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Friday, September 20, 2013

The Green Machine & The Leaking Air Conditioner

Last Saturday, Chris came by to sit with Bob so I could do my usual running around, which means running to pharmacies to track down Bob's pain patches, and then to the bank, gas station, grocery store and I also wanted to stop by another store to look for some clothes as I'm supposed to dress "business casual" for this deposition and for the last three years I've been living "casual casual" and when I went to my closet to see what I had for "business casual" nothing fit because GA! I've gained weight. And how the hell did that happen?

So I get to the pharmacy and when I come out, The Green Machine starts giving me trouble. She just won't start. Now, she has given me this trouble before, but usually it's just a fluke and then she magically cures herself and off we go. But here I am in the parking lot of the pharmacy with ten thousand things to do and I'm trying to start her and all she does is roo roo roo, then clunk. Finally, I get her going, and head to the next place, which is a Walmart, and I try on some clothes, but everything looks terrible and good grief, when did I get so fat? and old? and why do they have such bright darn lights in these fitting rooms that make everyone look older and fatter and I leave and again The Green Machine goes roo rooo roooo, clunk. But she starts on the second try.

So I go to another store and spend a half hour trying on some clothes, which all look horrible, and by  now I'm freaking out because I'm not going to have a thing to wear for the deposition and will probably have to go there buck naked and I leave that store empty handed, get in The Green Machine who goes rooo rooo roooooo, roooooooo, clunk. After trying her the fourth time, and she still won't start, I break down in the car and just cry, because how the hell am I going to get home? Not to mention get back to the pharmacy to pick up Bob's patches and what about the grocery store and bank and the gas station? And I just cry my eyes out because right then and there I hate my life, I hate myself and I especially hate this darn car!

On the sixth or seventh try -- I lost count, finally The Green Machines goes vrooom! and she starts and I tell you there is not a better sound in the world than a car starting after she won't start six or seven times. And I figure I better head home before I get stranded somewhere, but first I go the pharmacy and thank god for drive-up windows and pick up Bob's pain patches. And I make it home. But I am shook up and frazzled.

So I call Bubba, our mechanic, and leave message on his answering machine. And that's when I notice that the window air conditioner is leaking water inside the house.

So I call a handyman guy I used before who had told me that he once worked for an A/C service and knows how to fix air conditioners, and I get his message machine and I leave a message. Then I call the lawn guy because our grass needs to be cut. And all of this was on Saturday.

On Sunday morning, the only one who had got back to me was the lawn guy. On Sunday night, Bubba calls and says he can take The Green Machine in on Wednesday but it sounds like an electrical problem and it might take a few days to figure it out. But if I can get it to him on Wednesday morning, he can drive me back home. But I still haven't heard from the handyman. So I call him back and leave another message.

Meanwhile, the air conditioner is really leaking and paint is bubbling up on the plaster wall. I've got towels shoved under it and a bucket to catch the water under that. I figure something has to be clogged and the water that usually drains outside the house is coming inside. So I go outside and check the drain hole but it seems clear and then I go back inside the house and take the cover of the unit off and I can see the water standing in the drain pan. So I get out one of Bob's feeding tube syringes and with that I syringe out almost 10 ounces of water. Then I spray some of the foam air conditioner cleaner all over the thing and go outside and spray foam up the drain hole and hope this will help. Then I empty the bucket and replace it and put down fresh towels.

By Monday, the handyman has still not called me back. And I'm getting really worried about the plaster wall and things like mold and not to mention the electric outlet on that baseboard. But it's 90 some degrees out and I can't turn the darn thing off because Bob would be just too uncomfortable and it's the only air conditioner we have. And Bob is already miserable complaining about his foot and now he's begging me to "chop it off". Jeepers, he's driving me a up a tree.

So I get out the phone book and call a few places that repair air conditioners, only to find that they won't even touch a window unit. I finally find one place that will come out but they tell me it will cost $79 just to diagnose the problem and they are backed-up on "emergencies" and can't get out to the house for two weeks. And I'm thinking, it's probably just a problem with the drain pan because the unit is cooling and what I really need is a cheaper person to take a look at it, like a handyman, so I call the handyman guy and leave another, more frantic, message. Then I find a handyman listed on craigslist and I call him too and leave a message.

By Tuesday, neither handyman has called me back and that's when I happen to notice the two handymen who were working next door renovating that building. I hadn't seen them in awhile since they finished the project. But there they were. So I went over and asked them if they could help me out and told them I'd be happy to pay them something for their time. And they came over and started taking the air conditioner apart and just got it opened up when their cell phone rang and it was their boss needing them right away, so they put the air conditioner back together and told me they would be over again after 4:00 p.m. At 4:00 p.m., one of the guys shows up and tells me that he doesn't think they can do it, but they have a friend who knows air conditioners and he will be over in the morning between 9:30 and 10:00 a.m. to take a look at it. Which is great, except I'm suppose to take The Green Machine to Bubba on Wednesday morning. So I call Bubba to see if I can come earlier, that is, provided I can get the car started! And he says yes, so I call Chris to see if she can come earlier to sit with Bob and she says yes.

Meanwhile, the a/c unit is getting worse and worse, in fact, it sounds like rain in the house. I keep syringing out water with the feeding tube syringe but it seems the water supply is endless. So I get out one of Bob's intermittent catheterization kits and I'm thinking if I can run the catheter up the drain hole outside and attach a feeding tube syringe to the other end, maybe, just maybe, I can pull some more water out of the back of the unit. I tell you, I can get very creative with our medical supplies. But alas, it did not work.

Wednesday morning rolls around and Chris arrives at 8:15 and I tell her that Bob's home draw tech is due at 9:00 and to let him in, he knows what to do. And I tell her that a guy should show up between 9:30 and 10:00 to look at the air conditioner, but hopefully I'll be back by then. So I go out to The Green Machine and say prayer before starting her and she goes roooo rooooooo roooooo roooooo then vroooom! And thank god, she starts. I check the gas gauge because I never did get to the gas station and it says I have half a tank, but when I'm half-way to Bubba's, I look down and gas gauge reads 1/4 tank, and I'm thinking what? because how on earth could I be using so much gas? And I glance down again and now the gauge reads 1/8 tank and I see it slowly sinking all the way down to empty...

But I make it to Bubba's and park the car in his drive and shut off the engine. Bubba comes out and tells me to show him what it's doing. So I start the car back up, and it goes roooo, rooooo, and Bubba shouts TURN IT OFF! Then he tells me to never, never push it to start because that could start an electrical fire under the hood and that could blow your engine up!! Jeepers. And here I've been doing that all this time. So he has me do it again, but not to push it, and of course The Green Machine just goes roo, and he has me shut it off. And a few more tries at this, but The Green Machine just won't start and the problem is that my car is blocking Bubba's car in the driveway, so he tells me to go ahead and push it so we can move it out of the way, so I do, as Bubba watches with a rather horrified look on his face, and The Green Machine goes rooooo rooooo roooooooooooooOOOOO and then VROOOOM!  So I manage to get the car parked on the other side of his house.

Then Bubba drove me home, and I know this post is getting long! so no time to mention that Bubba drives like a bat outta hell and he took the Interstate and I was pretty much scared shitless the whole way. But he does have a pretty cool new Dodge Challenger, which he assures me is "certified safe at 150 mph".

All righty. I made it home, in one piece. The home draw technician arrived, but the air conditioner guy was a total no show. By the afternoon, I go on the internet and google "window a/c repair" and find a local website that actually advertises that they service window units. So I call them up and am transferred to a gal who tells me that they just decided to not service window units this very week, because usually the units are so old, it's cheaper to replace them. I tell her that my unit is only five years old and it's cooling perfectly but it's leaking water in the house. She says she'll have to ask the boss if he wants to do it and call me back. She calls back an hour later and tells me they will send someone out to look at it that afternoon and the service charge is $89.00 but that includes the first hour of labor. So I figured I'd better bite the bullet and pray it won't take more than an hour to fix.

So finally the a/c guy shows up and he takes a look at the unit and tells me first, that it would be cheaper to just buy a new a/c unit and you get a good little 500 BTU for around $200, but I tell him that this one is 12,000 BTU and we need that much to cool this whole house. And he tells me the problem is that it needs a good cleaning, with all the humidity this jelly-like junk forms and clogs up the drain pan and a good cleaning will cost $200 and he will have to remove the unit and take it with him. And I'm like, shit. Because Bob will be uncomfortable in this heat, and I tell him that in so many words. Then he asks if I have some bleach? And something like a turkey baster. I do and I bring him bleach and the feeding tube syringe and he syringes bleach into the drain pan and says that should break up the jelly-like junk and then he says I should spray some coil cleaner on the coils and I say I have coil cleaning spray and I bring him the bottle and he sprays coil cleaner on the coils. And I watch him, thinking this is going to cost $89 and I could've done this myself, if I had known about the bleach thing. He finishes spraying the coils and asks me how much I was told the service charge would be? And I tell him $89. And he tells me, just make it $40. And he tells me that if this doesn't work, to call the shop tomorrow and he'll come out with another guy and they can take the unit out of the window and clean it here on the grass. So I ask him his name and he tells me that he is the owner of the company. Which is why he could give me a discount. And he tells me, "looks like you have your hands full here" meaning Bob. And I tell him about Bob's stroke and turns out his wife had a stroke last year. We talk for awhile, and he leaves and of course the a/c unit starts leaking again. But I take off the cover and syringe out more water and syringe in some more bleach and spray the coils again and it stops leaking.

Then Bubba calls with the good news that it's just the starter and he has replaced that and will bring The Green Machine home. Then he tells me that the u-joint is "going" and the brake pads have "dry rot" plus the gas gauge is no longer working. But I'll worry about that another day.

So the a/c is no longer leaking and The Green Machine is home and tomorrow is Saturday again and Chris will be here so I can finish doing my running.  I do hope things go better next week.


Anonymous said...

Whew!! You had me exhausted reading that. LOL You had quite the day, young lady! I sure hope things get better for you. I admire your fortitude. Love you, Aunt Rose

Rebecca Dutton said...

Instead of picturing how you will look at the deposition, picture a van with a wheelchair lift and being able to pay for skilled nursing care so you can worry less as you run errands. I know the deposition is one more source of stress right now but the ending will be awesome.

J.L. Murphey said...

Chinese fire drill anyone? BTW You can ask if your statements and depos be done at your house under the circumstances. They usually are accommodating. As far as how you look...wear whatever you got. Who are you out to impress the stenographer? The other lawyer? A skirt or pants and a clean shirt works. They should be thankful they are not in your shoes.

Have you been exempted from jury duty yet, if you haven't jump on that. All you need is a doctor's excuse about the hardship it would cause.

As for repairs on this house is concerned, I'm lucky. I have family in construction, plumbing, electrician, mechanics, and assorted other fields since I really can't do it myself. I just wished you did.