This morning I got a call from a client I hadn’t seen in a while, wondering if she could get an appointment for bodywork sooner rather than later because she had been experiencing the misery of muscle spasms.
She lives somewhere in south Austin, and I live in Manchaca, and depending on how far south someone lives, it can be more convenient to come to my trailer rather than drive to my downtown studio.
She called a little after 8:00, and I got her in at 9:30, with enough time to do my morning rituals, sweep grass off the path from mowing yesterday, tidy the kitchen, and fold a mountain of clean sheets on my massage table. (After massage, the laundry.)
My trailer doesn’t do well in the Texas heat. It still has its 1959 insulation, which was skimpy. I regret not replacing it when I bought it five years ago, and now it would be a major disruption. I’d have to move out.
In 1959, I was a child living in South Texas. One room in our house had a window air conditioning unit, my parents’ bedroom. I don’t remember “feeling the heat” one bit, but I remember a sense of stillness during the hottest part of the day. People stayed in, took naps, drank iced tea or lemonade. Life was slow.
My grandmother in central Texas didn’t even have air conditioning. She had evaporative coolers in her bedroom and living room. I remember standing in front of one, singling into it to hear the awesome sound effects from the fan, and feeling that cool, damp air. Those coolers were nice but they only work when humidity is low, which it was back then because Texas was in drought.
I remember seeing sweaty people. People carried handkerchiefs then to mop their sweat with. Businesses that had air conditioning advertised it with images of snowflakes, icicles, or frosty mountaintops. Churches had cardboard fans for cooling yourself. A window unit was a must-have luxury item, as seen in these hilarious ads.
Now I sweat. (I eat extra salt to compensate, and take cold showers.)
To cope with the heat, I open windows near the ceiling and use fans to move the air around and let the heat out. I use my AC (a central HVAC unit) sparingly because if I set the thermostat on a “normal” setting, it would run all the time and wear out quickly. I generally run it for a few hours in the evening and turn it off at night. I’m okay with 80-85 degrees F.
I’m getting ready to paint a big canvas tarp with white primer to put on top of my trailer to reflect the sun. Every little bit helps. The trees I planted are growing nicely, but aren’t big enough yet to cast shade on the trailer. I suppose I could put aluminum foil over the original single-pane windows to keep the heat out, but so far I just haven’t been able to do that, just like I haven’t been able to apply white reflective roof coating directly on the trailer roof. A tarp can be removed when it cools and warmth is welcome.
During the summers, I live with one foot in 2016 and one foot in 1959.
Fortunately, my massage room is shaded and is the coolest room in the trailer, so I can see clients here in the mornings before it gets too hot. I use a fan and the AC to keep the room comfortable.
I’m grateful to have this option, and also to be able see clients in my air-conditioned downtown studio during the hottest part of the day.
I did a lot of myofascial release of my client’s back and glute muscles, probing for the tenderest places, and I showed her what sublingual arnica looks like so she’ll know what to get for residual soreness. She says I may be seeing a lot of her this summer. I hope so. I like working from home.