

Fill the cooler with water add a bag of ice. Coil hose under a blanket or foam pad to create a nice cool bed for the Distinguished Professor.

I've made these for babies in a hospital in Nebaj, Guatemala so in upmarket Mexico they should be easy to throw together from parts at Sams or Costco.

You however are own your own.

I'm a much better engineer than lawyer.

Islagringo said...

My house has the same kind of windows, except replace the glass with wood. Even if I wanted to, I could never effeciently cool my house. Fans are the only answer.

And I agree with Calypso. Take Jiggs on a little adventure to someplace cooler. You are not bound to that house or town.

Anonymous said...

Steve, you don't need to move....open all the windows, sleep sideways on the bed so that air is not blocked by the wall at the head of the bed and get one of those tower fans. Put it so it blows from your feet to your head and go to sleep...put another fan on the floor for Jiggs...works for me. Kathe

During the hottest part of the summer I start out sleeping in the hammock that is on the deck outside the bedroom then move indoors when it cools off.

Babs said...

I wouldn't have lasted a month, if I couldn't sleep = heck I wouldn't have lasted two weeks. Get thee to high ground or an airconditioned hotel for heaven's sake and Jiggs sake.......and your own.
Jennifer is right - its in the 50's at night. Socks in the morning and a blanket at night......
MOVE on......

Anonymous said...

You do have choices. Head for San San Sabastian for a couple of weeks or head further inland for relief from the heat. It is crazy that you and Mr. Jiggs are suffering from the heat. Believe me, October can be just as hot. You are not living life to the fullest you are merely surviving.

Anonymous said...

I am not a religious person but you seem to be and sometimes that can explain illogical behavior.

"Suffering is not in itself virtuous, nor is it a sign of holiness. It is also not a means of gaining points with God, nor of subduing the flesh (as in asceticism). When possible, suffering is to be avoided."


Anonymous said...

One other suggestion, "Po'folks" storm windows...roll of plastic, roll of duct tape. And cause you are not an engineer;>) Be sure to tape around the wall not just the frame of the window to get the air leaks between the wall and frame. Then tape up the bedroom door so no air leaks there. VERY ugly but effective. If you want to see what the set-up looks like that mdoneil suggested for the Professor just type in red-neck a/c in you-tube. And they work! Judy

IreneAdler said...

My impression has been that you like living near the ocean. So I am confident that you will find the right solution to make Jiggs and your life more comfortable during the worst of the heat. It makes me feel almost guilty that I actually had to turn on a heater this past weekend.

Felipe said...

Rick, I think Steve is demonstrating an admirable ability to assiminate in Mexico where avoidable suffering is done intentionally to show one's devotion to God. He'll be speaking Spanish in no time, probably in tongues!

Steve Cotton said...

Constantino -- A martyr I certainly am not. But I may be a better engineer than I thought. I brought one of the floor fans into the bedroom to direct the cool air to Jiggs. That seemed to work fine. And I also started the unit about two hours before we went to bed. The room was noticeably cooler. With all that, when we woke up (at almost 9, I might add), the temperature was down to 79. It was a pleasant night.

Felipe -- But I will be here from December through April. I have done that before -- and it is quite pleasant.

Calypso -- I fear that Jiggs's days of escaping by car are limited. He is good for about an hour in the truck. And once we get any place, he can walk only about a half block before returning to where we are staying. He has better days, but mobility is no longer high on our list.

Jennifer Rose -- And that is still a possibility at my next stage. Here, of course, I can take three steps and be outside looking over he Pacific. And nothing can match that view.

Mdoneil -- If our new-found success with the air conditioning fails, I will give this a try. Jiggs tends to wander around the room during the night, though. Maybe this would keep him in one place. He loves the feel of the cold tile.

Islagringo -- I agree that re-engineering the house is simply going to be frustrating.

Kathe -- In the big bedroom, I had five fans pointed at us -- along with the air conditioner. And I was still unable to sleep. But with one fan and the a/c in the small bedroom, we should be fine.

Babs -- We appear to be fine now. And the summer heat will soon be done. In April, the highlands will be my next stop.

Anonymous -- If we could travel, I would. I fear Jiggs is at that stage of life where anything other than a nice long snooze during the day is just too taxing on him. He loved the beach in Oregon. A great pool formed in back of the house here in the sand today. I took him down, thinking he would like to get in the water. He was not interested. He simply wanted to go back to the house to sleep.

Rick -- I agree. God did not create us to suffer. He created us to enjoy his creation by loving Him and by showing that same love to our fellows -- friends and enemies alike. Your point is swell-taken. Overall, I am enjoying my stay by the beach. The weather is the one bad factor. But we are finding ways to deal with it.

Judy -- I think the setup we have now will do us well until we get through this month.

Irene -- I can seand you some spare heat, if you like.

glorv1 said...

Steve, what mcdoneil suggests sounds like a good idea for Mr. Jiggs. He has to be comfortable and not suffer in the heat. Poor baby and I mean Mr. Jiggs.:D Take care.

Tulum Living said...

I am sorry that it is so hot. It is rally hot here too. Constant showers, swimming in the sea and fans are the only solution thus far.

Arnie B said...

I think I'll focus on the real issue at hand versus convincing you to move. :-)

Good data points here but need a couple more.

The fan is running constantly. Or you would not get the symptoms of hot air, cold air.

Now, the big question. is the compressor running constantly?

Or does it cycle AKA turn on and off?

How can you tell(without taking it apart and putting an ammeter on the compressor leads)?

It sounds different. The best way I can describe it is that it sounds like it is loading when it is on and sounds like it is unloading when it turns off. Or even simpler: is there two sounds when the compressor is running (compressor plus fan) and is there one sound when the compressor is not running (fan only).

Aurally, if you can discern discrete frequencies (not everyone can do that, so don't feel bad) it would help in troubleshooting. The fan by itself is high freqency and the compressor will be a lower frequency when it is on. Kinda like a rumble.

If you don't trust your ears, you can place your hand on it. When the compressor starts/is on, you can feel the rumble. Rumble free when the compressor is off.

BTW, the compressor is the piece of machinery that keeps the refrigerant moving hydraulically in the system. Kinda important to know what it is doing to troubleshoot.

Enough for now. Hit me back with the above questions answered and we will go to the next step.

p.s. I am talking to you like I would talk to my youngest daughter over the phone when something is broke at home and I ain't. If this is demeaning in any way, let me know and I will "undumb" this for you.

Anonymous said...

Steve said > In April, the highlands will be my next stop.

I know that you have a tendency to stick to your game plan but you should check with Babs and Felipe about the weather up there in Spring. Most areas have a dry and dusty heat spell until the cooling Summer rains start.


peachland said...

Hi Steve,I continue to enjoy your posts please kiss the Jiggs on the nose for me,I sincerely hope October cools down for you.As you raised the Titanic,I want to tell you a small story.Yesterday Bob & I were looking for some family information & came across a note saying that Bob's Dad & parents were to sail on the Titanic however an Opera singer(no name) asked and I am sure with an incentive purchased their tickets and they delayed their sailing untill the next ship sailed,we have a commemorative pen from the Cunnard ship line as a result of that,as well Bob is here and so are his children.

gecko said...

It's hot here too, but it doesn't seem as bad as where you are. Have you considered a motel room for the night?
You might try a cool wet cloth on your pulse points, also get a cool collar when you are nob for the Prof. it's a collar stuffed with a gel that stays wet and cool as the water evaps.
I am sitting with a fan directly blowing on me, and it's actually a little cooler than I like, but it's okay.
Another thing you can try is sleeping on the roof, you should be able to catch a breeze up there plus you aren't surrounded by cement walls that have been soaking up heat all day and are now releasing it!
I feel really bad for you and the Professor, it's not good if you can't sleep.

Inmigrante Rentista said...

You just missed having a free house sitting position (utilities not included) in a new house one block from the plaza in Erongra (Erongarícuaro). Sitter found ...... just yesterday. Hold on a minute while I put on sweater...... Dang! Patzcuaro is chilly tonight.

Steve Cotton said...

Gloria-- I am not certain how that would affect his arthritis. He actually lounged on the sand this evening, making certain that his hips were in a warm spot of the sand. I often wonder if the air conditioning is good for his hips. I know it has made my left hip hurt. Or that may be from carrying Jiggs up and down the stairs.

Tulum Living -- But we will survive.

Arnie -- Thank you for the advice. The compressor aoppears to be working well. The unit is putting out only cool air, and it is continuous. The warm air is being circulated from the outside. It must be a lot of pressure on this small portable unit. But it does reduce the humidity in the room -- and, eventually, the temperature.

Rick -- The highlands are on the same cycle as the coast. They get their rain the same time we do. That means I would be showing up at the tail end of the dry period -- just as I did here this April. But they have cool nights -- something I need.

Peachland -- Thank you for the Titanic story. I had a boss whose great uncle was not so lucky.

Theresa -- I think we finally have a good combination of fans and air conditioner. Last night I slept until 9. That is a first for both Jiggs and me. Sleeping outside here is impossible. The biting insects are legion. They even get me inside at the computer.

Inmigrante Rentista -- Soon. Soon.

Arnie B said...

Due to the design of the AC unit, it will cause a small negative pressure in the room you are trying to cool. Nothing you can do about that except duct tape the heck out of the edges of the unit so the air replenishing the room comes from inside the house.

If you are hesitant to us duct tape, you can use painter's tape (it's blue) which is less sticky.

It doesn't have to look pretty, just functional.

Steve Cotton said...

Arnie B -- After a bit of work, theroom cooled very well last night. Of course, it also cooled to 77 outside.