March 13, 2013

Dog Days Already

There are some things I love about our house. Its inability to maintain a constant temperature is not one of them. The house has an old heating/cooling system without a return air vent in each room. The result is static air and wildly different temperatures in the upstairs rooms compared to the rest of the house which is pretty open.

Nicki’s nursery faces due west, so the setting sun tends to cook her room during the late afternoon even when it’s not that warm out. It wasn’t a problem this past winter, since there was about an hour after sunset and before bedtime to let the room cool down. Last weekend was daylight savings. Nicki is now going to bed before the sun sets. Now? Wowza. It also doesn’t help that we’re getting a small heat wave.

During the summer heat last year she spent most of her time in our room which, while hot, was not as bad as the nursery

Yesterday I tried to put her down at 2:30 for her afternoon nap. It was only 73° F in her room (via the external thermostat we purchased last summer.) She woke up instantly when I put her down, so we started the routine again at 2:45. Now it was 75°. Rinse repeat at 3:00. 77°. Miserable, cranky, hot baby refused to sleep. Miserable, cranky, hot mommy was, well, miserable.

We did anticipate this problem, and purchased specialty thermal curtains and a curtain rod over the weekend. I was going to wait until my parents arrived for their visit to put them up, but in my cranky hot state I was more impatient than usual. As soon as Domingo arrived home, I handed him the baby and got out the tools. Actually, that’s a lie. I had the tools upstairs and ready to go before Domingo left work. I did wait for him to come home so he could hold Nicki. I had previously installed a curtain rod to hang a thermal curtain in the living room so I was pretty confident I knew what I was doing. I typically enjoy these projects. I assembled Nicki’s crib while 8 months pregnant.

The new curtain

There were seven steps in the instructions booklet for five pieces that included directions like how to use the screw driver to screw in a screw. This should be easy, right? Except that the first instruction was “install drywall anchors by drilling appropriate size hole”. You explain how to use a screw driver but neglect to tell me which bit to use for the drill? The instructions didn’t even include the size of the wall mount nails so I couldn’t look it up online. Lovely. To make matters worse, while the thermostat said 78° in the room, by the window with the sun beating down felt 10 degrees hotter. Five holes in the wall and more curse words than Domingo knew I had in me later I got the dang curtain rod up.

Alas, it was the wrong curtain. I knew instantly when I took it out of the package isn’t wouldn’t 100% block the light. It’s too light weight, the best black out curtains are heavy. I’m not sure I can complain about the weight, though. Right now I’m second guessing the installation of the curtain rod. Lighter might be better for now. It does have a double lining designed to block the heat, which was my top priority. If it keeps the room from baking I’ll take it!

Since it took me a little longer to get the curtain rod up than expected, Nicki’s bed time was delayed about 20 minutes. The temperature in her room had dropped down to 77°. After getting her down for bed we cranked on the thermostat down to 66° hoping to make her nursery more comfortable. An hour later I was shivering and it was 75° in her room.

By the time Domingo and I went to bed, it had finally dropped to 71°. This presented a second problem. We’re in the transition between winter and spring. Warm days (70s), cool nights (30s/40s). The past two nights Nicki has seemed cold despite being in her warm sleeper. Her cheek was cold pressed up against me for our morning nursing section. Since it was supposed to get down to 40, and finally a reasonable temperature in the nursery, I thought we should run the heater.

At 3 am I woke up sweating. I had been dreaming I was back in the heat of the window installing the curtain. It was 78° upstairs and the heater is still running. Downstairs the temperature was set at 72°, the thermostat read 74° and the heater was still going! Can I close my eyes and it be winter again?

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