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  • Kristan Higgins

The temperature wars

Updated: May 3, 2022


McIrish and I are…how shall I put this?…climately opposed. In other words, when he’s hot, I’m freezing. I like a sheet covering me no matter what; usually a blankie, too. He’d sleep suspended in mid-air if possible, nothing and no one touching him.

This has been a beautiful summer, more or less, and when it gets hot, I like to do what my grandmother did—use a window fan at night, and then close all the windows first thing in the morning, pull the curtains, and turn the house into a cool, cozy cave. In the evenings, after the sun goes down, I open the windows again. Simple genius, yes? My other tips include washing my hands in cold water (my grandfather used to say the cold water cools off your blood, and I believed him for a good long time); an ice pack to the back of the neck; and sitting very, very still so the heat can’t find you.

McIrish's dream job

McIrish’s dream job

McIrish, on the other hand, works outside on the summer’s hottest days, often with a pickaxe or shovel, just for fun. For some reason, he hates our cool, cozy cave, despite it being THE PERFECT SOLUTION. He says it’s stuffy (it’s not—it’s cool and cozy). Everyone who comes into our house says, “Oh, it’s so nice in here!” Except himself, that is. Around 3 p.m., when the sun is laser-beaming at our house, McIrish starts flinging open windows. “It’s beautiful outside!” he announces.

“No, it’s horrible outside! It’s 94 degrees!” the children and I protest.

“No, it’s not!” he lies merrily. “There’s a breeze!”

Twenty minutes later, the house is so hot he can’t stand it anymore and puts on the air conditioner. He had a love/hate relationship with the air conditioner, but he’s usually the one who breaks first each summer (see my curtain method above). After the air conditioner comes a complex series of fans placed throughout the house to allegedly propel cool air into all the corners. It doesn’t work at all, but this doesn’t stop my husband from placing fans in doorways. The noise is deafening.


What has saved our marriage is that every fourth night, McIrish has to work a 24-hour shift at the firehouse, which is why he will never be allowed to retire. On those nights, Willow and I have a little slumber party (Luther is still too excitable to sleep with us). The cat comes in somewhere in the night and curls up next to my feet, and Huggy Pillow has all the room in the world.

No one complains about the temperature. Not one word. : )


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