The Mystery of Dads and Air Conditioning

Wednesday, June 14, 2017

Anyone else feeling that heat wave right now?

In honor of Father's Day this weekend, I'm making the trek back to Nebraska to stay at my parent's house for a few days. And I am praying the weather cools off, because "do you know what it costs to cool an old house? DO YOU?" 

A fortune.

Or "stock in the electric bill." If you don't know what that means, well neither do I. It was something I always heard growing up when I refused to shut off lights, keep fans running all day, or God forbid leave the back door open for longer than a second when the air was supposedly on.

"Were you raised in a barn?" My dad would ask, followed by, "the A.C. is running!"

Is it, dad? IS IT? Because this house feels like it's 104 degrees. 

Sorry, this is clearly a ... dare I say heated subject for me. I've been fighting the air problem at my parents house since the early 90s. Since I was about five years old and was certain my dad had sensors on the thermostat because no matter where he was in the house, or in the state of Nebraska, he somehow always knew when my little fingers were about to reach up and turn that nob down a notch.

"What are you doing?" He'd suddenly pop out of the floorboards, or the vents, who knows where he was hiding, but he knew what I was about to do. He always knew.

"Nothing," I'd lie and scamper off, once again unsuccessful at turning that magical little Honeywell nob.

In older homes the air control isn't ran by buttons, but an actual circular nob you turn left to right. I'm not sure if "nob" is the correct term, I just know Honeywell is the maker because that's what it reads in the middle and as a kid I'd always stare at it and think, "honey, well this isn't working."

In the thick of a Nebraska summer, when it was still 95 degrees and humid at 10 p.m., my sister, brother, and myself, would actually lay sheets down in my parents room and sleep on their floor, because a floor was a better option than our stifling hot beds. Also, their room was the coldest in the house... imagine that. They claim it's because their room was a part of the "new addition," but I think the verdict is still out on that one.

You ever have those childhood memories that you don't realize are really kinda weird until you look back on them 20 years later? That's one of them for me. And yet it was so completely normal at the time.

But I digress.

My parents have gotten a little better with the air. A little. I'll be able to give you a full update in about eight hours.

And just to be safe, I'm packing a misting tent with me to set up in my old room. A room that is now a mix of my old high school memorabilia plus my dad's elliptical plus my mom's gift wrapping accessories.

Back to my parents house I go!


  1. My Dad is just the exact opposite. He's always complaining about the heat and asking to switch on the aircon. And guess who pays the electricity bill?

    Charmaine Ng | Architecture & Lifestyle Blog

  2. I live in an old house, and the upstairs has two window air conditioners. My dad told me to close the door where one of them is to prevent my dog from going in there, and I'm thinking, why don't you close it when you bring him downstairs (He's five and a half months old and not to be trusted alone).

  3. My parents totally had the Honeywell little knob, too! I remember not knowing how to work the thermostat in my first apartment because it wasn't the same thing, haha. Have fun at home!

  4. So funny you touch on this topic as I was just explaining a similar story to my husband. I grew up in the old farmhouse my dad was raised in, and while we didn't have any sort of air conditioning, we did have a struggling furnace controlled by a wall knob. Like your dad, mine always seemed to know when my sister or I were anywhere near that thing. Even if we adjusted it after school then changed it back before he got home at night! How is that?!? Anyway, because my dad was so rigid I now have this weird thing about the thermostat. When my husband got home yesterday I was wearing a heavy sweater in the house, he said, why not just turn the air up if you're cold? I said, I don't know, I feel like I shouldn't be touching that thing. Scarred!

  5. Oh my goodness, YES!!! This must be just a parent thing because my parents are still SO bad! Very relatable post haha - Good luck, praying for cool temps for you! ;)

  6. HA! I literally had this thought/argument/feeling just last night after sleeping at my parents house too! It was so hot, and while the air was on, it was turned up so high, I was sweating just looking at the damn thing. My dad likes to turn on the attic fan, for a whopping 15 minutes to "cool down the upstairs"...but after those 15 minutes, he turns it off, and it's hot AF again. you're not the only one mrs tay! :) enjoy Nebraska!

  7. This took me back to my childhood and dad yelling shut the doors the air con is on and were you born in a tent

  8. I can barely breathe in my old bedroom back home for the same reason. They turn the air off at night "so they don't get stuffy" (aka, so the cold air doesn't mess up their sinuses,) and I lay there in the hot quietness and swearing that "once this house is mine I'm installing ceiling fans." I don't know how they can sleep without some kind of air moving around them, because I feel like I'm suffocating.

  9. Yesss. We didn't have air conditioning until I was around 10 and before that my parents would put a small tabletop type fan on the floor between my room and my sister's and set it to oscillate. Really??? Couldn't splurge for a fan for each of us?? Hahah. Meanwhile my parents had a window A/C unit for their room. Gee thanks mom and dad!

  10. cracking up because this is my dad. Except him and his buddies used to see who could keep the heat off longest in the winter. So all the kids would switch between houses wearing gloves inside...dads..

    xo, Maddy

  11. Haha! I could've written this. It is always stifling hot in my parents' house, but sooo perfectly cool it's a breeze in their bedroom. 🤔🤔🤔🤔

  12. "You're letting all the bought air out!!!" is a South Carolina favorite. I can so so relate to this post!! Love it

  13. Too funny! I remember sleeping on my mom's floor in the 90s during the summer because her room was the only room with an AC.

  14. This is hilarious. Totally remember this "SHUT THE DOOR" STOP RUNNING IN AND OUT. STAY OUT.

  15. LOL my parents never turn the AC on either! And in the winter, they turn the heat off at night...brrr. Keep us posted on the AC situation in NE :) Looking forward to more insta stories!

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  17. This is such a great post and reminds me of my childhood! No air conditioners in our house - my father said it makes you tough. No dad, it makes youn exhausted sweating to death all night. When we would, god forbid, leave a light on, he'd say "do you think we own the electric company". But, my all time favorite, was having to set my alarm 15 minutes before I needed to be up in the morning to turn on the hot water heater. Once the dishes were done for the night, within seconds, that switch went to off! I mean we were all asleep no one was using the water, so why did it have to be off? Dad called the hot water heater, the biggest sucker of electricity! Now I have my own home, lights on all the time, lots of hot water, and central a/c. But, I have said to my own kids, turn off the lights, we don't own the electric company, ha ha!