Friday’s Weekend Column
About a Minnesota Man Exploring Life in the South

Getting Ready For Summer
by James Glaser
May 9, 2008

Getting ready for summer in the South is a bit like getting ready for winter up North. Everything is just reversed. Down in the South you are getting ready to cool things down instead of getting ready to turn the heat on. You still have to work on insulation, making sure your building is sealed up, and that you have the extra money for your utility bill increase.

Yesterday in Tallahassee it got up to 90, and when it gets that hot, you had better have your air conditioner all ready to go with the fans cleaned, and if you are doing any sort of manual labor, extra sets of clothes for when you drench the first few sets in perspiration each day.

Just like last year, this year we had about eight months of really nice weather. That is eight months of nice weather in a row. Now for the next few weeks we will have days that are too hot and days that are just right. Then we will go into three months of hot weather. I thought it might take me a few years to get used to the summers here, but now I find out that it might take twenty. I have met so many people who have been down here for years and years, and still they can't take the summers.

I was telling Wanda at lunch today that I will have to start getting up earlier so I can work in the cool of the morning. Mornings here are pretty nice all year long.

Hydrate is again the word of the day when summer comes, and you feel more secure having a couple of cases of bottled water sitting in your work space. I like my water at room temperature, but many people down here like it ice cold.

The Rail Road Square people installed a new AC unit in my gallery this week, and now all I have to do is get the cool air into the main gallery room. The air conditioner is a wall unit and is in this small room where our book room is going to be. It takes about ten minutes to get that room down in the sixties, while it is almost eighty in the main room. I am going to use that reading room as a plenum, and will put in a grill high on the wall into the room I want to cool. There will be fan behind the grill and the doorway into the reading room will be my warm air duct. I think with the large volume of cold air in that room, I won't lose my cool every time the door opens. All of this is just theory, and we are going to have a trial and error period of time to see what works best.

My work area has its own small AC unit, and I'll be able to cool off that area when I am working, without having to cool down the whole building. That's another "in theory" idea — that I will save money in utility bills.

More and more people are finding their way to Rail Road Square now, and that is a good thing. There are five shops, maybe six that advertise. National Public Radio is a good place, but I am spending my ad money on a Cool Jazz radio station. I figure if we all advertise in a different place, we will get better coverage. Every ad says the words "In Rail Road Square," and so I figure every one else is advertising for me like I am for them. If a person comes to the Square to shop, my gallery has a chance to have them take a look at what I have. So every ad helps us all.

In a couple of weeks I'll have a web page going for the gallery, and that should help a bit, too. I had some of the artist's work I carry photographed this week, and I have a lady putting everything together for the site. Being a capitalist is a lot of work, but I am enjoying it, and it is nice having Wanda to bounce ideas off of and to get ideas from her. She has a good eye for quality.

So, I guess I am ready for whatever summer brings. It might just be a mind thing. People down here ask me how I could stand winters in Northern Minnesota, and as I think back I don't remember them as being that bad. I guess I'll have to get that thought going about summers down here.

I have my work to do, I am as happy as I can be living with Wanda, and I have the challenge of making the gallery work. Life is good!

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