Wednesday, September 27, 2023

Autumn comes, then let us be glad

I got in the car with the kids last Thursday to find that the air conditioning had gone out—but only on the driver's side. I'm guessing it's a problem with the blend door actuator because I have been curious about those little animal-scratching noises I've been hearing/feeling by my steering wheel and the maker of this video describes such noises

Did we take the car into the mechanic in May to get a clean bill of health before driving across the country? Yes.

Did they say anything about the clicking/scratching sound when the A/C was running? No. 

I mean, I didn't either, but it's been doing it for such a long time that it almost feels like it has always been a part of the van. 

No matter. 

It's not making those noises anymore. And it's not making cool air anymore, either. 

Now, math isn't precisely my strong suit, but I'm pretty good at putting two and two together.

I'm just so happy that the van waited until basically the first day of autumn to pull a stunt like this. It's not cool yet, but it's not super hot and humid, either. All the windows in the house are open right now and driving with the windows open has been fine, too. We're really lucky this didn't happen while we were making our way across the country!

There are worse things that could happen to your vehicle, I know. Air conditioning is a luxury. 

Most of the vehicles my family owned when I was growing up didn't have A/C, anyway. This wasn't much a problem in Canada, where a heating block is more important than an A/C system. So we'd just unroll the windows and deal with it for the few weeks that it got hot. I remember once on a trip down to Utah in the "black cherry" van, my mom got a little fan to plug into the auxiliary power port (which was only ever labeled as a cigarette lighter back then). She put a cup of ice in the cup holder and clipped the fan to the vents in the front, hoping to send some cooler air to those of us in the back-back seat who were feeling rather stifled.

When I was growing up, Utah always felt oppressively hot to me. Like, I couldn't imagine a warmer place on the face of the planet. One time my cousin Elizabeth and I walked from her house (which later became my house) to the park—literally only 500 feet away from her front door, just a two minute walk—and I thought I was going to die of heat exhaustion. 

She was fine. 

I was suffering. I couldn't ever remember feeling so hot!

Joke's on me because I live in Georgia now, where I've truly learned to appreciate air conditioning because the summers are so humid and sweltery that it doesn't ever feel like a good time to open the windows. My mom (who lives in Utah now) will often want to jump off late-night phone calls in the summer because it'll be cool enough for her to open the windows and'm two hours ahead of her, time-wise, and it's not even close to being cooler outside than it is inside.

But now? It's glorious now! I love the fall in Georgia!

So we'll deal with the air conditioning when we get around to it. In the meantime, we'll enjoy the fresh autumn breeze. 

Speaking of which, this morning I got a good chuckle over this news story warning of cooler temperatures to come...

"When could the first freeze arrive in Georgia? It may still seem more like summer outside than fall...but don't get caught by surprise when the temperatures drop" it warned. Now, I realize this was a bit of click-bate, but I also have a pumpkin or something trying to grow in my garden right now so I figured I probably didn't want to be surprised by a hard frost (though I would be really surprised to get freezing temperatures in September here). Still, I figured I should check just in case I needed to pull out some sheets to drape over my garden at night...

When I clicked into the story it informed me that the change could be "less than a month away for some areas of north Georgia" with the mountains hitting freezing temperatures the first part of October (which, granted, is upon us)...and the rest of Georgia seeing freezing nighttime temperatures round about...November.

Like, please. November?! 

Nothing too surprising about temperatures dropping below freezing (at night) in November.

Autumn in Georgia is glorious! As far as I know, the mountains in Utah had their first snow in August. And Alberta had active frost warnings last week. By November either of those places will be actively cold (compared to Georgia, at least).

That said, our neighbours found a copperhead in their garage the other day. September is copperhead season

That's probably the one downside to autumn in the south—snakes!

And, I just learned that (a) copperhead snakes are born live rather than hatch from eggs, (b) larger copperhead populations tend to coincide with cicada brood years, (c) next year is a brood year for periodical cicada XIX in Georgia (though our particular county isn't listed as a probable location). 

We're lucky and get annual cicadas here every summer, which are loud enough. When you add in a periodical cicada brood things get downright deafening! Apparently they come with snakes, too!

Anyway, I don't need a news article to tell me when the temperatures are dropping. I'll know to start looking for frost when I stop hearing cicadas cackling in the trees...

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