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?
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.
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.
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
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
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.