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Heat-Induced Sloth And A Cianciolo Mind Meld

What to love and loathe about living in East Greenwich this week.


RAVE: Now that the 90+ degree heat wave seems to be ebbing, I think I can safely bring this up without too much backchat: I have discovered that I love the ultra hot temps. Bring it on! I say this as a resident in a house that has practically no air conditioning. No, the sweat in your eyes did not make you misread that sentence – the only rooms in our house with AC are the guest bedrooms and this is only because summer visitors a few years back, in the midst of another hot stretch, had a meltdown and snuck out commando-style and bought a couple of units. But we don’t use them. Not out of some misguided save-the-earth conviction, but because we are too lazy to put sheets on the beds in those rooms when we have no guests.

By the way, the reason we don’t have a central system is also not due to an environmental stand on our part. Our house is old and leaky and if we had AC, it’s more likely that we would end up cooling the neighborhood than our rooms.

I don’t remember ever getting too hot as a kid. But I don’t remember getting too cold either – and these were the days before fleece and down. I think kids just have really good internal temperature controls.

My love of heat is definitely not genetic. If the temperature was even a hair above 65 F, my mother would set up a system of air conditioners and fans that aerodynamically kept the cool air in an optimal continual flow to all the most-used parts of the house. This was the same woman who never figured out how to retrieve a message on the answering machine or set up the VCR to tape her favorite TV shows. She had her priorities.

My husband grew up in England where they don’t have heat, even the kind that comes from radiators, so he loves the dripping in the kind of sweat that comes from doing absolutely nothing. It makes him feel manly.

But here’s the real reason I love the heat. It makes me slow down. As those who know (and hopefully love me) tease me, I am Type A personified. So of course I have an hourly list, a daily list, a weekly list and a monthly list of what I need to get done. And once it is on the list, that’s it – no wriggle room. Until it is too hot to wriggle.

These last few weeks I have not cleaned the house, tidied up the guest rooms for incoming visitors, finished the mosaic in the garden, weeded, topped up the birdfeeders, preserved the rhubarb jam, started the farm stand, fixed the rototiller, bought the bathing suit to replace the one that has no more elastic, washed the clothes, moved the radiator from my office into my attic – and that is just one day’s worth of chores.

Instead, I have done something that feels downright indulgent. I have sat on my new/yard sale-purchased patio couch and read. I now know what is happening in the world less than a week after it happened because I am caught up on my newspapers. Usually, I try to cram them all in on Saturday and Sunday morning. I know that 50 Shades of Grey do not refer to Martha Stewart’s new paint palette. I know how Katniss survives.

Sometimes, I even drift off and sleep – in Italy, they call this “La Pausa” which sounds so much more civilized. I was going to research the rate of productivity in hot countries versus cool, but I think it may just be time for a pause.

RANT: Councilman Jeff Cianciolo and I have had a Vulcan mind meld. There I was, trolling through the East Greenwich Fire District web page – as one does – when, out of curiosity, I clicked over to the site.

Except there isn’t one. Instead, it’s buried under.

has all sorts of goodies on carbon dioxide and fire safety, the Fire Marshall, the dive team (!), administration, fire alarms, fire statistics and so on. The Police Department has a paragraph informing us who the police chief is, the number of officers in the department and their training and contact info.

Which got me thinking, why are these two departments separate in the first place? And then, lo and behold, I skip over to ! Cue Twilight Zone theme song.

This is not a suggestion that police officers start sharing the duties of firefighters or vice versa. Although this kind of complete merger is happening in other towns around the country as a money saver, it seems a sure-fire – excuse the pun – recipe for disaster as it dilutes highly specialized training skills and muddies accountability in each department. Rather, each division would keep its autonomy, but share resources where the benefits are mutual.

Since the fire department is looking for a new home, maybe they could potentially save even more money and Odd Couple it by all moving in together in the spiffy new police digs on First. Doesn’t the East Greenwich Public Safety Department have a nice ring?

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