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Friday, October 30, 2015

We'll Always Have Newport: Chapter 8- Heatwave On The Homefront






(June 2010-September 2010)

Almost immediately upon my arrival to Newport, the Sailor and I face  our first major hurdle as a couple.
The quaint second floor apartment with its sturdy hardwood floors and elegant wainscoting transformed itself into an oven of sorts. Especially in the front rooms of the apartment.

I grew up in the humid Midwest and spent many a summer performing chores on my grandparents farm during the heat of the day.

However, one expects 100 plus degree days during the summers in Kansas. According to my research the summers in Newport, Rhode Island would  mainly consist of balmy days of no more than 85 degrees in temperature.

In the midst of this heatwave, my mind envisions sedate late afternoon picnics on the beach. The breeze softly whipping my raven colored hair around my face as we carefully set up our picnic blanket on the beach.

Daintily, I spread out the contents of the picnic basket and the skirt portion of my tea length red and white gingham print cotton sundress. A pair of matching red flip flops adorn my feet. The Sailor is wearing khaki board shorts and a short sleeved sky blue madras shirt. We gaze lovingly into each other's eyes and... the whirring of the deluxe fan which was borrowed from one of the Sailor's buddies brings me out of my heat induced reverie.

This behemoth fan is strategically placed to create cross-ventilation without taking down the wooden painting hanging up in the living room.

Whenever the monster fan setting is on high, the wooden painting begins tapping against the wall. The Sailor assures me that the wooden painting is firmly affixed to the wall and will most likely not crash down any time soon.

Our "picnics" are relegated to positioning ourselves between the monster fan and a box fan which is placed in the living room window. Typically, our "picnic" cuisine consists of sliced Vermont cheddar cheese, grapes, crackers, prosciutto, sliced cucumbers, and celery sticks. Occasionally, I am able to throw a salad together but, for the most part, it is  just too hot to consume lettuce.


My long "raven" hair rarely whips around my face in a romantic fashion. In fact, most days, I slap my hair into a loose chignon with lots of bobby pins to keep it out of my face. My tea length sun dress is hanging up in the closet.  In this heat, running shorts and  tank tops are more practical attire.  The Sailor mainly rocks T-shirts and cargo shorts.

After a couple of weeks, I feel myself start to lose it and I start researching air-conditioning units.

We do not need anything fancy. A window unit for the living room would be perfect. There is just one catch, all of the air conditioning units under $400 seem to be completely sold out in the Northeast.

How can an entire region of the country be out air conditioners under $400? 

This kind of thing does not happen on the West Coast, Southwest, or even the Midwest. I contact a few of my West Coast and Southwest friends to brainstorm ways to get us an air conditioner.

In the end, the Sailor and I decide to look for a more inexpensive way to cool the apartment.

He goes into what I affectionately call "ship mode". Ship mode consists of him assessing a situation and then taking swift and decisive action. We end purchasing another box fan which he positions in an open bedroom window which faces the neighbor's yard. He props the bedroom door open and places the monster fan at an angle in the middle of the living room. Finally, he takes the 3rd fan and places it in the living room window which faces the backyard and is next to the couch.

After a few minutes, the living room cools down considerably. This means that we will be able to retire to the bedroom before midnight.

The Sailor weighs at least 80 pounds more than I do, which means that when he moves the whole air mattress goes with him. More than a few times, find myself face planted into the hardwood floor or crashing into the wall due to his unexpectedly getting out of bed.

For some reason, this amuses me to no end and I cannot stop laughing at the absurdity of the situation and how prior to moving here , my daydreams  of Newport never involved having snack plate picnics lodged between two fans or sharing an air mattress with the Sailor.

Through this heatwave, neither one of us has even remotely been cranky. Instead, we crack jokes and swap silly childhood anecdotes which results in us breaking into a fit of uncontrollable laughter. Inevitably, this merrymaking capsizes the air mattress and I go rolling into the wall again. This only serves to make us both laugh harder.


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