posted by Joe Anaya on September 23rd, 2013

Summer’s coming to an end and the temperatures are cooling a bit. Which in general is a good thing, but causes problems in my house because my wife and I are on different pages about how to control the thermostat.

When the weather outside is hot, there’s no question the air conditioning needs to be on; when it’s cold, the heater. But when it’s just a little warm or a little chilly, all hell breaks loose around the thermostat. I generally like it a little warmer; my wife, she prefers it cooler. Or as I like to frame it, Mexican vs Irish weather genetics.

Our new digital thermostat exacerbates the situation. It adjusts in 2-degree increments, instead of the usual 1-degree. Meaning if I set it for 77 degrees, the A/C won’t kick on until it reaches 79 degrees (too hot for my wife) and it won’t turn off until 75 degrees (too chilly for me). That’s a 5-degree temperature swing, enough to start a guerilla war. So, it’s a constant battle of making up reasons to walk by the thermostat and tweaking the setting.

But it doesn’t just end with WHAT temperature to make it, it’s also a battle over HOW to make it. When we get in the car, and the leather seats are the temperature of the sun, we both agree: windows down first thing to release the pent up heat in the car. Then we both reach for the A/C.

No matter how many times I explain it to my wife, she refuses to believe that adjusting the temperature to 62 degrees does not make the air coming from the vents any colder than having it set to 73 degrees. I usually let her have her moment of activity which makes her feel like she’s accomplishing something, even as I’m reminded of John Wooden’s adage, “Don’t mistake activity for productivity.” I usually let this slide because “It’s the same cold air,” are words that have fallen on deaf ears for the last 15 years.

Then the real car battle begins, when to roll up the windows. Even with the A/C running, I keep the windows down until the interior stops making my butt sweat. My wife prefers to roll up the windows immediately after the A/C starts blowing her imaginary 62 degree air, “Otherwise, we’re wasting the A/C.” I’m sure there’s some validity to her argument, but I could fry an egg on the dashboard. So, Freon be damned, I’m going to cool the interior anyway possible, as fast as possible.

My wife rolls up her window. Tells me to do the same. I refuse. (Thank goodness only the driver can control all the windows.) She insists. My kid is in the back just playing with his window, trying to find the exact point where the thumping sound of the passing air is the most annoying. We both demand he roll up his window. She insists again. I try logic. She rejects my logic and replaces it with her own. In reality, I’m just stalling as long as possible to cool the car as fast as possible, at least until it gets to a comfortable temperature. Well, comfortable for me.

File Under King of the Castle