Monday, July 11, 2011

Conditioning Myself

I just returned from 10 days in Royan, France,  a seaside resort on the Atlantic coast....where the weather was good and the livin' was easy. By good weather I mean warm, sunny days and and cool nights with a delightful breeze (okay...often a wind). Actually, the nights were cold and we were obliged to wear jeans and sweaters after 5 or 6 pm. At first I wasn't so sure I liked all that chilliness. I happen to be one of those people that revels in sunshine and heat, given there was so little of it growing up in Minnesota.

As Brigitte and I drove the 7 1/2 hours back home to Aix on Friday, I watched the temperature on the car thermometer escalate and with each additional degree, I thought how nice it would be to be back home…in the south.

And yes, it is good to be back home... but I’m missing the cooler weather just a wee bit. It's only July and  we're only just dipping our toes into the caldron that should be at full boil in a few more weeks, but I still had to immediately flip back into summer in the city mode. Lifestyle accommodations seem to be essential in order to battle the heat here. Especially in the city where it is at least 5 degrees hotter than it is in the country.

The afternoon sieste was a tough thing to get used to at first. I mean who, besides young children take an afternoon nap? There are things that need to get done! My resistance to the idea was squashed my first summer here. As was my reluctance to close the shutters against the afternoon heat and live in afternoon darkness. I learned quickly that both are really matters of efficiency. Morning and evening are the times when things will have to get accomplished (which is why I'm writing at night). Unless one can find an air-conditioned store (and believe me they are not all temperature controlled) to do a little shopping therapy.

I’m also taking direction from my cat who seems to have shed 2 seasons worth of fur in every corner of the apartment while I was away. So after I climb all the stairs to get up to my apartment, my clothing is shed into a little pile at the top, to be picked up and put back on later when the sun has decided to be kinder. Luckily, I live in a completely private apartment. The guy across the street, who practices the same personal temperature control, does not.  Three cold showers per day seem to help as well (with the heat...not with the issue with the guy across the street) and if my hair is always wet, it’s like personal air conditioning.

I do have an air conditioner of sorts. On my terrace, I have a little door. The terrace, which is walled and private, is nice and warm in the winter and spring because it's so protected. In the summer it's an oven.  

But when I open that rickety little portal,  I get one kick ass breeze that flows across the terrace and into my bedroom.  It’s cheap to run but does eliminate that privacy thing a bit. What clever person thought of that?

Mid-afternoon yesterday as I was laying on my bed, soaking wet, naked, and trying to take advantage of the terrace breeze, I paged through the advertising flyers that had built up in my mailbox while I was gone. One caught my eye because it was advertising great prices on air conditioners…and I was just a tiny bit tempted. The last page nearly made up my mind for me. 

The sign says that says installation is included. If I should decide to buy one, do you supposed this lovely morsel (who obviously has no air conditioner of his own) would install it ...say...Friday night? Man, what a country!



  1. Oh poor thing, you do need an air conditioner.

  2. Ha! So glad you are back and blogging again. I love the idea of lazing around naked in the heat. I already enjoy afternoon naps, so I'll be a natural in Aix.

  3. This is exactly how we lived for five years in New York City! Apartment faced west (no shutters there!), and was not wired for air conditioning (we blew fuses everytime we ran the toaster oven too...). Overhead fan, no clothes and cold showers!!!
    We do forget, here in the land of air conditioning, what REAL heat is like...
    Let's talk, yes? Need to catch up...

  4. What exactly will he be 'posing'....?

    Almost tempted back to France to find out, but totally bemused by all these so called macho central american men who smile sweetly at old crones like me, help them on and off buses, in and out of chairs, open doors, carry parcels and treat them like queens.

  5. I still argue with myself about the afternoon siesta. Sometimes I do, sometimes I don't, depends on whether I am in 'sleeping in the afternoons is for old folk' mode! But we are not quite so hot as you are, being over on the SW of France, near the Pyrenees, and we are rural and have a river on one border of our land, so if it is dreadfully hot me and the dogs can always go paddle in the river to cool down! Love your blog by the way!

  6. If he doesn't install it I'd sue for false advertising!

  7. It is so hot here in Florence too, yesterday we had 36°C (97°F) and humidity makes everything worst. For the first time in my life I am living in an air contioned flat. I feel guilty and I do not use it much axcept in the hottest hours of the day and during the night. I think that in a short time I will have overcome this feeling...

  8. Mlle. ChaussetteJuly 12, 2011 at 4:43 PM

    Ahh Delana, so close yet so far. Only 45 minutes away here in the Luberon, the evenings are cool and the days are, well, air-conditioned!! Yeah! I get to daily siesta in a nice cool room. You're welcome to come on up and join me anytime.

  9. Rosaria-I'll be okay. But people seemed to be a little crabby today! Check back with me in August. I'll probably bite your head off!

    Paulita-In fact, I love it too. Once I get over the guilt. I thought of you this morning at 6 am when I thought maybe I should go out for a long WALK (not run) before it got hot. I thought of you...and then I went back to sleep!

    LibbY-I'll keep my skype on. I really think New York would be worse. And the shutters really do help.

    Fly-That was exactly what I was thinking...glad you said it first! Don't come back...any place where a man would help me carry gold in my book.

    Vera-Thank you. I think the thing I miss the most is water. That seems to cure everything. I'm close...but without a involves buses, lots of walking, and ...oh hell...just take another shower.

    Sara-do you suppose that's possible? The heat is messing with my head!

    Blandine-I feel the same way about air conditioning. It makes me feel guilty. I think a visit from the installer might make me feel guiltier though!

    Holly-I will be there Saturday. It's vide grenier day!

  10. YUM . . . er, I mean, yes. It's hot and humid here in Montreal right now too. (Not as hot as the guy in the ad though ;-)

  11. It's so nice to have you back and posting again. I missed you. Or I was bored. Or both! Anyhow, welcome back to your eHome.

  12. Well...I guess we know which sex buys air conditioners in France.

    Stay Cool!

  13. So little sunshine and heat?? Where did you grow up in MN?? I grew up in the North and we had pretty marked seasons, it hot in the summer and cold in the winter.

    It's funny you should mention it though because constant sunshine is one of the things I really miss about Minnesota. I've been back here for two weeks now for work and am really enjoying the nice weather. I love that storms and rain are usually limited to the night time and then you wake up the next day to bright blue skies. Whereas in France the gloomy weather usually tends to be wimpy and just hangs around for days. Winter also tends to be sunny in MN and grey in France (though maybe not the South where you are).

    And knock on wood, but so far the temps here have been between 80-90° everyday this trip, which is plenty hot for me!

  14. Mona, Mona, Mona...down girl! Down!

    Mark-thanks. Where are you guys right now?

    Jim-Marketers know what they're doing. However, the front page had a chick in a ripped,half shirt and daisy duke shorts half unbuttoned, navel jewels, a hard hat and a drill. I guess they're trying to cover all possible buyers.

    Ksam- I grew up in Owatonna. You're right, we had plenty of sunshine compared to where you live....where frankly I think the winters must be dismal. But we have more than 300 days of pure sunshine down here. It's all relative! Where are you in Minnesota?


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