Wow, y’all. It’s hot.

We are actually doing better than expected, because we are now the owners of two shiny new air conditioning units.

In our old, old house, we’ve got no central air conditioning, and we’ve been surviving with two air conditioning units downstairs: one in our living room, and one in the room where my desk and computer are. Between them, we can make the first floor mostly comfortable, except for the kitchen, which gets H-O-T, hot. Upstairs, we each have a window fan in our bedroom, and that can make a hot room pretty comfortable from about 11 pm until 6 am. During the heat of summer, there’s a bunch of strategy involving opening up windows for overnight and then shutting everything up tight by 10 or 11 am. Still, even with the strategy, we’d basically avoid the upstairs entirely and, on really bad days, hang out in the basement. Well, as the latest heat wave loomed, Cute W had a conversation with a friend who couldn’t believe that we didn’t have AC units upstairs. It honestly hadn’t really occurred to me. I think that I tend to not complain and make the best of situations, plus I’m cheap. So if I can survive through hot days, I’ll just do it. But then when Cute W said, “Should we get these?” I was like, “Yes, yes, a thousand times yes!” It hadn’t really occurred to me, honest, but once it did I was like, “What are we waiting for?!?!”

So now the girls each have a unit in their room. They are thrilled. We thought two of them might just improve the whole second floor. Except that they tend to sleep with their doors closed, so now it’s basically our room that’s still hot overnight. Still, things have improved at least a bit everywhere, really, even downstairs, with that extra coolness.

J’s allergic whatever-it-was has disappeared. I’d made an appointment for her for just after an all-day camp (Union Volleyball, because she can’t get enough volleyball). Then, when I picked her up at camp, we couldn’t find any more traces of swollen joints, hives, or spots. So we’re considering her cured for now.

My stomach ailment also seems to be better. It was pretty bad for about two and a half weeks, but the probiotics appear to have won the battle. For a little while, I was thinking that I was going to need a follow-up to that first doctor’s appointment, and I was wondering if maybe I could use some anti-anxiety medication. Figuring out the logistics of how to drop off one kid who may or may not be having a medical episode while coping with the older kid’s college application process is not super-soothing, and if you are not occasionally waking up in the middle of the night wondering if climate change means that the children you know and love now may be doomed to some sort of post-apocalyptic survival existence, well, I envy you. I try to remind myself that people have thought that the world was going to end because of the Black Plague and a variety of comets and even Y2K’s expected technological apocalypse, and sometimes that makes me feel like somehow or other, it’s going to be okay.

But the history consciousness is also bad when it comes to watching national events. I have to be honest: I have always secretly felt a little bit prejudiced against German people because of the whole Holocaust thing. I am a history student, and I know that there was that huge pre-Nazi flourishing of Weimar culture in Germany and that straight through the war there were plenty of German resisters and victims, but part of me couldn’t shake the whole Mothers in/ the Fatherland/Auschwitz staff having a good ol’ time/Banality of Evil feeling that they were a nation of thoughtless assholes. Except now we have small children suffering and starving and dying in camps run by our own country, and I am feeling pretty powerless about it. Yes, okay, I have given money to RAICES, but I am still spending plenty of money on making sure my own children are optimally comfortable (see AC unit above). And I call my local politicians but the truth is they are all pretty much with me on this one. I went to my local Lights for Liberty vigil on my way home from dropping J off at camp but really, that felt like that was more to make me feel better than because one extra body in West Capitol Park really makes a difference. I now have this sign in our front yard, and that makes me feel a little better, although my neighbors could likely predict how I feel on this one.

So I go about my day and do one or two wildly inadequate things like make a call or sign a petition or give a donation, and it’s not enough, but I feel like almost nothing is. I used to never talk about politics on this blog at all, which was quite an omission, because Cute W and I were massive Obama fans pre-Iowa, but you never heard a peep out of me prior to this administration. I wish I didn’t feel like I have to say anything, and I know it will annoy (some) people. But it is hard to write about other things when other things loom so large in my brain. And I feel like not saying anything is complicit. I think everyone has this idea that if they’d been in the Netherlands in the 40s, they totally would’ve been Miep Gies sneaking food up to Anne Frank, and I would like to believe that about myself, too, but there were plenty of people calling the Gestapo to settle scores and way more people just going about their business or hiding behind their curtains hoping for the best.

So right now I feel like every day is sort of haunted by the inadequacy of my response. I notice a juice box that says that kids need 1 to 2 cups of fruit per day and I think about how my government is holding kids who haven’t had fruits or vegetables for weeks.

Or I see my kids’ blankets in a tangle and think about babies sleeping on the floor. Or (spoiler alert) I’m watching The Handmaid’s Tale and Rory Gilmore finally makes it to Canada,and they’re so kind to her, in their slightly bored, bureaucratic refugee-processing way, and I feel like crying because that’s how I used to think that our country was. And I feel like I should go all nun-getting-arrested or run away to the border, where I would be useless with no Spanish.

Instead, I sign a petition or retweet a news story, and then I help M plan a college visit and schedule hair appointments for the girls and I go work out and I stop at some kid’s lemonade stand on the way home. And I spend most moments of most days trying my best to care for or and be kind to other people as well as myself, and yet I can’t help feeling that anything and everything I’m doing feels woefully inadequate in the face of current events. I feel like just going about my daily life without stopping and just screaming on a street corner is a betrayal of my values as a human and as an American and as a mother.

And I know that this is a bummer to talk about and not in the least bit entertaining, but that is how I have been feeling, and so I am sharing it now, and then the next post will be something chirpy like where we ate in Denver or J’s next summer camp, even though, while of course I care about those things, another corner of my brain will be continuing to freak out about this. Anyway, it seems entirely possible that this could be a factor in my persistent stomach ache.


  1. Claire

    I used to hate summer before we got our ductless AC system a few years ago. Our upstairs would feel like an attic anytime it got above the low 80s. No insulation, no cross-breeze, so even opening windows at night didn’t do much unless it got down near 60. Now I don’t have to panic when we have heatwaves like this. I still prefer temps in the 70s so we can open the windows, but at least I can be comfortable until that happens (which thankfully will be tomorrow). Ironically, our kitchen and breakfast room/office is the hottest part of our house now, because we only have one ductless unit downstairs, in the front rooms. We have a fan to try to blow that air into the back rooms, but that only goes so far when it’s 95 degrees out. But, it’s still tolerable.

  2. Claire

    Yes, glutton for punishment that I am, I’m currently baking a cake, and it does not feel good in these back rooms! If I were smart, I would use the heat as an excuse not to cook, and then I would actually like this weather. Trading heat for no cooking would actually be a pretty sweet deal!

  3. Jo Anne Assini

    You put into words all of my thoughts and guilt and sadness about the current state of our country. It is terribly sad. You are raising aware young women who will fight for justice for all. That has to be the most important thing now. I’m so proud to live between good people. People who care.

  4. Claire

    I agree with Jo Anne. You are doing a lot, even if it doesn’t feel like it. By putting one foot in front of the other and making one good choice after another, throughout the day, right where you are planted. (And by the way, I have always had to guard against my own prejudice of Germans, for the reasons you mentioned.)

  5. Aliza

    As cheered as I was to see the blog title, the rest of your post brought me to tears. I’m with Jo Anne. You have put words to my thoughts. How have things gone so wrong?

    Thank you, Jo Anne, for absolving me of some guilt I have as I feel so powerless, but like Katie, I feel proud of the kids I have who share good values. I only hope that the next generation can fix this mess.

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