Thermostat Wars: All Hail the Mighty Air Conditioner

Thermostat Wars: All Hail the Mighty Air Conditioner

Thermostat Wars: All Hail the Mighty Air Conditioner


Okay, I’m going to admit something.

I’ve perhaps grown a little too fond of Mr. Carrier. Secretly, I may refer to him as . . . my beloved Willis.

Are you familiar with him?

As a child, I had only heard him praised by friends, and enjoyed his work vicariously whenever I’d go over to visit their homes during the summer. Now, however, I hold his work in high esteem and praise him daily from June through mid September.

I grew up in an ages old renovated farm-house in Park Ridge, IL. As the story goes, it was the first house on our block, and was over one hundred years old when my family moved in more than 50 years ago.

The house was a conglomeration of attached rooms that grew with the needs of its inhabitants: a front porch and bedroom added on here, a back sunroom tacked on there, and an exterior stairway enclosed way back over there so that its owners didn’t have to face the midwestern elements in the dead of winter when we headed down to what used to be the cellar but then became the basement to grab a repurposed Cool Whip container full of frozen stewed tomatoes stashed in the secondary freezer.

The basement held captive a colossal monstrosity of a furnace with tentacle tubes stretching up and out like an armor-clad version of Diver Dan’s deep-sea nemesis. What the house never held, at least during the time I lived there, was an air conditioning unit. The heat pumped up mightily through the tentacles and out through the cast iron grates in every room during the winter, warming my toes and billowing my nightgown out around my legs like a Scarlet O’Hara wannabe as I stood over the cast iron grate. During the summer, however, we were left to fend for our sweaty selves.

All of the bedrooms were on the second floor of the house where the close, hot, heavy air chose to host nightly, sultry soirées. Our bedroom windows thrown open wide, I’d position my pillow down at the foot of my bed in front of the screen, and silently thank God for the rush of warm air that the massive house fan sucked in through the windows and across my damp brow.

Now that I’m an adult and a homeowner in my own right, Mr. Carrier works his magic every single summer night and day in our house. As I type, the air is set a 72º. My bare toes are chilly and I’m tempted to either turn down the air, or put on woolen ski socks, which, of course, is a ridiculous thought when it’s 93º outside, right?

Hold on, I’m turning down the air.

There. Much better. My toes have begun to thaw.

We have a bit of an air temperature struggle in our home.

I’m so done with sweating through the night as I did in my youth. Accordingly, the last thing I do each evening is set our portable thermostat to 71º before I nod off.

See, I pump out enough heat when I sleep to rival the mighty deep-sea-tentacled furnace of my childhood. Frankly, I’d prefer the air to be set at 68º. My husband, on the other hand, is chilled to the bone each night and would prefer the air to be set at 75º. But because I would melt like the Wicked Witch of the West with that warm of a setting, and because he could simply wear something warmer to sleep in, we compromise.

At least that’s the agreement.

Lately, when I’ve risen at my ungodly early hour however, I’ve found the thermostat slowly creeping up a notch each night. Nothing remarkable or alarming. Just a stealthy, steady, gradual climb that might be overlooked by a more sweetly trusting spouse than I.

It was 72º for a while. Then 73º. And yesterday morning, 76º, which explains why I woke up drenched in a supreme case of the night sweats looking like the creature from the black lagoon at 3:00 a.m.

“Jame, how is it that the thermostat setting has steadily climbed to 76º at night?” I inquired the next morning.

“It has? Oh, must have been an accident. My bad,” he replied with a forced, distracted air, his eyes glued to his iPhone.

Uh huh. A likely story.

Last night, before I went to sleep, I set the portable thermostat at a crisp and lovely 68º, then somehow got confused and tucked it away in my underwear drawer before I snuggled under the covers.

OOPS! My bad.

Last night, I also slept like a top and dreamt of my sweet, brilliant Mr. Carrier serving me iced lemonade on a shady veranda.

And when I eventually awoke, it was to my husband wrapped up like King Tut in our king-sized down comforter.

I gently kissed the top of his puffy head, unearthed the thermostat from beneath a pair of pink panties, and quietly placed it back on the shelf in the foyer where it belongs, resetting it to a daytime-comfortable 74º.

No one comes between me and my beloved Willis.

No one.


Do you engage in your own version of: Thermostat Wars – the Next Dimension?




Written by Becky


  • Catherine says:

    Ha Ha Ha!!!! You two are quietly creative with the thermostat wars. My hubby is wrapped in multiple blankets in the summer while I do very well with just a sheet. I too am fond of Willis.

  • Very good! Always entertaining and informative. I like nostalgia too. Keep it up.

    A fan,


  • Yep, Becky, I too was raised in a house devoid of Mr. Carrier’s marvelous invention. (No one’s bungalow on our block at that time in Berwyn had an a/c.) I used to haul my twin bed mattress MYSELF out of the bedroom down the hall, through the kitchen and into the sunroom where all the four windows could be opened with the hope that a breeze might stir during the dark hours. Oh but aren’t we addicted now to our comforts? Car, home, office, church, whatever….we expect COMFORT immediately!!! How did we live then? Yet, we did, and didn’t think much of the discomfort in the hot summer months. We often retreated to the basement, especially on ironing day. (For your information that’s when a gadget called an “iron” is heated electrically and pressed against clothing support by an “ironing board”. Sound familiar? NO I’m sure not!)
    Are we soft now. You betcha! YLM

  • Patty from MMC says:

    Funny! I agree about getting hot at night. My a/c is at 74, but that seems to keep the house nice and comfortable. (My windows are tinted and super energy efficient, plus there aren’t many of them.) I would,like it to be colder at night and then snuggle under the duvet, but I am too cheap to turn the a/c down much lower. When I was a child, we didn’t have a/c either. I would sleep on the floor in front of the screen door in the living room. We weren’t that afraid in the 60’s in Mt. Prospect of violence or crime on our subdivision street.

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About Me:

Hi! My name is Becky. I’m a mom, a wife, a friend, a writer, and a compulsive thinker. Don't invite me to a spa or to shop the day away, but rather, make me laugh, engage me in interesting conversation, play a game with me, or give me a cappuccino and homemade vanilla bean flan and I’m yours ‘til the cows come home.

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