Amy Roberts: In the heat of the moment |

Amy Roberts: In the heat of the moment

Red Card Roberts

By Amy Roberts
Park Record columnist 

When I first moved to Park City about 15 years ago, I remember looking at houses and finding it quite curious few had air conditioning. I briefly wondered if I'd mistaken the charming little town I'd soon call home for a third-world country. Having spent most of my previous life in either the Midwest or Texas, AC wasn't a luxury — it was a necessity. The concept of not having one in my home was completely lost on me.

"You really don't need them. Our summers are quite mild," my Realtor assured me. And at the time, she was right.

A few years later, I found myself speaking to a couple planning to move here from Florida. They were looking at homes, and they too were shocked by the AC-less real estate options. "Don't worry," I told them. "There's really only a couple days a year you need it." And at the time, I was right.

Fast forward another five years or so, and those couple days turned into a couple weeks. So I found myself driving to Salt Lake in July to find a window unit. The Home Depot, Walmart and any other Park City business that would sell such a thing had been cleaned out weeks before. My bedroom was too hot to sleep in and I couldn't wait for a new shipment to come in.

The few clouds we’ve seen have passed by swiftly, taunting us and greedily clinging to any drops of water.

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"Lots of folks coming down the hill for these," the cashier told me. "You Parkites might need to invest in central AC." At the time, I didn't think he was right. But now I'm not so sure.

This summer has seemed exceptionally hot. The sun has blazed with a fierce stubbornness. The few clouds we've seen have passed by swiftly, taunting us and greedily clinging to any drops of water. I planted my garden on June 1, about two weeks earlier than I've ever dared to introduce tomatoes to my garden beds before. And I haven't had to cover them even once. Despite an automated watering system, my grass is a brownish/yellow shade of "it's too damn hot." On the plus side, I haven't had to mow it much.

Getting the dogs out has been a bit of a challenge. Mine require no less than 5 miles of movement daily, and that's an easy recovery day. One isn't too fond of water, and I'm somewhat convinced he could drown. So swimming isn't the best exercise option. Try as I might, I never seem able to get them out the door before the temperature has already hit the 80s. As such, our walks have been short and there's been hell to pay for that. Mostly in the form of shredded books, chewed shoes and nibbled on pillows.

Hoping to prevent more of their rambunctious razing and tire them out a tad, I took them up to Guardsman Pass this weekend. I knew it'd be cooler up there. Several hikes are shaded and there are lots of lakes, too. I was joined by about 1,000 people with the same idea.

"Everyone is trying to escape the heat," my friend noted when we saw a line of cars starting at Empire Pass.

It wasn't any better on the other side. I'm pretty sure cars were parked all the way down to Brighton.

On the way there, we ran into a traffic jam on Deer Valley Drive. There was no more parking for Silly Market goers, and drivers were stopping to let their passengers off on the side of the road.

While our summers have been getting busier and busier for a while, this one seems to have us busting at our sweaty seams. Factor in projects like Treasure Hill and the new arts district, a few notable accolades, and the Chamber's recently unveiled marketing plan to reach more potential tourists in more cities, and you have to wonder if we're a mountain town or a metropolis.

We seem to be straddling both, and a "one foot in each camp" strategy isn't a long-term solution. It's not even a short-term solution. It's a bit like expecting your small, 500 BTU window AC unit to cool your entire house. Eventually, the breaker is going to trip. And that won't be cool.

Amy Roberts is a freelance writer, longtime Park City resident and the proud owner of two rescued Dalmatians, Stanley and Willis. The opinions expressed in this column are solely those of the writer. Follow her on Twitter @amycroberts.