Melissa and me at the Aussie pool during a heat strike. Incidentally, Melissa is Australian, and the main reason we have her on our team is so we can get special treatment from the Aussies, like better pool privileges, etc.
This year, as opposed to last year, our offices are in the overflow trailers where our C-IED team was housed before. Remember how I used to work in the palace, where the A/C is really cold, and the bathroom is all marble, ceramic, and gold? Yeah, that palace. Well, we don’t work there anymore.
The trailers are really, really crappy, or at least the one Melissa, Shane, and I work in (that’s right, Shane from my old team is back to work with us) is really, really crappy. There is zero insulation between the outside and inside walls, probably because there is no “inside or outside” wall. They are one in the same…and they’re about 1/6th of an inch thick. There are also cracks in the wall at each seam through which daylight actually shines through to the office floor. I thought it was just the small size of the A/C that made the tiny little room swelter at midday, until I saw those cracks. A moment’s investigation alerted me to the lack of insulation and/or real walls. In fact, daylight can be seen all around the office: in the corners of the door, below the door, around the window, along the seam where the roof joins the walls. It’s pretty impressive that the dang trailer is still standing, when you think about it. And no wonder it is so flippin’ dusty in there that we can’t stop sneezing.
There really isn’t much we can do about the heat in the trailer unless they decide to insulate it, so we have tried to do what we can. We asked the Army for some foamy stuff in a can, but they haven’t given us any. They did ask the Mayor’s Cell, who are in charge of the buildings and housing on Camp Victory, to solve the problem, but the Mayor’s Cell said that it’s just going to be hot, because there isn’t any insulation. So the Army said, well, that’s why we are asking for insulation. And the Mayor’s Cell, probably distracted by the heat in the trailer they were meeting in, said, “The trailers are going to continue to be hot due to the lack of insulation.” Hmmmm… It might have done just as much good to go stand in the corner and hit their head against the wall repeatedly. We still don’t know whether they are going to insulate them, give us bigger A/C’s, or just draw out the problem long enough for the weather to cool down and then forget about it until next summer.
Soooo, what we did was tape up some of the holes and then build an air conditioning duct out of empty water bottles. Yep. You heard right. I went around to all of the garbage cans like a little hobo and gathered up all the empty water bottles I could find. I then proceeded to cut the ends off of all 55 of them and tape them together until I had several lengths of “pipe” that looked a lot like a hamster track. I then used 550 cord and tacks to suspend the lengths of piping from the ceiling and angled the bottles such that one length went from the A/C to my desk, and one length went from the A/C to Shane’s desk, curving out toward Melissa’s. A cardboard box with two holes in it taped over the A/C vents served as the connector. In the end, we wound up with quite a nice little, er, aqua duct. Heh, heh.
It needs a little work, still, because mine blows the strongest, with Shane’s and Melissa’s blowing cool but comparatively weak. It’s just that my desk is closest to the A/C unit, and it is a straight shot, whereas Melissa’s desk is in the opposite corner, and the duct has to bend significantly to hit Shane and Melissa.
The new ducting system works, but it is still no match for the heat outside. At about 3 pm, it is so hot inside that we sweat in our seats, and that normally results in ill tempers and swearing. We also have a huge fan (no kidding, the sticker on the fan says it is an Al Jazeera), but it just blows hot air onto me while blowing the cold air off of me. Melissa likes it better than no fan at all, though, so it points at her. At times, we have to go on little “heat strikes”, during which time we go to our crappy-but-cool tent to work, or to the pool for a quick dip. But normally, we just sit and swelter and curse.
Melissa and Shane benefit from the new A/C duct.
The ducts at the source, where they connect to the A/C.