There are two times of the year that I find myself going up and down the stairs all day and evening. It’s during spring and autumn. That’s when I have to fidget with the heating/AC system to keep the house comfortable. It’s too warm to be cool in the fall, and too cool to be warm in the spring, and the variables within different times of the day and night make things really complicated for me...

I never had air conditioning until I moved here six years ago. Growing up on a ranch in the Santa Ynez valley, we had hot summers and cold winters and although it didn’t snow, the cattle troughs used to freeze over at night. In the summer my mom put box fans all over the house and kept the curtains closed all day. I also remember that on the weekends our family moved outside on hot summer days to sit under the dome of my grandfather’s willow tree, the men drinking beer and the woman cooling themselves with bamboo fans. In the winter we wore warmer clothes and had electric blankets on our beds.

In our home, the heat and air are controlled by a complex computerized geothermal system that has our house divided into two zones, the upstairs and the down. Within these zones there are days (each day of the week), periods (wake, day, evening, and sleep), heat, air, humidity, vacation, and service alerts, so setting the temps in this house takes quite a while, but I can at least do it without the manual now.

This is all well and good in the summer when hot is hot, or in the winter when cold is cold. But in the spring and autumn, temperatures fluctuate a lot. While a spring day can be in the 80s, the nights can dip into the 30s. This means that I’m constantly meddling with the thermostat. And I don’t know why 72 feels so much warmer in the summer than it does in the winter.

Personally, I think that we’ve acclimatized ourselves to our air-conditioned spaces so weather that was once considered warm, feels as hot as hell’s hearth to us now. Unlike my family who went outside to escape the heat that got trapped in our houses, I find that I’ll seldom venture out of the house, unnecessarily, if it’s in the 100s.