Hot Fun in the Summertime

A cursory glance at a weather map of the lower 48 will reveal that it’s hot everywhere. Very hot. Coming up on this weekend, I wasn’t sure how I was going to cope with the heat. I have a couple A/C units, and last year they worked quite well. But last year, other people put the units in for me, and they’re nowhere to be found this year, and me with no upper body strength to lift things. What to do?

Well, necessity is the mother of invention, etc., because I managed it! I pulled a unit out on blankets and dragged it over to the window, lifted it onto the windowsill and shimmied it over the edge, then stuffed concrete blocks and books I no longer want underneath it on the outer sill. And repeat.

After duct taping up cardboard around the A/C units (I know it’s not sufficient, but I don’t have anything else that works), I turned them on and let them do their magic. I got some ice cream, opened up my computer to work on a freelance project, and sat down on the couch. I was so impressed with myself for doing something I’d thought I couldn’t do, that as I turned on the TV for some background movie watching, I actually said, “I am a hero to myself!”

And then the power went out.

Yep, this hero had blown a fuse with all that electricity. I had to throw on some shoes, grab my keys and a flashlight, and go down three flights of stairs to the basement to fix it. When I got back upstairs, I turned just one of the units on for safety’s sake. I guess this whole “being a grown-up” thing doesn’t work out 100% of the time.

At least the ice cream didn’t melt.

Image 1. Image 2.

New Series: Be a Grown-Up

“Another belief of mine: that everyone else my age is an adult, whereas I am merely in disguise.”
— Margaret Atwood, Cat’s Eye

It’s a well-documented feeling, that we were expecting to be given a copy of The Grown-Up’s Handbook when we turned 24 or so, and that once this did not happen, we grew very discouraged. You mean to say that we have to figure out all sorts of bizarre adult rituals like buying car insurance and navigating office politics on our own? And once we realized that actually no one else had received the handbook either, and that they’re all figuring it out on their own too, we saw it first as “phew, I’m not the only one,” and then “wait a minute, who’s running this show?”

I’m 28 years old and confident in my ability to run my own life well. I pay my bills, go to my job, host visitors, etc. I like lists and I like my planner. I’m self-sufficient and have been since fall of 2005. But there are some things I have no idea how to do, things that I’m ashamed aren’t in my skill set, because they seem so basic to being a functioning adult or someone who can help out in a scrape (like, say, on a trip around the world).

So for this new blog series, I thought I’d combine learning with fun, just like they taught us on Magic School Bus. I have a Flip video camera and friends who know how to do stuff. I’m going to make videos of them teaching me useful things, and then post them here for your viewing pleasure. You can laugh at my missteps and perhaps pick up a new skill in the meantime. How’s that sound?

Let’s brainstorm what skills I’ll be learning. Here are some things I don’t know how to do that I’d like to (with some suggestions from Hannah and Andy, thanks). This should give you an idea of the scope of things I’m looking to learn:

Fix a hem
Change a car tire
Bake bread
Start a fire
Make coffee
Drive a stick shift
File an insurance claim
Play poker and euchre or other tricks-based card game
Knit a scarf
Tie a necktie
Administer basic first aid
Make an Excel sheet that actually takes advantage of the calculation function, rather than just notes how long it’s been since my last oil change

I won’t necessarily be learning all of these, but it’s a good start. Please use the comments below to suggest a skill and/or offer your services as a teacher. I clearly can’t do this without you. I think this should be one of those inspirational government posters: Together, we can help me Be a Grown-Up.

So go on, comment away. It’s patriotic.