Lame Adventure 319: Baking in the Apple

It was very hot and humid all weekend, just the way I loathe it.  I don’t dare use my oven.  I’m eating so much rabbit food I’m nearing the point of scratching myself behind my ear with my foot.

Salad days.

This is the situation: I reside in an electrical inclusion brownstone that used to exclude air conditioning for all.  In recent years my building’s management began rewiring vacated apartments so that incoming tenants can have air conditioning.  They also pay obscenely higher rent than me. My sanctum sanctorum was wired in 1917 for little more than a kerosene lamp, a battery powered kazoo and public access TV stations that I never watch.  In years past, I frequently had companions I could crash with on extremely hot and humid nights.  My Current Companion has air conditioning and a roommate that is as immobile a fixture as a refrigerator so basically until September, when temperatures cool, I’m stuck suffering solo in my sweat lodge.  My Current Companion did meet me for dinner in midtown – and little else:

Current Companion (reasonable tone):  We don’t have to have sex every time we hang out you know.

Me (morbid tone):  We don’t?

Current Companion:  Sometimes it’s just nice to talk.

Me:  Talk about what, us not having sex?

One thing that was discussed was my fan situation, and I’m not referring to you, my seven loyal readers.  Shortly after I returned from my West Coast getaway, my beloved sixteen-year-old Vornado fan, which I admit had been showing signs of death for nearly a year, died.  None of my fan whispering techniques worked in my attempts to revive it.  These techniques included everything short of me doing a fan dance — shaking it gently, coaxing the blades with my steel letter opener (to avoid slicing off a digit I might need to use later) or turning the off/on button on slowly.  The hum the motor used to make was silent.  Frustrated I cried:

Me:  Please work!

My Beloved Vornado Fan:  I’m dead bitch!  I ain’t never gonna work again!  Don’t you get it?  You need to replace me!

Put that way, I went online and researched Vornado fans because I am brand loyal.  I also happen to have a backup Vornado, but it’s not an air circulator (Vornado’s preferred term for their fans) that could work the entirety of my garret.

Little workhorse Vornado fan that’s multidirectional and can blast air 65 feet.

During my research I discovered that Vornado now makes a tower fan.  When I was visiting my sister, Dovima, she had an oscillating tower fan that felt pretty good, but it was not a Vornado.  The Vornado tower fan doesn’t oscillate:

Vornado Tower Fan:  You don’t need no stinking oscillation!

The Vornado has a wide cooling zone so it blasts a constant span of airflow.  That works for me.  I did further research and I learned that my local Bed Bath and Beyond had the Vornado tower fan in stock.  It was selling for $99.99, but I created my 437th G-mail account to score a 20% off in-store coupon.  Including New York’s 8.875% sales tax the total came to $87.09.

The challenge was getting it home.  The box seemed to be taller than me, if I stood three and a half feet high but it was light, weighing around fifteen pounds.  I knew it was going to be bulky and I considered asking my companion to come uptown to help me get it home, but I knew what she would say:

Current Companion: Oh. My. God. You are so stupid! Just pay seven dollars and put it in a cab!  Promise me that you won’t carry it home yourself.  You’ll pull something or collapse.  Take a taxi!

Yet, I’d rather invest those seven shekels in a before noon movie screening at my local multiplex and then slip into another screening unnoticed since all women over forty have the invisibility gene.  I have yet to see Brave!

Realizing that it would behoove me to avoid this discussion with my companion, I didn’t seek her advice, I kept my seven clams pocketed and I decided to carry my ten-foot-tall-seeming Vornado tower fan home on a city bus.  I just made sure that all the senior citizens boarded ahead of me, but when a young woman tried to hop on before me and my tree-sized parcel, I flashed her my “not gonna happen” look and breathed a little fire.  She got the message.

Upon exiting the bus, I still had to carry my tower fan a short distance.

New Vornado tower fan resting outside my building. I am offscreen inhaling oxygen out of a tank.

Once inside my building, there was the Everest aspect of the journey, trekking up three flights of stairs without banging it constantly into the walls or against the doors of fellow tenants.

Where’s a sherpa when I need one?

If I encountered anyone annoying enough to ask me what was in my box emblazoned with pictures of the fan within, I was prepared to quote the old Woody Allen line, “Earrings.”  Fortunately, I made it into my apartment without bickering with anyone or straining anything.

New Vornado tower fan standing proudly inside my sanctum sanctorum. Offscreen, I am lying in a fetal position on the floor.

I set up my new tower fan quickly.  It has a remote control that is a nice accessory but it fails to work if you point it at yourself instead.

Warning: pointing at self will not activate tower air circulator.

Now, ten days later, as I currently bake, unlike others on the Atlantic seaboard at least I have electricity in my room full of steamy air blowing all around me.  Yet, fall and hot food and the return of hot companionship cannot come soon enough.

World class hot air circulators.

51 responses to “Lame Adventure 319: Baking in the Apple

  1. Your landlord sounds a lot like my wife (at least in terms of A/C). I put my foot down about 4 or 5 years ago and won the central air battle I had been waging with her for some 20 years. Her argument always got back to “I want to experience the weather.” I kept telling her that was the reason I bought the camping tent. We have nearly 2 acres of richly manicured lawn replete with flora and fauna. You can sleep ou there and I will enjoy the AC thank you very much. So I won that battle but, like you dear LA woman, I’m still not getting any. Pyrrhic victory, no?


    • You’re not getting any because your better half’s in Greece for the time being. I’m not because I live in Hell for the entirety of the summer. Hey, if she’s away are you sticking to that diet she put you on or are you eating burgers and dawgs for b’fast, lunch and dinner?


  2. Snoring Dog Studio

    For gawd’s sake! Your landlord can carpet the damn stairs but not install even a window a/c in your hutch? Stingy bastard! That is an awesome fan, tho! My sister in law stopped over last evening and recounted her life as a youth in NYC carrying stuff home on the subway and lugging it up flights of stairs. You New Yorkers are the true pioneers among us.


    • Or, as opposed to pioneers who took Horace Greeley’s advice, they simply opted to stay put. Of course our dear LA woman obviously reversed the trend as the ultimate contrarian she undoubtedly is!


    • Yep, no a/c for me, but if I ever move out the first thing my landlady will do is a gut renovation of my digs and raise the rent sky high so my successor will surely have access to it. That tower fan feels like heaven on days when the humidity is low. It’s a good buy, too. Vornado makes quality products. I appreciate the compliment about being a true pioneer, but I think a requirement to living in New York is a degree of masochism.


  3. Why take a cab when taking a bus makes for a better story! I love, “I’m eating so much rabbit food I’m nearing the point of scratching myself behind my ear with my foot.” Hilarious!
    Have a cool 4th of July…if that is humanly possible…


  4. Cool in Elberon.........

    We have AC. Come visit us anytime to cool off! Stay as long as you want!


  5. Dear Adventure, ..your fan dilemma reminded me of my broken hvAC of a few days ago. I agree with Snoring Dog Studio’s snarky remark that “Your landlord can carpet the damn stairs but not install even a window a/c in your hutch? Stingy bastard!”. Good grief, but you know it takes all kinds to fill the freeways.
    Here’s to better days for ya!


  6. Your landlord should be beaten senseless. As should your Current Companion’s roommate. But your sanctum santorum reminds me of my old studio apartment–a 3rd floor walkup that retained heat like a tandoori oven. I salute you for schlepping your fan on the bus. I once schlepped a KitchenAid mixer on the subway and to this day I still have flashbacks.


    • Weebles, my landlady is a relic from I believe medieval days. I’m sure there were a long line of hatchet men in her family tree offing heads. I actually rather like my sanctum sanctum a good ten months of the year. Love the tandoori oven comparison! At one time you might have lived in my building.


  7. I think that when you first landed this apartment lo 30 years ago you should have been more specific with your real estate agent. Like when you said you were looking for a pre-war building you should have specified WWII. Although I guess they were given assurances from their lawyers that they were on sound footing. Hey pre Civil War is still pre-war.


    • Actually, I found my hovel through The New York Times. No fee. Rent stabilized. I searched for it for three months while crashing with friends. I had a job but no place to live. The hardships we can endure in youth …


  8. I hate salad. So. Much. I also can’t imagine living without air conditioning, especially in this heat wave!


  9. Funny, funny. So well written, LA Woman. Much cleverness and wit among you all today. Is this how the heat affects us? The insult is that not only are the stairs carpeted, they’re carpeted with an Oriental carpet, nothing cheap.

    I can relate to carrying heavy, bulky packages home on public transportation. I’m still having flashbacks on the time I carried home on the bus two paper shopping bags full of groceries, only to get off and have one of the bags break a half block from home. I hate that.

    And then there was the time last summer when we were having just such weather as now and my wine stash somehow evaporated. I walked two miles round trip to the liquor store to buy one bottle, wound up buying three, and on the sweaty trek home wished I had drunk it before I left the store — or bought a box of tea.

    Stay cool. Take care. The salad looks delightful. I’ve been eating a lot of salads these days, myself.


    • Thanks for the compliments Samantha. It’s a cheap Oriental-looking rug, far from the real deal, but it didn’t stop my forever chasing a dime skinflint landlady from petitioning the state housing authority to allow her to raise rents for this capital improvement. Fortunately, they denied her claim. If I had to walk two miles for a bottle of wine, I’d buy three, too — a two day supply! (hic!)


  10. Queen Of Pentacles

    I feel your heat! I live in an old law tenement on the fifth floor (my ceiling is the roof). I too have no A/C. When my building was erected in 1893, electricity was not an installation feature. Years later, each room got one (1) outlet. My landlord wanted to raise my rent $100 to install grounded outlets. Sooo… it’s a fan in the 91 degree apartment. Like you I had a Vornado for 10+ years but when it died its newer incarnation was not as good – I returned mine to BB&B and bought a Holmes Blizzard which is quite powerful; just bought another one in fact for the oven that is my kitchen. Tower fans are good in conjunction with other cooling/heating systems, especially in larger spaces. They don’t really cool on their own.


    • Good to hear from you Queen of P! I hope your sanctum sanctorum is at least rent stabilized like mine, if not rent controlled. My new tower fan works well because I’m always angling it to blast in my direction. What feels nice is when I aim my fans at each other and then position myself in between them, but I don’t do that very often. I don’t want my slowly healing recent sunburn to evolve into windburn. Thanks for the info about the Holmes Blizzard. I looked it up and I love the name. I wonder if Watson is the name of their space heater?


  11. This was so hilarious that I can’t even narrow down my favorite line. The rabbit food, your conversation with your new squeeze, the Woody Allen line you didn’t get to use, or baking in The Big Apple ahhhhhhhhhhhh too funny. It never fails … you always crack me up and to think … you only lived a few blocks away from Nora Ephron …. 🙂

    For all your awesomeness I have nominated you for the Versatile Blogger Award … come on by to check it out 🙂


    • Gee, that’s very kind of you Guat. Thank you. Glad you enjoyed the post. Yes, there’s greatness all around me in my Upper West Side neighborhood, all sniffing the same stinky smells of New York in summer with me.


  12. Just had a goopy burger in your honor. It’s so hot in the south, we don’t even have to fry bacon to get hot grease for wilted salad. Just throw it on there raw and sit in the sun for 2 1/2 minutes. Works extremely well for sun-dried tomatoes.


  13. Rabbits don’t need AC! Have a happy 4th!


  14. I hate to get all mushy on you, V, but bless your over-heated heart! It’s been helaciously hot here, as well, and we have no AC on our second floor, except for portable ones that blow the breaker. Oh, how the hot air blows!

    Sorry to have been away all week, but I’ve had a LAME adventure, I’ll be posting about tomorrow.

    Happy 4th, my friend.


    • Yes, you hinted about your own LA at the still. I’m looking forward to reading it. I think it’s much hotter in the Blue Grass state than it is here in the soggy Apple. Yikes! Happy 4th back at you and Sara, Kathy!


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