Thermostat setting: 78°
Approximate temperature: 78°
Comfort level: good
...it also means that I'm remaining reasonably comfy without spending a thousand dollars on electricity.
There are two other things I can do to reduce AC usage even further: the first is to close the louvered doors between the living and dining rooms and the rest of the house. There is no longer a kitchen door but I can hang a sheet across that opening; and the result will be a reasonable level of separation. Close the vents in there and those rooms will no longer receive much cooling. (In fact, I've already closed those vents.)
The other thing is to switch the furnace blower to "on" rather than "auto". This will pump cool air from the basement into the rest of the house. The return ducts are not very efficient; when the blower is running, there is a slight pressure differential across the basement door.
(If I would get off the stick and clean up that basement, I could leave the door open all the time, instead of having to keep the cats out. That would also help.)
* * *
I can remember when I could see the Milky Way from the bunker's driveway. It ain't that way any more. The bunker is on the bottom edge of the white area caused by Chicago.
* * *
Speaking of lighting, I noticed not long ago that the long string of streetlights that formerly lit Cicero Avenue in Richton Park are, in fact, dark at night.
I forget when it was, but I was driving along and bothered by the fact that there is something wrong here and finally it hit me: the damn streetlights* were out. All of them--and everything else had power.
Now I'd like to believe this was due to storm damage or something and that it's since been fixed; but at the time I couldn't help the nagging feeling that the lights were out because Richton Park couldn't pay for the electricity to run them.
And that screams "third world country" to me. It's little things like that which make me think, "Oh, God, we're totally screwed."
*I did it again: tried to spell the word "streeghtlight". *sigh* At least this time I caught myself before I finished writing the word.
* * *
So I turn around and see--on my bedroom door--a spot of light.
The curtains in my room are heavy relics of the 1970s. They're meant to provide insulation and seal against drafts; they're dark brown but faced with white vinyl on the window side.
Being an egregiously light sleeper, I used to take thumbtacks and stick them through the curtains into the window frame to keep as much light out as possible. This left holes in the vinyl, of course.
It so happens right now that the sun is at precisely the right angle, and one of the holes is in just the right position, to project an image of the sun on my bedroom door, like a pinhole camera.
...and now the sun's moved behind a branch of the bush outside my window, so the image is messed up again. But for a few minutes, I had a serendipitous solar observatory going on. Neat.
In fact, I've noticed that the curtains do that with a lot of things. In 2008 or 2009 I first noticed it: on sunny days, I can see an image of my Jeep projected on the wall near the ceiling. It's backwards and upside down, and distorted, but it's clearly the Jeep.
When someone walks past it, I can see them--not clearly, but I see their legs moving.
A totally accidental camera obscura--and I've lived in this room for a long time, so how come I never noticed it before this decade?
* * *
It's 7:20 and I don't want to go outside; it's still 95° out there. Shit.
Looking at the grass, it doesn't seem to have grown very much in the past week. It's been a dry couple of weeks, though, so that's really not all that surprising. I look at my neighbors to the north and south and see that my non-mowed grass is about the same height as the mowed grass to the north and the unmowed grass to the south.
* * *
How do I know it's hot? My cat--who normally sleeps in a chair--is sleeping on the floor.