Monday, June 3, 2013

Cicadas



So I've been known to complain about the schizophrenic weather here in Pennsylvania. Two weeks ago we had a week of temperatures in the upper 90's (in old money Fahrenheit), immediately followed by temps hovering around 30 degrees and a frost advisory.

Last week the weather began a swing back to sweltering temps, and this time I knew we'd be in for the Great Molting. In other words, cicadas.


Thursday began with a few that climbed onto the shed. Today, there are hundreds if not thousands between the shed and the trees:

Gross, right?


There's nothing we can do until they're done with their bug business. And yes, the dog wants to eat them all. He's already had a few and I've had to suppress my gag reflex during his prolonged chewing.

It's bad enough their molted shells are stuck to everything, but there's also adult carcasses strewn all over the yard now – large black fly-things with huge, blood red eyes.

I assume they died immediately following bug-sex.

And they smell. The combination of hot weather, giant buggy shells and dead bodies are making it quite stinky. I read I'm supposed to rake them up and get rid of them, but we're talking about raking an acre area. That ain't happening. Well, I suppose we could get the lawn tractor leaf collector thingy out and suck up the corpses. Maybe I'll try that this weekend. The lawn will be due for a mowing by then anyway.

It's so loud I can actually hear them inside the house. It's a whirring noise, like a flying saucer from a 1950's sci-fi movie. One managed to get into the house today. I picked it up to chuck it outside and it nearly vibrated out of my hand while making very angry pphhffippt!! noises.

So about the heat. It's kinda normal for us to have a few freakishly high temps in the late spring, but not this much. When it hit 99 degrees on Saturday, I gave up and went to locate the air conditioners.

Hubby is traveling, so I had to figure out how to get three 50+ pound air conditioners from the basement, to the second floor, then into a window. As much as I like to whine about losing weight, I'm actually a small person. Hubby can usually accomplish this in about an hour. It took me nearly three.

First, I realized that carrying them upstairs while still in the box was impossible – my arms are simply not long enough. I unboxed the first two in the basement, then carried them upstairs. These were the newest, and the lightest. Once the first one was in, the second one went fairly smooth.

After tackling that, I figured I'd take a crack at the third, larger air conditioner. This was the one that I also donated a pint of blood on, thoroughly bruising the hell out of my arms. I would also like to note, if I ever find the engineer that designed the air conditioner, and the method of install, I intend to punch him/her. 95% of this thing hangs in midair, outside the window, making it extremely wobbly until you put the sash down.

The other models had one badass screw in the middle that held it to the window. This one didn't. Apparently the engineers were having a contest that day for installing air conditioners that weigh more than dark matter, with the least amount of hardware. For example, this is the only clamp they provide to attach it to the window sill:

Ignore the duct tape. It's just there to look pretty.

Basically, that clamp and the sash are the only things holding it in place. Actually, I take that back – there's also a clamp at the top of the window to keep the sash from accidentally sliding upward. Big deal. Like it would have killed them to include a second clamp for the other side of the AC?

Oddly, it feels sturdy-ish, but I'm not taking chances. I don't even want to breathe on it wrong. I'd hate to have it flop out of the window and flatten my lovely cicadas.




2 comments:

Spokey said...

A couple points

1 - Cicadas serve you right. Think karma for sending stink bugs over to NJ.

2 - Air Conditioners

You ought to have a hand truck. Probably would allow you to cart the air conditioners around in their boxes. Normally I wouldn't provide any advice on defeating the magnificent designs of the Marquis de Sade, but for you . . .

You can buy air conditioners that slide out of their case. You mount the fairly light frame / case in the window then slide the bulky / heavy unit in to the case.

Of course you could go for central air. I think this will be our third season and we still kick ourselves for waiting so long. We have base board heat, but they managed to run ducts everywhere. There are two closets with ducts running up to the second floor but they did a good job.

And they are high tech. We have 5 zones. The thermostats hook in to some electronic controller board and magic happens. The heating thermostat is coordinated with the air unit so it automatically flips from heat to air (& vice versa) when the temps indicate. They didn't even have to run thermostat wires to the new thermostats. The new zones are controlled by wireless thermostats. Best of all, although I'm not positive about this, I think my cooling cost is less than with the window units.

Well, maybe best of all is not lugging those window units upstairs every spring. We had a couple big old units. I got one from my oldest brother when he moved back to NJ in 1972 and the other from a co-worker when he moved in 1978. Amazing these things still worked and worked well.

JenB Brown said...

I'll trade you cicadas for stink bugs.

Yeah, I probably shoulda used a hand truck...but at least I got a workout. Heh. I've heard central air is the way to go. Maybe our next house :)