Go Ask Your Father: Air Conditioning, AM vs PM, Getting Ashed, and Getting Bread

This ninth week has proven to provide a small amount of luck (9 is a lucky number in this house). I managed a couple days of subbing and am already booked for a day next week. We received a sympathy card in the mail from my aunt and uncle with some $$ in it. The after school ice skating was free today. Nanny cooked us supper this evening. Crash is off at a sleepover with Nanny and Pop so we’re down a kid. The Nintendo Switch became available today (though I’m not lucky enough to be able afford one, it’s nice to know it’s a possibilty). 

1. How do air conditioners work?

In the year 1902 (I think that’s the same year DW and I got married) a young man by the name of Willis Haviland Carrier needed to control the humidity in a lithographing and publishing company so he created what we now call the air conditioner to cool the air. Cool air carries less humidty, therefore his air conditioner was highly effective. 

Today’s air conditioners use simple physics (if physics can be called simple). According to a law of thermodynamics, when a liquid turns to a gas it absorbs heat from the air, thereby making the air cooler. So inside your AC unit is an evaporator in which refrigerant liquid evaporates. The refrigerant has a low boiling point so it turns from liquid to gas (vapor) simply from the warm air of your house passing over the tubes that contain it. From there the refrigerant, now a gas (like steam, but not steam) passes through a compressor. Naturally, the aptly named compressor compresses the gas thereby raising it’s temperature even higher (like a pressure cooker, but not a pressure cooker). Then the refrigerant passes on to the condenser where, if you haven’t guessed yet, the gas condenses (like warm air on the side of your Coke can) where it cools (releasing heat) and turns back into a liquid. Now cooled off it starts reabsorbing heat from the air again (making the air cold) and the whole process starts over. A fan on the inside of your house blows the cooled air around the evaporator into your house. Another fan near the condenser blows the hot air outside your house.

2. What’s AM and PM?

We have Latin to thank for this one. Carpe diem is Latin for sieze the day. AM is Latin for ante meridiem, or before midday. PM, therefore is Latin for post meridiem or after midday. You can carpe diem if you want. Or for those of you who enjoy your sleep you can just carpe PM. We’ll leave the carpe AMing to the farmers and our children.

3. Why do we get ashes on Ash Wednesday?

This past Wednesday was Ash Wednesday and the first day of giving up happiness that which tempts us. For me (and Bang) that was pop. For Crash, chocolate. DW gave up the can of whoop ass. But the ashes placed on forehead in the shape of a cross symbolize something much larger than that material we chose to forego. The ashes are made from burning the palms of last year’s Palm Sunday and are then blessed. The ashes represent our plea to God for mercy and compassion in the forgiving of our sins. On our forehead they are a public admission of guilt and an expression of sorrow for the wrongs we have committed. They are a promise of reform and a pledge to resist temptation in the future. So we give up something that tempts us so we can better appreciate it. I tried to convince Crash and Bang to give up talking so they could better appreciate silence, but they yelled at me for even suggesting it.

4. Can I get bread?

No, Bang wasn’t asking for prison rations. He didn’t want bread and water. I still had to tell him no, though, because he can’t have bread until he’s 6. Next April he will partake in his first communion. At Jesus’s Last Supper (that supper where everyone sat on the same side of the table) Jesus took bread and wine and told his desciples that the bread was his body and the wine his blood and whenever they ate and drank these in his name he would be with them. Wrapped in the Holy Mystery that is the Catholic church, we too can share in the eating of his bread and the drinking of his wine. Perhaps toasted and buttered with a bit of cheese could make the bread and wine better. However, Jesus was a man of simplicity.

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7 thoughts on “Go Ask Your Father: Air Conditioning, AM vs PM, Getting Ashed, and Getting Bread

  1. In the Methodist church we used to go to, children of all ages were encouraged to come up. LM came up with me when he was little and his reaction to holy communion was “Good god that’s good!” (That’s what his dad always says when I cook him something.) He followed that up with asking the preacher for more. Luckily they were all very laid back and thought he was a hoot.

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