Yet, here I am on Monday, April 23 sitting in what some might call “a tin can” (it’s a fifth-wheel trailer) and it’s currently heading past 90 F, and I’m grinning. Why?
Ten Top Reasons I Am Happy
1. Our tin can is air-conditioned
2. I’m on holidays so I can read and type to my heart’s content.
3. It’s sunny and blue skies every day
4. We “eat out” every second or third day
5. Laur is marking exams and essays so that keeps him occupied
6. We have National Public Radio which is like CBC on an even tighter budget
7. We go to the pool almost every day – and I’m learning to swim (but still need my floaties.)
8. There are “nappy hours” and “happy hours” every day
9. We watch docudramas every night.
10. I love cacti and there is no lack of them in AZ
But I still wouldn’t want to be here from May to September. Right now, we can cope, because it’s usually cooler in the morning and in the evening, but pretty soon it will be hot-hot-hot 24/7 because the ground heats up, too.
I ask folks how they can stand it and they ask me how I can stand -20 Celsius. I tell them it’s easy – I can dress for it. But how do you dress or undress for 128 degrees F, which is the highest temperature ever,y recorded in AZ (June 29, 1004 – Lake Havasu City.)
Even now, we plan our entire day based on staying cool – walks in the early morning and evening. Swim at 4 p.m. – the hottest time of the day when our AC starts to lose its battle with the blistering sun. The shops and our car are all air-conditioned, so that’s a no-brainer. Cooking is a bit of a kicker since you can’t run the microwave and AC at the same time, and heaven knows you don’t want to cook anything on the stove. (Yes, we bought a barbecue, but have no idea how to put it together.)
How does Arizona support all this energy use?
Arizona’s Palo Verde nuclear power plant is the largest nuclear plant in the United States. But, fellow greenies, be not dismayed. Maricopa County in Arizona is about to play host to the second largest solar power plant, bested only by China.
“Solar power in Arizona has the potential,” according to past-Governor Janet Napolitano, “for making Arizona the Persian Gulf of solar energy.”
What does Arizona’s most well-known sheriff, Joe Arpaio, think of this? I don’t think he much minds either way. The lads and lasses in his Tent City Maricopa County Jail don’t get air conditioning, even though the temperature inside these canvas barracks can reach 145 F. When the prisoners complain, he responds, "It's 120 degrees in Iraq and the soldiers are living in tents, have to wear full body armour, and they didn't commit any crimes, so shut your mouths.” (Yikes!)
But to Sheriff Joe’s credit, he does have a heart for homeless companion animals. His no-kill shelter, MASH, was created to house and care for animals that have been abused or neglected by their caretakers, and that have been rescued by the Animal Cruelty Investigative Unit.
The first shelter opened by Sheriff Arpaio is in the 30-year-old First Avenue Jail, which is said to be no longer suitable for housing inmates. Detention officer staff and sentenced female inmates care for the animals in AIR CONDITIONED, companion animal-centred housing.
An inmate was asked if she was resentful that the cats and dogs she was caring for get to have air-conditioning while she had to bake in a tent. She simply gestured to the dogs and said, "They didn't do anything wrong. I did."
Me, I’d be howling.
Jan Carrie Steven is a volunteer with Cat Adoption Trust Sudbury (CATS) and the co-ordinator of Small Things: Cats & Books. For more information, go to www.smallthings.ca.