Gene McVay is in the business of staying cool. And when 80-degree weather approaches in Spokane, he sells cool for a living.
Monday was his busiest day all year as forecasts for great weather throughout the week continued.
People pulled on shorts, made fruit salads and splashed water on sunburned lawns.
They realized summer was coming. They remembered they don’t have air conditioners. They called McVay.
In less than two hours Monday morning, more than 15 people requested estimates for a system from Banner Furnace and Fuel, where McVay is an office manager.
“They’re more desperate if they already have (an air conditioner) and realize now that it’s broken,” McVay said. “Once you have it, you just can’t lose it. People sort of panic about that.”
Many first-time buyers get the $2,000 estimate for an air conditioner in their home and decide it’s not so hot after all, he said.
“Usually we see them eventually, though,” he said. “When it gets just a little bit hotter.”
If the latest forecast holds up, that may be sooner than later this year.
The high on Wednesday is expected to reach 77, and the thermometer may touch the 80-degree mark by Thursday or Friday. Highs through the holiday weekend will be near 70, with overnight lows in the mid-40s.
No rain is in sight, except for a few scattered drizzles in the mountains.
The outlook was enough to make many people take action Monday. Remembering last summer’s scorching heat, they called for experts to save their lawns, repair screen windows and clean their pools.
Dennis Bartley called it “preparing to survive.” He spent the day watching three men install a sprinkler system in his West Central yard, something he said he’d planned to do sooner.
“You have to get ready for the heat, because once it gets here, I mean really gets here, you’ll be too hot to do anything,” the retired engineer said.
Other residents prepared to enjoy the sunshine. They scheduled tee times, planted flowers, priced boats and got bicycles tuned up. Some signed up for swimming lessons.
Jamie McCurdy, 23, sunbathed under hot lights in a steamy booth at Sta-Fit.
“I just want some color before I have to put this on,” she said, holding up a yellow and white bikini. Still sweaty from the tanning bed, McCurdy waited a few minutes before going outside to her car, which doesn’t have air conditioning.
“I don’t mind,” she said, blowing a strand of hair from her forehead. “I love the heat.”
The following fields overflowed: CREDIT = Bonnie Harris Staff writer Staff writer Mike Prager contributed to this report.