Wednesday, June 23, 2010

Dept.'s Inferno: How I Survived A Circle Of Hell, And There Weren't Even republicans There!

Disaster averted at the Dept. yesterday.

NEO--for those of you who don't remember, that's the ubercool way to refer to NorthEast Ohio--is having a HeatWave currently, and even though I don't mind temperatures in the upper registers, I loathe our tropical humidity. I have no idea why we get such drippy humidity here in this state, but we do. And it's like walking through a tub of baby's bathwater. Urgh.

So. Naturally, on Monday morning our central air decided to perform its Swan Song. I heard a horrid metallic screaming sound as I stood at the kitchen sink preparing to load my coffee cup. Horrified, I turned to Sam. "Do you hear that?" I said. "Please tell me that is not coming from the air conditioner." I opened the window closest to the unit, and it confirmed my worst fear. "Oh no! It Is!" I said in doomed tones to Sam, who sat placidly on the couch. Wild-eyed, I repeated myself to him in a panicked wail, adding, "Do you realize how HUMID it's going to be the next few days?"

Sam looked up from his Blackberry. "Yep. It's gonna be brutal," he said unhelpfully. "Wow."

I flung on some shoes (which did not match my outfit, sadly) and ran out to the AC unit. Helplessly, I stood by while it screamed. I started banging on it with my fist then stopped, horrified. What if it simply...QUIT?!

As I turned to go back into the house, the machine suddenly quieted. The fan still spinning, it seemed to be back to normal. I exhaled audibly and reported the good news to Sam, who was moved not at all. "I have to get ready to go to work," he said. "Good luck with all of that."

Good luck? What is that? By the time Rick got home from work, I noticed that the indoor thermometer had been climbing, but the AC had not stopped running. The temperature in the house was at 80 degrees. I put my hand in front of one of the registers and felt the air coming out: not very cool.

And then Rick tried to prepare me for the worst: "That AC is 20 years old, Nance. We had to jerry-rig it last year to keep it running, and it needs to be replaced. This may be it. We may have to shut it down." He went outside to look at the unit.

Sadly, those words were prophetic. When he came inside, he flipped the switch and then tried to break it to me gently. "Holy shit! You should have smelled that thing! The motor has burned up. It's fried! IT'S OVER! THIS IS IT! We have to open up and put on some fans and I'll see what I can do tomorrow."

--Readers, I was so brave. I really was. It is part of my New Philosophy, which is "Try to be brave and, failing that, swear less." Or something like that. It's very Zen.

Okay. Anyway, I spent an entire day of Beastly Humidity without air. The kittens were even lethargic. We stayed under the ceiling fans, drank lots of water, and read. (Well, I read; Piper and Marlowe napped, mostly.) Last night, Rick brought home a Temporary Fix--a replacement motor, and he tried to Lower My Expectation. "I have this motor they said might work. But it might not, because if the (insert name of techy AC part I forgot here) is fried, then forget it. But we can try it." He went outside with some tools and a shaky sense of optimism to see what he could do.

VICTORY! Temporary motor is in, working, and my house became cool again. It took quite some time, however; it was 84 degrees inside. As soon as the AC kicked on, Piper scampered to the register, felt the cool air, and capered around the dining room. The lower the temperature dropped, the more playful the kittens became.

Obviously, they have a Different Philosophy.


  1. Ugh, that's miserable. One of the nice things about where I live is that it never gets warm enough for us to need the air conditioning. I'm in New York for a couple of weeks staying with some friends who are too broke to turn on the AC, and it's just too much.

    That said, it's nice to be on vacation!

  2. I'm so afraid of my A/C stopping some day! I'm a new homeowner and I honestly don't know anything about owning a home. My plan would be to call my handyman (he's cheap and GOOD at fixing everything) and then go to the library until he makes it all better. It's good to have a contigency plan, right?

    I'm glad there was a happy ending to your story!

    Super cute kitties!!!!

  3. No AC.

    I live in SEO.

    It's hot here.

    As you can imagine, I've spent the entire summer in a state of disgusting.

  4. Looks as though the two new Dept. "staff" pretty much slept on the job and were no help!

    Did you say, "stop swearing so much," or "stop SWEATING so much"?

    I live in mortal fear of our compressor going out. Our AC is probably older than 20 and keeps being warm and ineffective, but all the AC guys who test it yearly say there's nothing wrong with it. Yeah, right, Buddy, YOU try sleeping through a flaming night and tell me there's nothing wrong.

    I like your new bovine bun-bun.

  5. sputnik--Lots of sleeping from the New Hires, and then lots of Cat Rasslin'. They were largely unimpressed by my initial panic as well.
    And hee hee--"SweaRing." I'm trying not to be so profane. It's a Personal Challenge. I would try not to sweaT so much but have limited control over that one.
    Glad you like the CowBunny. I do, too.

    Tiana--You poor thing. I remember those Non-airconditioned days with no fondness at all. Sam was born in 1988, and that summer was the drought/heat wave combo. We had NIGHTS of 98 degrees, and it was beyond miserable. That was the summer I vowed to start saving and scrimping for central air.

    Kaylen--Hi, and welcome to the Dept.! You are way ahead of me: I had NO CONTIGENCY PLAN, other than to panic and hope against hope. Not really a plan. Home ownership is a blessed curse. It's great having a home, but when something goes wrong (as it invariably does), YOU ARE ON DUTY! Sigh. Please come by often and chat.

    Mikey--Oh, the allure of temperate Cali. I hear it from J.@jj, too here at the Dept. But until you get back there, enjoy NYC! (Are you in the City?) If you are, grab a Magnolia cupcake for me! Yum! (Although...I hear there are Cupcake Wars there, and Magnolia isn't really the best anymore.)

  6. Halley11:43 PM


    I pray every night that my neighbors ac will finally go to ac heaven or pergatory or hell or where ever it is that old ac's go. It sounds like a jet engine outside my bedroom window. I have even contemplated having my 3 year old put rocks and sticks in their rotten..
    I am just jealous though because we don't have central air :(....
    I am glad to hear you are drinking all your wine and reading fab books in a great climate :)
    By the way, do you have any good recommendations for summer reading?

  7. Halley--Our ac isn't too terribly loud when it's not screaming, and I had Rick build an enclosure for it to help dampen the sound that it does make. We always try to be Good Neighbours. As far as book recommendations, I'm happy to make some, but remember that I don't really read contemporary fiction. I stick to nonfiction. Here is a list of a few titles that I really like, and if you'd like to chat about any of them or would like a more complete list, please check my sidebar for my email link, and we'll take it to that venue. I love talking books!

    The Story of Edgar Sawtelle--fiction
    Revolutionary Road--fiction
    The Lost City of Z--nonfiction
    Mary Todd Lincoln--by Jean Baker (nonfiction but reads very narratively)
    Crashing Through--by Robert Kurson nonfiction
    Manhunt--nonfiction (about the assassination of Pres. Lincoln and ensuing escape and search of JWBooth, very exciting)
    Girl with a Pearl Earring--fiction

    PS--as far as wine goes, had a lovely dry riesling last night. LOL.

  8. I'm in the city, but I'm not allowing myself any desserts. I need to lose a little weight to make trapeze easier ;-) When will you visit me in SF? And did you watch my movie yet?

  9. We moved into a new house many years ago and it was out first experience with A/C. There were nine houses on a cul-de-sac and of the nine,ours was the only A/C that worked.

    The builder found out about ours running properly because all the other owners were complaining and we weren't. He came to our door and asked if his A/C Serviceman could look at our condenser. I told him that he could look at it but he could not TOUCH it. So he took the back off of it and drew a sketch of the placement of the wires. Then,taking his sketch around to the other eight houses and placing the wires where he saw them on our condenser, he was able to have them all running that same day.Good thing,too, because this was in Southern Virginia and the temperature was about 95 with 90% humidity.

    From that I learned a valuable lesson. Take nothing apart until you know where everything goes.
    I had to send my HP computer away for service recently and before I disconnected anything from the back I took a digital picture of it,then printed the picture showing where all the wires and plugs went back.

    When the computer was returned to me I only had to follow the picture and the wires and plugs were back where they belonged in no time.

  10. That's pretty much what happened to us a week ago. Just change the address and indoor temp to 103.

    Cute kitties. On such pristine carpet. You must vacuum every ten minutes.

    [Don't even ask where I've been. Fighting a lot of life's exclamation points.]

  11. ORTIZZLE!? holy crap! how awesome to see you here! I am so emailing you today or tomorrow and hope you will do the same soon. I've missed you terribly. Thanks for noticing the carpet. Now that I'm on Summer Vacation, I can vacuum every day, so I do. And with Marlowe's long, luxurious hair, I have to. Stay cool!

    Nancy--Oh, I am a BIG fan of the diagram and now, with the advent of the Digital Camera, the instant picture. I know better than to rely on my hideous memory (except for things like colors and food/flavours), so I try to take advantage of visuals whenever possible. Good call!

    Mikey--"Who knows?" to the SF visit and "No, not yet because I haven't been in the mood" to the movie. Also. I am calling you tomorrow. Got your wonderful (as usual!) phone call/msg. in the middle of An Outdoor Family Thing on Saturday. Am recovering today. LOL. Promise to call. PROMISE I WILL.

  12. It was so stupidly hot here the other day...105. Ouch. BUT, I will concede, it was not humid. I'll take dry over humid any day of the week and twice on Sunday. Our a/c stopped very briefly, like when the power seems like it wants to go out but then changes its mind. Then kept going. All was well until we realized it was no longer putting out cold air. Just the fan. We went out and looked at it, but couldn't figure out anything, and it was TOO HOT to stand there over the damn thing (I have not forsworn swearing, damn it), so we came inside and turned it off. Tried again in a couple of hours, and thus far it's OK. We called someone for an a/c checkup, but they can't come until the 10th. So I'm hoping it doesn't get ungodly hot between now and then.

    It's not so bad downstairs with the fan on, I mean, it's bearable. But our bedroom faces due west, and we have zero shade, so for the last few hours of the day, our bedroom SOAKS UP HEAT. Horrid.

    Word verification: peace. I hope that means peace and love to our a/cs!

  13. j@jj--Oh, good luck! And may The Force be with you! (105 is plenty hot without a/c or shade, no matter what!)


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