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July 17, 2017 / philosophermouseofthehedge

Even Cool Ones Lie.

Arizona scheming. Nothing like those scorching hot metal clam-shaped patio chairs (Which are now retro trendy. Humans are slow learners.) (USPD/

The lettering on the motel signs was small, but that was serious motivation to improve reading skills.

We quickly learned the difference between when traveling the steamy Southwest. Even whizzing by too fast and almost delirious from a day in a hot car.  

(Fool me once, shame on you, sneaky adult. Fool me twice…)

We were convinced that “air cooled” wasn’t. Only a ploy to trick travelers into a place that should be passed by.

Everyone had criteria.

Mom wanted a kitchenette. And maybe a washateria close.

Dad, parking right at the door for hauling stuff in and out of the car. And a cafe serving early morning coffee next door.

We looked for signs of “pool” and “air conditioning”. Never “air cooled.”

Air coolers were metal, water-filled rattling contraptions that acted like they were actually doing something.

To us, if humidity isn’t taken out of the air, it ain’t cool no matter how much air is blowing.

Might as well stay in the tent and save money. (And tolerate insane suggestions of “Imagine being on an iceberg floating in the Arctic…” Moms sometimes ask too much.)

Many survival skills are acquired during road trips.

Motel Postcard. Motel in New Mexico.1930-45/Tichnor Bros. Boston Pub.Lib/USPD. artist life, pub,date/

Close, but no yucca, New Mexico. (USPD./

Tired of sweltering while camping out (either by choice or by hurricane…) or environmentally mug about solar? Possible answer boxed up with DIY air conditioning.

(We will ignore the environmental damage made by creating plastics, dyes, batteries, and manufacturing…)

At least this one won’t rust. Not guaranteeing you won’t get a mildew-ish smell after a while. But in a pinch…

Freezing ice in 2 liter bottles is our choice for storm prep for extending fridge life during hurricanes. They stack well. Just don’t fill the bottle all the way up to allow for expansion by the ice. Replace cap after freezing keeps the water in the bottle as it melts.

Less mess is cool.

We are scheduled to host both The German and her sidekick in training, Ella, shortly.

Molly Malamute is thrilled. The extreme heat has her housebound and bored.

Determinedly relocating  her toy stash into her nighttime safe zone in preparation, though. They have to be separated at night. You know how sleepovers get out of control quickly.

RC Cat of the Realm insists the K-9 guests would enjoy sleeping out under the stars. Hot? Phiff. She’s suggesting this blue box as a chilling solution instead of the living room couch.

Must also locate what The German calls the largest water bowl in the world for desperate redirection of  excessive energies splashdowns and sloshes. There’s the week ahead to batten down the hatches get ready…and plead with the rain gods to have pity on us.

Sweating the mother of detention.

Phil, the Philosopher Mouse of the Hedge

Diagram explaining how Evaporative Air Cooler works for house. (Nevit/

If it doesn’t cool one room, how can it cool a whole house? Maybe in some dryer universe. But as a little kid it was fun pouring jars of water into one an ancient uncle had in his farm house – until it rusted out. I think it was mainly there to entertain small guests or to make such a racket that it kept unwanted critters away. (Nevit/



  1. shoreacres / Jul 17 2017 6:45 am

    A friend who grew up in the Panhandle remembered making trips in a car outfitted with one of those evaporative coolers — except the ones for the cars involved hay bales, and who knows what else. But he said it worked, sort of. At least it kept the inside of the car relatively comfortable. I’m sure the lack of humidity helped. They say that in Arizona the “swamp cooler” is far more efficient than it is here in the swamp.

    Here’s a related question, only because it also involves a “gadget.” Do you know of a good camera repair place? I looked at the website of one in Webster, but the grammar and spelling — and the description of their services — made it clear it’s a front for selling cheap equipment. I’m going to call Houston Camera later this morning. From their website, it looks like they only have sales: no service.
    But, perhaps they could recommend someone.

    As you can imagine, there’s a story involved, but I didn’t drop it or anything. It just needs a little TLC. I had no idea the thought of being without my camera would be so traumatizing! 🙂


    • philosophermouseofthehedge / Jul 17 2017 8:51 am

      Camera MIA? Withdrawal symptoms bound to be next.(Watching for that story) We always used Houston Camera – they ought to be able to suggest someone (probably where there’s traffic)Will ask around over here.
      A swamp cooler in the car? We would fight to see who got the seat by the ice box (a metal RC Cola one – I still have it) ’cause it would sweat and the outside would be cold. Someone could chill their feet on it in exchange for less room on their side of the car….you learn about trade-offs early on road trips HAHA
      Thanks for adding a drippy remark


  2. easyweimaraner / Jul 17 2017 7:09 am

    this ac could be a project for us ;o) ..or better not?


  3. Kate Crimmins / Jul 17 2017 7:19 am

    Biggest water bowl? Is that perhaps a pool? I love when the German and friend visit. It always means some snarky posts from RC and her exasperated humans. Party on!


    • philosophermouseofthehedge / Jul 17 2017 9:07 am

      There’s an ankle deep wading pool stashed away for dog entertainment. It’s been the rainiest summer – great for the plants, but anticipating so many muddy paws. RC has also suggested promoting mud wrestling contests, but we aren’t sure she understands…
      Thanks for partying along

      Liked by 1 person

  4. Beth / Jul 17 2017 8:16 am

    Timely post! Dad and I were discussing “swamp”/evaporative coolers yesterday, and Dad was surprised they still mad them. Hope we can all stay cool over the next few months.


    • philosophermouseofthehedge / Jul 17 2017 1:43 pm

      I forgot the called them swamp coolers. Odd name for them considering with swamp humidity, it ain’t gonna work well or going to last long. HAHA
      I think the one at that farm was second hand store from another relative in the Austin area ( where it is a bit dryer, but the heat on those rocks…whew!)
      We’re right at normal temps (it was 95 at 8 am the other morning) but the frequent clouds and rain showers are helping. Still all the neighborhood dogs are tired of being stuck inside and go nuts when we risk walking just before totally dark. Thanks for stopping by and heating things up with a comment


  5. sustainabilitea / Jul 17 2017 8:34 am

    After reading this, I’m enjoying the cool morning even more that I was before! 🙂 Water frozen in 2-liter bottles (which we never have as we don’t drink anything that comes in one) or plastic gallon milk/water containers also work wonderfully for coolers, as they don’t leak and make a mess. Finding the room to freeze them can be a problem, though, unless you have a deep freeze.

    Be cool!



    • philosophermouseofthehedge / Jul 17 2017 1:56 pm

      Before storms we salvage 2 litter plastic bottles from neighbors who are amused we want those. We gave up the big freezer years ago, but do keep some a couple of containers of frozen ice in the refrig’s freezer – runs less/cost less to keep it full of something. Besides, you have to eat all he ice cream before a storm as it might melt HA HA. We have used milk/water jugs in the past, but they do not stack as well/harder to freeze than the bottles (which also have better caps). It’s good to freeze a couple of big jugs of water for cooler/refridge shelves if there’s time as the big icy things melt more slowly. Not much block ice easy to find around here. You gather strange skills when you live in hurricane country, don’t you? Thanks for icing down a comment to leave

      Liked by 1 person

      • sustainabilitea / Jul 17 2017 2:36 pm

        Thankfully we don’t live in hurricane country, but we do use a large cooler when on vacation. 🙂


  6. Sarah Ferguson and Choppy / Jul 17 2017 10:37 am

    And you can keep your beer cold at the same time with the DIY air conditioner!


  7. Anne Mehrling / Jul 17 2017 11:19 am

    Misery! I grew up in the days before houses were air conditioned. There is no part of that life I’d like to relive.


    • philosophermouseofthehedge / Jul 17 2017 1:25 pm

      Houses, schools, churches (those little fans on sticks did nothing but entertain small children …and get you in trouble for whacking your brother.)
      Thanks for waving over a comment on this hot topic


      • Anne Mehrling / Jul 17 2017 3:27 pm

        I laughed at “whacking your brother.” I didn’t do that, but I fanned myself mightily. Probably worked up a sweat with exuberant fanning.


        • philosophermouseofthehedge / Jul 17 2017 3:33 pm

          You were’t allowed to swat that annoying kid in front of you with enthusiastic fanning while standing either…. 🙂

          Liked by 1 person

  8. Curt Mekemson / Jul 17 2017 12:09 pm

    I was raised in a house with one swamp cooler, Phil. It was in the foothills of the Sierra’s and summer temperatures would often soar to 100 F plus. Hot, hot, hot! But that old swamp cooler with its drip down cooling was something of a savior, regardless of how inefficient it seemed. As for motels, I can’t even remember staying in any. Maybe once. –Curt


    • philosophermouseofthehedge / Jul 17 2017 1:36 pm

      Those temps here are pretty common, too (but with extreme coastal humidity) Whole house fans with open screened windows were standard then, not trendy.(and we lived at the city’s pool when stuck at home.)
      On trips, we wailed as we passed the motel signs as their pool beckoned. Dad would relent and stop only if there were obvious thunderstorms/flash flood warnings (those old heavy canvas tents are a chore to roll up when wet – and setting up a wet tent that’s been baking all day on the road would give up such a smell all night. Once a week we did have to stop for laundry somewhere (packing light was a necessity with car spacer limited by camping gear and food box.) Every night we had to pay for motel room would be shorten our trip…we would drive out with a certain amount of money and when half of it was gone, we had to turn around and go home…where it was hot and booooring.
      Living without AC gives you a whole different perspective and appreciation about thing, right? Real life. Thanks for packing a comment into this camp


      • Curt Mekemson / Jul 20 2017 8:50 am

        Our trips, I’m sorry to say, were pretty much limited to driving to see the grandparents. Family obligation plus cheap vacation. Not that it was bad. There was plenty of play and spoiling, but I could have used much more of the open road. I’ve since made up for it. 🙂 –Curt

        Liked by 1 person

        • philosophermouseofthehedge / Jul 21 2017 5:00 pm

          We had lots of elderly relatives on the farms, but those were weekend trips. All year long we would put all our change each night into a big jar and that became road trip money in June. And often our parents would say, “We can spend this money on this, or we can put the amount in the vacation fund” We always voted for the vacation fund.We lived simply and ate lots of tuna and peanut butter, but worth it. Once you’re addicted to travel, it’s hard to stay inside 4 walls. Thanks for driving in the chat


  9. Ally Bean / Jul 18 2017 7:34 am

    That cooler air conditioner is amazing. I’ve never seen anything like it, but now need to make one. Of course considering how hot it is here I may never get up the gumption to do so. Still…


    • philosophermouseofthehedge / Jul 18 2017 10:32 am

      The solar improv was a new thought to me. In any case it’s much better than a chunk of ice in a dish pan on the floor with a fan blowing across it. I’ve seen old timers do that. No need to try the optional: sit in a chair and put your feet on a chunk of ice – your arches start aching like crazy…another game played by very hot and very bored kids with no TV…
      Fun with ice. Must be summer. Thanks for adding a drippy comment

      Liked by 1 person

  10. The Hook / Jul 18 2017 11:56 am

    That “mad scientist’ air conditioner is super cool!
    As for truth in hotel advertising, sadly, you’re exactly right on all counts.


    • philosophermouseofthehedge / Jul 18 2017 1:05 pm

      Good to spend time looking for real fun in the sun – weird/creative inventions are much more entertaining than the mall or big box stores. Let’s see what’s else is in the garage’s bag o’mystery…you never know. Thanks for chilling here for a bit


  11. LordBeariOfBow / Jul 18 2017 10:42 pm

    Am I odd, I’m not fond of air-conditioning, although when I was living in the Great Sandy Desert with temperatures in the low 50°’s, it came in handy.

    It needs to be bloody hot for me to turn our air-conditioning thing on, 40° plus, Much prefer to have windows open and sweat like a pig.oink oink 😀

    Now I ask again; am I odd?


    • philosophermouseofthehedge / Jul 21 2017 5:54 pm

      Not odd – a person who longs for the real experience. I get cabin fever with all the windows shut and blinds closed against the blazing summer sun. Living in a tropical climate with high humidity wouldn’t be popular with out AC in cars and buildings here. (One summer we had 27 days of over 100 F with high humidity. Today was only 95F with heat index of 104 so not quite heat emergency conditions declared…next weekend should hit 100F. Night temps about 80F+ currently.)
      But I do get tired of having to lug a sweater because the places are so chilled. We have an old fashioned house with opening windows – double paned/with screens, but so many of the modern fancy places have fixed glass. Spoils the other 8 months out of the year. We just pretend being inside now is equal to those who have bitter winters up north and are stuck inside. But the Husky/Malamute dog is really bored. Can’t wait until Halloween when it actually cools down enough to be tolerable…or maybe a mountain trip in order…
      Thanks for breezing in with a comment (Be over shortly to check out what you’ve been up to)

      Liked by 1 person

      • LordBeariOfBow / Jul 22 2017 6:26 pm

        Haven’t been up to much at all lately Phil, I’m trying to work up the interest to start hitting the key board again. 🐻

        Liked by 1 person

        • philosophermouseofthehedge / Jul 23 2017 4:09 pm

          Yeah, ditto here. Someday chickens, some day letters (Or is that take-off on the old phrase “Someday chicken, someday feathers” a little too regional to offer any meaning? Anyways, may be heat related lack of energy here. Cheers – and hasta later)


  12. Kirt D Tisdale / Jul 19 2017 3:43 pm

    Growing up in Iowa without air conditioning is a memory seared into my mind……I can still remember trying to go to sleep in that humid misery…..somehow the house went to central air as all four of us kids grew up and left home…huh?? Traveling was camping and windows rolled down to get air blowing through the car. The good news is that my folks left the desert driving to “night time”….fun post!!


    • philosophermouseofthehedge / Jul 21 2017 6:02 pm

      Dad would even get us up at 4 am if we had a desert drive ahead…people worried about cars overheating. Did they ever try to convince you that holding a wet wash rag over your face made it tolerable? HaHa. My folks got one lovely window unit to cool the bedrooms and hall when I was in high school.When they retired and moved to a new house, they though central heat and air was a true miracle. August always is a time I look out over the simmering coastal prairie and marvel how determined and sturdy those who lived in the era before were. We forget how hard life was and can be. Thanks for chilling down a comment to leave

      Liked by 1 person

  13. pegoleg / Jul 20 2017 3:14 pm

    Hard to believe all of us over 50 were raised without AC. Indoor plumbing, heating and cooling are the most important inventions ever, in my opinion. Stay cool!


    • philosophermouseofthehedge / Jul 21 2017 4:51 pm

      You are so right.
      Life was lived differently without AC. I think all the neighborhood kids lived in the city pools from 10-12 and 2-as late as your mom would allow. 12-2 was mandated indoor time mainly spent reading the required summer library books …and yes there was a test in the fall and those books were background information for the entire year’s well as vocabulary knowledge. I do not know how the fathers managed business/office clothes even with short sleeved shirts, and seersucker/summer weight suits. Offices with window were valued for more than just views. But we managed until we got our first window unit to cool the bedrooms at least. We all wanted to take science in high school as the labs were air-conditioned. Porches are cool, but AC is even cooler. Thanks for breezing by with a comment


  14. The Coastal Crone / Jul 29 2017 11:09 am

    I remember staying in courts like these and have several old vintage post cards. Adventures in travel!


    • philosophermouseofthehedge / Jul 31 2017 4:29 pm

      “See the USA in your Chevrolet” era. So many of those small motels looked alike. We thought we’d moved uptown when there was a pool. (another word I learned to read early from signs HAHA) Thanks for traveling this road


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