When we were deciding to live here, I spent not one second contemplating the fact that it didn't have central air. It just didn't occur to me. It was winter, and this place had beautiful light pouring in from huge windows in every room and offered free radiator heat. Free heat! In Chicago! We were going to save thousands.
And we probably did. From February to May, life here was so comfortable and our monthly bills are a fraction of what we used to pay to heat and cool a townhouse. But then, summer set in early and weather records starting getting broken with the heat. Right around the same time, I started to get sick. At 5 weeks pregnant, I was nauseated and depleted of energy and started getting very sensitive to temperature and odor, and then we had a couple of 100 degree days.
We went out and bought an air conditioning unit, and it was $150, which is fine for one AC unit, but we weren't going to buy any more at that price. Tim installed it in our bedroom and for the whole month of June, I spent my days and nights in that room working on my laptop and napping and vomiting and generally being pregnant. Tim toughed it out in the office (where we used to spend all of our working hours together) until he could stand it no longer and bought another $150 AC unit to give him some relief. Those two little units allowed us to work and sleep, but didn't improve much else at home. Call me cheap, but I wasn't willing to spend any more than $300 on improving a situation in an an apartment that we might not even live in next year. It would have cost us another $600 to outfit the rest of the rooms in our apartment with new AC units, and that was neither appealing nor in the budget.
Leaving the protective igloo of our air conditioned bedroom to run an errand or even go to the bathroom brought on a wave of heat, which brought on a wave of nausea, and I was so miserable. Those beautiful big windows in every room ushered in the full heat of the sun, and being on the top floor only increased the temperature as heat wafted up through the floorboards. Turning on the oven to cook dinner brought the kitchen to over 110 degrees, so we ate sandwiches. I left windows open to try to catch a breeze, and with it came extra dust that coated the floors. By the end of July, I was talking about moving out.
And then last week, salvation came. We saw our downstairs neighbors packing up and moving out. Soon their kitchen window, which we had to walk by in order to get to our car, was bare and displayed a totally empty apartment save for 4 AC units grouped on the tile floor. We acted immediately by leaving a note on their door asking if we could PLEASE buy those units from them? And they called back and said yes, we could have all four for $100.
I don't have a moral to this story. Life in my home is livable and enjoyable again, and it's because of stuff. I don't know where we'll put them in the winter when we need to seal our windows again, and I don't know if we'll be able to recuperate any of the money we spent on these when we eventually move out, but I can cook a meal in my oven and eat at the kitchen table with my husband and hug him for a long time without having to pull away. So.