Friday, March 16, 2012


Most of the country has been in a heat wave during the first half of March. Our temperatures have been in the mid eighties with relatively high humidity for this time of year.

That wouldn't be a big problem for me ordinarily. But the air conditioning in our building went out two weeks ago. A $25,000 motor for the chiller failed, and we got word late last week that it wouldn't be fixed before spring break.

So we've spent this week searching for ways to get a cross breeze going in our third and fourth floor classrooms and offices. Midweek the physical plant employees, apparently taking pity on us, delivered a truckload of box fans.  That works well for rooms that can have more than one window open, or a door opposite the outside wall, but my office only has one window that opens in the far corner, and the air never gets to my desk on the other side of the room, much less the door leading into the student worker's tiny room and out into the rest of the office.  If I get up and just stand between my door and the main office door, it seems 10 degrees cooler than when I'm at my desk.

Rather than try to hold class in our penthouse suite -- really an attic, with gable windows that don't open -- on the fourth floor where the building is likely to be most stifling, I've relocated for the week to a large room with ceiling fans and lots of windows.  Even so, today I couldn't stand to be in there for the whole fifty minutes, and let the students out early.

It's way to early in the year to be too hot to work, but without any relief, it's difficult for any of us to concentrate and stay awake.  Luckily for the students, spring break has begun, and they can broil on their beaches or sip icy drinks in well-chilled watering holes, as they prefer. I have to go back to the office on Monday, but maybe with fewer people and less on the schedule, the heat won't be quite as oppressive.

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