On the evening of Thursday, July 14, I remarked to Bill, "Did you turn off the upstairs A/C?"
"Did you know it's 88 degrees up there?" [That's 31 Celsius to my Canadian and British friends.]
Bill immediately called a repairman, but he couldn't come until Friday evening. I normally work upstairs, but I had to move downstairs when the inside temperature rose into the high 90s. (It was about 103 outside--39 Celcius.) I was frantically working on a project that was due that day, and I needed to record some audio. But Bill was working at the downstairs table, so I needed to isolate myself in the downstairs half bath, which is very echoey.
After a brainstorm--or an attack of insanity, in Bill's view--I dragged Allyson's tiny dome tent down the stairs and into the bathroom. It took up the entire floor and had to flex around the toilet, but I was determined to make it work. I zipped myself in with my laptop, headset, and a foam reflux wedge pillow (to muffle echoes) and recorded away.
About 30 minutes later, our coworker Craig arrived with an old window unit to use until his brother could fix our air conditioning. I offered to help Bill carry it up the stairs and install it in the window.
"No, I've got it," he assured me. I would have argued with him, but I was really behind on my project, so I zipped myself back into the tent.
About five minutes later, I heard an ominous sound just outside the bathroom door leading to the porch: Clunk-clunk...ka-BLAM!
"I just about killed the dog!" Bill hollered from upstairs.
By the time I unzipped the tent and flung open the door, Bill was standing on the porch with clenched fists, cussing like a sailor. "What did I do to deserve this?" he demanded.
Lola stood next to him, glancing nervously up at the open second-story window and then at the mangled hunk of metal and plastic on the slate tiles. Bill pointed out the two dents in our barbecue grill (explaining the clunk-clunk I'd heard); he surmised that Lola had probably been sleeping in her customary spot under its shade. "She was just looking up at me in the window, as if to say, 'Why are you trying to kill me? What did I do to you?'" he said.
|The A/C Landed Just In Front of the Grill, Which Lola Sleeps Under|
I supressed my laughter since Bill was all but stomping his feet he was so mad. "Well, I guess that's beyond repair," I sighed. I wanted to commiserate with him, but I had more audio to record, so I climbed back into the tent.
About 20 minutes later, I heard Bill rustling around upstairs again. Surely he couldn't have... no, no way. Must be doing something else, I thought. But then I heard a click and a low humming noise overhead. I unzipped the tent and thundered up the stairs.
There was Bill, basking in front of the icy breeze of that window unit, which he'd pieced together with Duck tape.
"You're amazing!" I gushed. "You're just... amazing."
Bill laughed sheepishly. He explained how he'd taken the machine apart, pounded out the bent metal, and taped it back together.
|Can You See All the Tape?|
The plastic accordion pieces that fill in the window space were shattered, so he'd cut cardboard panels and taped them on either side of the unit, using blue painter's tape.
I planted a kiss on his sweaty mouth and went back down to my tent.
Some Good News At Last
When the repairman arrived, he quickly determined that our capacitor had blown up, and he was able to replace it for only $110. We had figured we'd have to replace the upstairs unit since this was the third breakdown, but he advised us to keep it as a new unit would be anywhere from $4000 and $6000!
"Man, we were lucky," I told Bill later that evening when I finally shut down the laptop for the night (without finishing the project, after all that sweating in the tent).
I ribbed him a bit more about having it in for the dog, and then I asked him exactly how it happened.
He explained that he'd initially gotten the unit into the window without a problem, but then he noticed that it was dripping on the carpet because Craig had hosed the coils down before he brought it over.
"I lifted up the window just a smidge to slide a towel under it," he said, "and it was so back heavy that it started to go. In that instant, I thought, 'This A/C is going out the window... I've got to catch it.' But immediately I had another thought: 'If I try to grab this, I'm going out the window with it.'" He lifted his hands out to his side, palms up. "So I watched it fall."
My entire body convulsed in a shudder as I pictured my husband's broken body next to the crumpled metal A/C. "I think God told you that," I said in a trembly voice. "It would have been instinct to grab it, and you didn't even have time to think."
I closed my eyes then and thanked God. Our dog was spared, we saved about $3900, and my husband was still with me. Not a bad day.
Oh, and one more thing. When Bill sent Craig a message breaking the news about destroying his window unit, he said, "Don't worry about it. I picked it up off my neighbor's curb!" Whew!
So what happened to that portable unit? It's still sitting in the window almost two weeks later. I think Bill's gotten attached to it; there's just something about standing in front of that frigid wind that you just don't get with central air.
|See the Yellow Towel That Caused the Debacle?|
"People like us are the reason the homeowners' associations forbid window units," I said. "It looks so tacky!" (Fortunately, we don't belong to an association.)
"I think we should get one in every room," Bill said. With this heat, maybe we will.