Julie Newell was HOT!
Need I say more? Nah, but, as usual, I will...
As you know, words have a variety of interpretations. The definition that comes to mind when a word is used depends on the "ear of the beholder"...what THAT person brings to the table. Also, even for that person, the context of the word's delivery often determines the choice.
Well, those of you who have been yearning for sexcapades, we've already confirmed YOUR definition...with Julie's appearance in "Topless in Cancun". Been there, done that...had the pictures to prove it. Yes, Julie was "HOT"!
And I was her number one "FAN"!
But...for this episode, we're talking another kind of "hot"...a clinical definition of hot...an actual, measurable body temperature.
(Okay, if YOU insist, Julie certainly made my temperature rise and the phenomenon surely was measurable! BUT, we're NOT going there...)
Julie, after her 1997 lupus flare, ran a low-grade fever most of the time. She was perking along at close to 100 degrees on most occasions. Thus, her fondness for air-conditioning and her constant companion - no, NOT me - the MECHANICAL fan!
They say a picture is worth a thousand words...
Typical Julie moment...out dining, with her battery-powered, portable fan at her side!
On the road...
In the front seat...not a problem. Fire up the AC, set the fan at maximum, and point all vents at Julie.
In the back seat - a.k.a. Driving Miss Julie!
For years I had encouraged Julie to lie down in the back seat...(There you go again...get your mind out of the gutter!)
Let's try that again...
For years I had encouraged Julie to lie down in the back seat so that she would be more comfortable on road trips. She fiercely resisted it...saying it wasn't fair. Julie felt that she should "keep me company" since I had to do most of the driving...especially on long trips. I reminded her that she could still "be company" AND be the designated "back seat" driver. Julie wasn't buying it. Finally, friends were able to talk her into it...just as they had finally convinced her to use a wheelchair during her airline travel...SAVE YOUR ENERGY for when you arrive at your destination!
When Julie finally acquiesced, I made up the back seat as a bed...complete with feather pillows and a blanket. Turn the AC and car fan on max, arm Julie with her battery-powered portable, and set off for points unknown.
As for me...the summer wasn't too bad. I would wear a long-sleeve shirt inside the car along with my baseball cap.
The winter...THAT was an adventure! Either ran the AC and fan (just like it was summer) or, if colder outside, ran with the vents wide open! (Julie was known to even crack the window "for some extra air".) I...was in the front seat, coat on, zipped up, collar up, and gloves on. Driving gloves? Yeah, right...gloves to keep my damned hands from freezing to the steering wheel!
It usually didn't bother me, except when I would catch movement out of the corner of my eye, glance into the back seat, and see that Julie had pulled the blanket up over her head...snug as a bug in a rug! However, if I dared cut the fan back, Julie would start to stir. Knowing she was going to wake up from being over-heated, I'd flip the sucker back on high.
One thing DID help. When Julie settled her lawsuit against the school district (for firing her when she went into the hospital over Christmas vacation), she decided that she wanted a "fluffy butt" American car - i.e. a roomy, plush back seat. Of course, I was in my ever-present "save a buck" mode and tried to steer her to something "reasonable", but Julie opted for a Lincoln Town Car! The "selling point" (which, actually, was MY idea), it had the fan vent in the back seat...wouldn't have to run the front vents on high trying to give Julie some air! And, hey, Julie wasn't UNreasonable...she DID encourage me to get a used Lincoln...pre-owned...whatever the "nice" term is these days!
It turned out that the back vent wasn't good enough, but one day I was wandering in the automotive section of Wal-Mart and spotted the clamp fans that run off the cigarette lighter. Probably the most appreciated present I ever bought Julie...her reaction was almost sexual! If we both hadn't gotten so "long in the tooth"...
Ahem...back to the Lincoln! Well, the FRONT seat! Julie took care of me there - damn, how do I get back on topic with an audience like you?!
The front seats of the Lincoln were heated. That was a good thing, especially in SUMMER. I mean, in the winter, I was usually prepared...had my coat on...zip it up...slip on gloves...etc. But...in the summer, I'd forget at times. When it's 90 or above when you leave the house, sweat dripping from your brow as you enter the car, who thinks about being cold. But, a few miles down the road, as the temperature starts to drop...HEATED SEATS!
Okay, trip's over; out of the car...into the house!
Always kept my mouth shut when it came to people talking about their heating bills in the winter. They'd be talking $600 to $1000 a month! We were looking at sub-$200. But, as they say, "You had to be there!" In short, it doesn't take much gas to heat an ice box in the winter!!!
Our SUMMER utility bills were the biggies. Normally, we would have already run our AC a couple of days this year. When it got to 70 degrees outside...on it went. The fans? THEY were already on!
Into the bedroom...
Julie had a "tower fan" running on her side of the bed...not two feet from her face. She HAD to feel air movement at all times. Across the room, about 8 feet away, a pedestal fan was running. Above our heads, the ceiling fan was running...on high. Again...this was 24/7, 365 days a year! We're talking serious wind chill factors in the winter!
As most of you know, I am bal...uh...hair-impaired. I'm not self-conscious about it...it is what it is...or isn't. However, scientific studies have confirmed that a large percentage of body heat - the greatest percentage, in fact - escapes through the top of one's head. To sub-normal temperatures, add three fans on high, creating swirling winds...it was damned cold in Julie Newell's bedroom! So...I typically wore a hat in the house, and, yes, I kept it on when I went to bed. (Hey, that's as kinky as it gets!) Julie was NOT amused, even though I kept reminding her of the scientific studies. Finally, Julie won out...I simply learned to sleep with the covers over my head, with one little opening for fresh air...kinda like "the sleeping nun".
Power failures...most folks panic in the winter if the electricity fails. Actually, we (or at least I) would also...thoughts of frozen pipes bursting dancing in my head. However, for us, the summer was worse...NO AC! Yes, we had the little battery-powered portable fans, but...not much comfort when you're used to, dependent upon, AC and three BIG fans.
In fact, that's how I knew we had a crisis situation back in August...the beginning of the end. We came home from a doctor's appointment to find that the AC was down. I panicked...started fussing and cussing. Julie didn't seem concerned..."I'll be all right...it doesn't feel bad in here." I just figured she was "being nice"...trying to calm me down. I checked the circuit breaker box, hoping...to no avail. Put in a call to a repair man...and paced...and paced. Julie kept saying that she was "comfortable"...I kept saying that we will go to a hotel for the night if the repair man doesn't come...or finds that he can't fix it. Well, the repair man came a couple of hours later...and fixed the air conditioner. Hallelujah! When I went in the house to tell Julie the good news, she was UNDER THE COVERS...sound asleep! I paced from then until October 19th...
Damn...didn't mean to go there.
Let's end this on a happy note...
Back to the picture...and Julie's portable fan. Julie's portable fans always attracted attention wherever she went. Casual acquaintances, a harried airline stewardess, a bustling waiter or waitress...everyone noticed Julie's fan...and wished they had one. You know Julie...she gave many of her fans away, even if she did without.
Even a (former) Attorney General of the United States noticed Julie's fan.
Julie was a member of the U.S. Department of Justice's Coordinating Council on Juvenile Justice and Delinquency Prevention, and, as such, went to quarterly meetings in Washington, DC. During one such meeting, then Attorney General John Ashcroft was the featured speaker. As he "made his entrance" into the room, he made an abrupt detour...and headed straight for Julie Newell. Yep, the honorable John Ashcroft had noticed Julie's fan and wanted to examine it...to talk about it. Everyone else waited...and were probably wondering "Who is that woman?"
Why, THAT was Julie Newell!