It’s like living in a cave, minus the bats.

Tara and I got home from work at the same exact time on Thursday. That almost never happens. When we entered the basement through the garage, it was warm down there.

That never, ever happens.

Cue the sinking feeling…

Our Nest thermostat showed the A/C running. But it was 80 degrees in the house and no air was blowing from the vents. Then, I got an alert on my phone.

Nice of our thermostat to alert us of a problem. I didn’t know it could even do that. We called an HVAC guy, paid extra for after-hours service, and after poking and prodding around our thermostat for a while, he provided a diagnosis: a broken blower. Since there was no air blowing from the vents, this seemed reasonable to me. The good news? The part was in stock. The bad news? It was in stock in Sioux Falls, and likely wouldn’t arrive here until the following Wednesday or so.

The really, really bad news? This happened in the midst of a heatwave that is going to last all week. It had already been in the 90s for days. And things are only looking worse…especially Monday.


If our A/C was going to crap out on us, you’d think it would at least have the decency to do so during a milder stretch. It wouldn’t be so bad if it went out when the temperature was 79 or 80. That we could live with. Triple digits? Not so much.

So, we immediately moved into the basement. Dragged a mattress down there from the spare bedroom. I bought a box fan. Tara fashioned a makeshift swamp cooler out of ice blocks. It stays about 10 degrees cooler down there than upstairs, where it’s stifling and unbearable by mid-afternoon. It’s like living in a cave, minus the stalactites. And instead of bats, there’s a cat. A cat who is just as displeased about the heat as we are.

It really hasn’t been too bad down there at night, though I’m worried about the next few days as the temperature soars even further.

Friday night, we got lucky. Thunderstorms and heavy rain moved in after dark, which helped cool things down. Also, we have a whole house fan mounted in the attic. We’ve only turned it on a couple of times before, for a few minutes at a stretch, because it’s noisy and we don’t really need it with the A/C. But once the sun goes down and the temperature drops, we open all the windows and turn on the fan. It does a remarkable job of drawing fresh air through the windows and ejecting it through a vent in the attic. By morning, it’s 10-12 degrees cooler. I’m thankful that Doris installed that bad boy.

We’re getting as creative as possible to beat the heat. Not turning on the oven. Taking advantage of air-conditioned places like movie theaters and restaurants. Hell, even lingering in Safeway longer than normal, especially the frozen food aisle. You should have seen me opening the glass doors and shoving my face in there, fake-shopping but really just trying to cool off. “Babe, do we need more frozen green beans? How ’bout tater tots? What’s the Red Baron and Totino’s sitch looking like at home?”

Saturday, we had the best idea of all. We loaded up the kayaks and drove to Deerfield Reservoir, where we met up with a couple of Tara’s coworkers who were camping there. Spent a few hours out on—and in—the water.

Afterward, we retreated to their campsite, where Tara cooked up beer brats and Italian sausages. There was a nice breeze blowing off the lake, and that felt heavenly. If we’d known our A/C would be going on the fritz, we’d have booked a camping trip this weekend, too.

After leaving Deerfield, we stopped at Silver Linings for ice cream before retreating to our basement cave for the evening.

Really not looking forward to the next few days, but whining won’t do a bit of good. Trust me, I’ve tried.

At least it’s an excuse to drink lots of cool beverages, and if some of those happen to be wine, so be it.

38 thoughts on “It’s like living in a cave, minus the bats.

  1. That sounds miserable but you’ve managed to make the best of it. We don’t have AC – never needed it before – but the late summers are getting warmer so it may be in our future. I have to ask… wouldn’t it be quicker for you to drive to Sioux City yourselves and bring back the blower?

    Liked by 2 people

    1. I actually suggested doing that very thing, driving to Sioux Falls to pick up the part. But they weren’t open over the weekend, and giving up 12 hours and $$$ on gas just didn’t seem worth the hassle.

      Liked by 1 person

  2. Kitty in front of the swamp cooler- best picture ever! I feel your pain Mark- 108 early July 2021- no AC in an apartment with no air circulation…draw on your pioneer spirit and push through.

    Liked by 2 people

  3. I believe it is a written rule air conditioning always breaks when you need it the most. We had a similar situation a few years back, and had a couple days of stifling heat. However, that breakdown was the push we needed to go ahead and get new equipment a few months later, which has served us very well since. The Deerfield trip was a great getaway, and hopefully provided a recharging of the internal batteries to push through the next few days. In the interim, the frozen food section of the grocery store is indeed also a great way to recharge…

    Liked by 2 people

    1. I feel a little bad liking a post that details your misery… But I agree that Murphy’s Laws hold true. Things break when they have the most painful consequences! We get power outages when it’s over 100F 😦 Glad you were able to make the best of it!

      I am a little surprised that your Nest didn’t take it a step further and started to recommend different items for you to buy… Anything from from face misters to ice cubes! 😀

      Liked by 2 people

    2. That’s usually the case, isn’t it? We only make those necessary but expensive purchases when forced to do so. The same thing happened with our microwave last year, but the ability to quickly heat up frozen pizza is a minor inconvenience compared to a sweltering house.

      Liked by 1 person

    1. Nope. We don’t have none of them fancy lodging accommodations here, less’n you’re a dog fixin’ to be kenneled.

      OK, fine. We have lots of hotels. And we looked into getting a room. But with the Sturgis Rally right around the corner (ugh), everything is super expensive. Even the Super 8. Plus, we’d have to bring Sydney, and there’s the hassle of not having all our “stuff” handy. Not to mention we just returned from an expensive trip to Madison, WI. Great idea, but we’ll just have to keep toughing it out.

      Liked by 1 person

  4. No a/c during a heat wave is my idea of hell on earth. You’re a sturdier soul than I. My butt would be sneaking the cat into a nice cool hotel room. At least you have a livable basement. I can’t see us dragging a mattress among my husband’s cobwebbed treasure.

    Liked by 1 person

  5. Better wine than whine! I love how the cat knows exactly how to position itself before the fan. And the kayaking looks beautiful — and delicious! I’m sorry to hear about the broken AC and the heat wave but at least you have the makings for a good story! Sending cool thoughts from the PNW!

    Liked by 1 person

  6. The old box fan! A friend to those of us who grew up without AC. I think we spent 10 years in our last house without a functioning AC until we afford a new one. I’m glad all that was wrong was the blower. Stay cool!

    Liked by 1 person

  7. For some reason, the a/c never fails during winter months. 😳 GO figure.
    I feel for you, and I admire your creativity in creating your cooler cave.
    The camping/water scenery is hard to beat! Yes, you should have been camping outside this past weekend instead of in the basement.

    Liked by 1 person

  8. A swamp cooler? I’d not heard that term before. My Dad used to call the same thing a desert cooler. I guess the concept has lots of names 🙂

    Now I understand why so many of your homes have basements! My sister’s house would be called a bungalow here in the UK (and in India), except for the fact it has a basement. She calls it a ranch house, although that may be Missouri parlance.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Ours is a ranch house. Probably my favorite architectural style (save for mid-century modern). Basements are rare on the west coast but pretty widespread here in the Midwest. Probably because we need a place to hide out from tornados, ha.

      Liked by 1 person

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s